Wednesday, Aug 06, 2003
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By Our Special Correspondent
Participating in the resumed debate on the Kerala Universities Bill in the Assembly today, Mr. Balakrishnan read politics into the UDF Government's decision to introduce the Bill. He said the decision should be viewed in the context of the Indian Union Muslim League's strong reaction to the Chief Minister, A.K. Antony's statement regarding minority communities. He alleged that the introduction of the Bill was the outcome of a secret deal between the Chief Minister and IUML leaders.
The motivation, according to Mr. Balakrishnan, was the enormous opportunities to commercialise education. The Bill should be viewed in the context of the moves to set up self-financing institutions, affiliated colleges, etc. The CPI(M) leader said his party was totally opposed to commercialisation of education. He feared that the varsities would become branch offices of the Government.
Mr. Balakrishnan said the CPI(M) was also opposed to the provisions that undermined the democratic nature and autonomy of the universities. Each one of them had been set up with a specific purpose and a combined law could not address the problems they faced. In addition to self-financing, aided and unaided institutions, the Government had introduced a new variety -- community colleges.
He said there were lot of changes in the current Bill compared to the aborted one introduced by the UDF Government in 1993. The CPI(M) was opposed to the nomination system envisaged in the Bill. All education panels which examined the functioning of the varsities in the State had insisted on retaining elected Syndicates and senate, besides their autonomy. Listing out the plethora of committees and commissions which had studied the issue, he lamented that the universities would not have representation for MLAs, student organisations, etc.
He said the provisions regarding the powers of the Education Minister, who was the Pro Chancellor of the universities, were arbitrary and unacceptable because it was open to politics, as the Minister was always a politician. The presence of the Higher Education Secretary as one of the nominees in the Higher Education Council would also result in tighter Government control in the functioning of the varsities, he added.
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