Staff Reporter

India should withdraw from General Agreement on Trade in Services

TIRUCHI: Seeking implementation of common school system as in Brazil, China and several developed nations, hundreds of activists belonging to Tamil Nadu Alliance For Right to Education and Equity (TAFRE) took out a rally on Tuesday, prior to their State conference here.

They wanted a revamp of curriculum to suit the socio-cultural conditions of the country, and demanded implementation of the recommendation for common school system made in 1969 by the Kothari Commission. They wanted the governments not to see children's right to education in isolation and ensure free education for all children of school-going age by undertaking land reforms and providing poor parents access to livelihood in order to abolish inequity and social discrimination.

According to P. Krishnamoorthy, Central Committee Member of TAFRE, the Centre should desist from diverting funds meant for education for other purposes. It should not only allot 10 percent of Gross Domestic Product for education, but also ensure that the funds are strictly utilised for the purpose they were meant. And India should withdraw from General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) to safeguard higher education system.

The Centre must unfailingly get the Model Right to Education Bill recommended by the Central Advisory Board on Education (CABE) passed in Parliament. State Governments, on whom the Centre had put the onus of educational expenditure citing fund constraints, must pressurise the union government to have the Bill passed at the earliest, he said.

Inaugurating the conference, the organiser of National Alliance for Right to Education and Equity (NAFRE) Karan Thyagi said the situation of political powers taking advantage of economic and social conditions and using education to serve their narrow ends must not be allowed to continue in a democracy.

At present only 15 percent of the country's population had access to quality education and the rest were deceived into a kind of education that was not enough to make them think independently. This provides opportunities for the political powers to play with sentiments and the communal forces to subjugate common people.

National meet

The NAFRE will hold its national conference at Ahmedabad from March 12 to 14 to discuss several issues, including right to education and livelihood, Mr. Thyagi said.

The State Convenor, T.R. Parvatha Varthini; the State Secretary of Tamil Nadu Primary Teachers' Federation, Parvatharajan; State Vice-President of Tamil Nadu Progressive Writers' Association, Nandalala; the Chairman of Political Affairs Committee of Dalit Panthers of India, K. Arachelvan; District Unit Secretary of Communist Party of India, Selvaraj, and G. Selva of Students' Federation of India, also spoke.