On 14th November, Students’ Union and Teachers’ Association from all central Universities in Delhi marched from Barakhamba Road to Jantar Mantar, and stood in solidarity with students from Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) to protest against the New Education Policy (NEP).
14th November observed a central march at Jantar Mantar against the NEP. Student Political groups from Delhi like All India Students’ Association (AISA), CYSS, Krantikari Yuva Sangathan (KYS), National Students’ Union of India (NSUI), Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union (JNUSU), and Students’ Federation of India (SFI) came together to protest against the NEP, and the fee hike in JNU. The protest was led by Federation of Central University Teachers Associations (FEDCUTA) which incorporates the Delhi University Teachers’ Association (DUTA), Jawaharlal Nehru University Teachers’ Association (JNUTA) and Jamia Millia Islamia’s Teacher Association (JMITA )under it. Students showed up at the protest in large numbers with banners, masks to combat the Delhi pollution, and immense grit and determination.
NEP has paved way for Privatisation of education. It has also resulted in the constant fee hikes observed by the Universities. Under NEP, a new mechanism of Higher Education Funding Authority (HEFA) will be established to not give grants but to lend loans. DUTA also fought for permanent absorption of the Ad-hocs to have stability in colleges.
Damini Kain, Presidential Candidate from AISA, said “Public Education is a fundamental right for all. But what the new education policy is doing is, its just making education exclusive. It is deliberately excluding people that come from marginalised communities, lower caste backgrounds and other minorities. NEP is breaking the core fabric of education. It will change the entire dynamic of lending and granting into loans. And the burden of repayment of those loans will lie on the common student.”
The March witnessed many keynote speakers to apprise the students about the consequences of this policy.
Doraisamy Raja, General Secretary, Communist party of India appreciated the students and teachers of JNU to protest against the tremendous hike. He shed light on the importance of education and the threat to its integrity. He also criticised the one language ideology of the current Government.
The common demand that each JNU student and teacher had was to meet with their Vice chancellor and roll back of the fee hike. More than 40% of the students studying at JNU are below poverty line and cannot afford the new fee structure.
Aishe Ghosh, President, JNUSU, said, “All these charges that weren’t existing before like utility charges of electricity, water, food, WIFI will be paid by students even after giving a hostel fees. We’ve come here with a motive to spread this protest to every college and university ad education is for all. All we would like is for our Vice Chancellor to have a discussion with us rather than appearing on Republic TV.”
After all speaker sessions, the March began, led by Federation of Central University Teachers Associations (FEDCUTA), followed by various student organisations. The Teacher-Student-Karamchari unity was an important focus of theMarch.
Slogans like “NEP down down”, “Privatisation se azadi”, “Modi govt Haye-Haye” were chanted. Posters with “Godi Media” talking about the fake media portrayal of press were also displayed, and the banners of Teacher associations of various colleges were also seen.
Among all of these issues, the students from School of Open Learning also came to bring to light the struggles they had face being trapped in the sudden imposition of Choice Based Credit System.
A SOL student, who wished to remain anonymous, told DU Beat, “We’re fighting against the autonomy of education, yet, correspondence where most of the students from lower background study is often ignored. We have exams in December, yet we haven’t been given any books or material. And the material given is so substandard it cannot be used. And the worse, even DUTA has completely ignored us.”
Feature Image Credit : Noihrit Gogoi for DU beat