Staff Reporter

CHENNAI: The need for free and equal education, especially at the primary level, was the theme of the seminar held on the second day of the All-India Student Federation (AISF) conference here on Thursday.

V. Vasanthi Devi, former chairperson of the Tamil Nadu State Commission for Women, deplored the fact that government education in the country was meant only for the poorest and that only six per cent of children entered institutions of higher education.

Ram Krishna Panda, president of the AISF, later said the chief demand of the Federation was increased governmental spending on education. "Right now, too few people are benefiting from the boom in information technology. At least six per cent of the Gross Domestic Product should be allotted for education with highest priority for elementary education,'' he said.

Representatives from other States, including Kerala and Rajasthan, said High Court judgments that banned student politics were being contested by the AISF in the Supreme Court. The student movement contributes significantly towards keeping the mafia and communalising influences out of educational institutions.

The speakers included Arjun Dev, former professor at the NCERT and S. Sathik, former Vice-Chancellor, University of Madras.