ACTA demands that reservation be extended to all funded educational institutions

Aided College Teachers Association (ACTA) has urged the Union government to increase the budgetary allocation for higher education to at least six per cent of the GDP, and help socially and economically the disadvantaged sections of students get better access to higher education.

Taking stock of the prevailing scenario at an academic conference on ‘Crises in higher education: An Indian perspective,’ here on Saturday, the ACTA demanded a meaningful Parliamentary review of the functioning of the University Grants Commission, the All India Council of Technical Education, and other nodal agencies.

In a resolution adopted at the end of the conference, the association urged the teaching and student community to be wary of the attempts of successive governments at the Centre to “mislead the people” by projecting privatisation as the only way of growth thus distancing higher education from the under-privileged section.

Teachers and students should fight these anti-people policies.

The association took a serious view of “the appalling levels of inequity in higher education, growing elitism and exclusion, neglect of existing state-funded educational institutions, unchecked evils of capitation fees, growing commercialisation, and predatory return of laissez-faire policy in higher education.”

It demanded that reservation be extended to all funded educational institutions and implemented effectively.

The curriculum should be revamped by shifting the focus from skill acquisition to knowledge acquisition by restoring the importance of basic pure sciences, social sciences, and research in universities and colleges, another resolution said.

The association thanked Chief Minister Jayalalithaa and the Minister for Higher Education for their timely intervention in the affairs of Annamalai University.

It urged the government to fill up all vacancies in universities and grant approval to fill all vacant posts of teaching and non-teaching categories in aided colleges.

The moratorium on aided courses and additional aided sections in aided colleges should be lifted.

It also called for a policy of granting financial support to meet the salary of the teaching and non-teaching staff of university constituent colleges.

Learning basic computer skills in Tamil and scientific Tamil terminology should be made part of the academic curriculum at all levels of education in Tamil Nadu, it said. Earlier, T.P.Poonachi, Minister for Khadi and Village Industries, inaugurated the conference. Vice Chancellors K.Meena (Bharathidasan University) and James Pichai (Bharathiar University), Venkatesh B.Athreya, economist, A.Raja, president, and S.Somasundaram, general secretary, ACTA, spoke.