By Sushant Mishra and Jonathan Daniel Luther
DUB recently interviewed the Delhi State Secretary of AI DSO (All India Democratic Students Organization) which is the student front of the Socialist Unity Centre of India (SUCI); the SUCI is a revolutionary leftist political formation that demands a secular, scientific and democratic educational system. The students from DSO follow in the footsteps of Shibdas Ghosh the founder of SUCI.
AI DSO staged a dharna in front of the VCâ€™s office on Feb 1st â€™08. The dharna was staged in order to express their dissatisfaction towards the current state of the educational system prevalent today. On the occasion of â€˜All India Studentâ€™s Demand Dayâ€™ the DSO highlight certain changes they would like to incorporate in educational policies, such as the kind of approach required towards sex education and various literacy campaigns. One of the primary issues is to eradicate the pecuniary focus of education today.
In this capacity DSO aims at forcing policies to withdraw fee hikes at all levels of education, and remove education from under the umbrella of GATS, thus effectively combating the privatization of education. As per WTO, certain sectors which come under the purview of GATS, such as health and education become an open arena for MNCâ€™s to function with a profit making motive. According to the DSO, the government in a very subtle manner is introducing GATS in the education sector. This will inhibit the masses from receiving education because the welfare aspect will be replaced by profit maximization.
Another major concern is the degenerative morals of the youth that has â€œcontributed towards cultural degradationâ€?. In respect to this the DSO has opposed the introduction of sex education in schools. However, they are not against sex education â€˜per seâ€™, but rather against the current curriculum of Sex Ed. handbooks. which are, according to them â€œpornographicâ€?, and only contribute to â€œperversionsâ€? amongst the youth. As an alternative they suggest that it is the responsibility of the parents to impart sexual know-how.
Continuing with the theme of â€˜cultural degradationâ€™ they also would like to impose a blanket ban on all literature, media avenues that express vulgarity, obscenity and violence. The governmentâ€™s censorship does not meet up to their standards. As a commemorative achievement the AI DSO has succeeded in preventing the introduction of sex education in Mumbai and various other southern states. Although they would like to establish a broader platform that will consider a revised manual for sex education that can be implemented in school curriculums.
The President of AI DSO, Mr. Bhaskar, elaborated on the charade that the Government of India has setup in the guise of the Sarva Shiksha Abhyan (SSA), which perpetuates the gap between the rich and the poor. Thus, the SSA according to the DSO doesnâ€™t equip a child to compete with their public and private school contemporaries. The DSO president said that the SSA programme fails to emphasise the importance of arithmetic and linguistic skills and in doing so it leaves them unemployable.
In the context of DU, their immediate concerns are to increase the number of U Specials, construction of more hostels especially for girls, removal of fee hikes and opposition to GATS. They also oppose the Lyngdoh Committee reforms that have been put into practice by DU. The Lyngdoh Committee recommended certain reforms and changes to the way elections take place in DU. Overall they aspire to make Education a Fundamental Right and will submit a memorandum to this effect to The Prime Minister of India.