SFI questions need for such universities

Frame regulations first, give permission to establish universities later: this is the demand various stakeholders are making to the State government, with the decks being cleared for 13 private universities by the State Legislative Assembly on Thursday.

The Bills passed in the Assembly to set up private universities include: Manipal University Bill, 2012; Arka University Bill, 2012; Sharana Basava University, Bill, 2012; Adichunchanagiri University Bill, 2012; Dayanand Sagar University Bill, 2012; Vellore Technical University Bill, 2012; M S Ramaiah University Bill, 2012; Devaraj Urs University Bill, 2012, Roy Technical University, Bill, 2012; PES University Bill, 2012; Spiritual University Bill, 2012; Reva University Bill, 2012 and KLE Technological University Bill, 2012.

Academic M.S. Thimmappa questioned how the universities were being allowed to be set up without any criteria.

“Where are the regulations on setting up the universities? The regulations should be framed first. A committee should be formed to check if the proposed universities meet the criteria. Only then should they be allowed to be set up,” he said.

Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad south India organising secretary Ravi Kumar questioned the need for private universities when government universities were yet to be strengthened. “If they are offering courses different from what are being offered in general universities, it is fine. Also, why are all of them being established in Bangalore? And what is their reservation policy for SC, ST and economically backward students?” he asked.

Complaining that there was no open debate before the decision was made, Mr. Kumar said, “We condemn the way they were passed. It almost looks like they have bowed to a lobby.”

Appeal to students

Meanwhile, the Students Federation of India (SFI) has called upon the student community to rise against the State government’s decision to establish 13 new private universities.

Addressing a seminar organised by the SFI here on Friday, all India president of the organisation V. Sivadasan brought to the fore issues plaguing public education in India. He said that there was a decrease in allocation of funds to government-run educational institutions. “But about Rs. 75,000 crore was spent on a single event like Commonwealth Games,” he pointed out.

Speaking out against the increasing privatisation of education, Mr. Sivadasan said, “The only motive of private universities is making money.” He emphasised the need for a new education policy, saying that mere change in leadership does not solve the matter.

Ananth Naik, State president of SFI, said most educational institutions lacked basic necessities like drinking water, proper desks, and adequate books in library. He said that the privatisation of educational institutions would not benefit the poor.

“Azim Premji University promised to keep the fees on par with public universities, but an MBA today costs over Rs. 12 lakh,” he said. He criticised the government for approving of the 13 private universities, saying that the country needed a more strengthened public education system.