Staff Correspondent

The student organisation has called for a nation-wide strike on December 14

MYSORE: The All India Democratic Students' Organisation (AIDSO) has called for a nation-wide strike on December 14 in protest against bringing education under the purview of General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS). It is also demanding that the Union Government come out of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

District unit president of AIDSO Ravi and vice-president Seema told presspersons here on Monday that students would boycott classes on Thursday and take out a procession from K.R. Circle to the Deputy

Commissioner's office. They would submit a memorandum urging the Union Government to dump the GATS agreement, they added.

Education was a system to impart knowledge and human experiences from one generation to another, they said. They sought to know whether the problems of Indian education system could be solved by inviting foreign investment. It was startling that only 11 per cent of those in the age group of 17he o to 23 in the country were enrolling for higher education. Unprecedented fee hike, poverty and rapidly increasing socio-economic insecurity were forcing many a youth to seek jobs to earn a livelihood, they said. To face this challenge and ensure quality of education, adequate funds were needed. But the Government was cutting down expenditure on education, they alleged.

Tradable commodity

Making education a tradable commodity and inviting foreign investment would be a heavy blow to the development of basic sciences and teaching of humanities subjects. Education would be patterned according to market needs and the casualty would be the pursuit of true knowledge. Also, teaching and non-teaching staff would be under the hire and fire policy of foreign and private education providers. This would lead to crass commercialisation of education. In view of this, it was inevitable for the student community to urge the Government to come out of WTO, they added.