KERALA

`Educational reforms detrimental to Government colleges'

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, FEB. 26. The Association of Kerala Government College Teachers (AKGCT) has expressed concern over the moves of the Government to withdraw from the service sectors, especially the educational sector.

Since self-sufficiency should be the goal in the area of science and technology, it would be disastrous if the Government withdrew from the higher education sector, according to the office-bearers of the AKGCT.

K.K. Visvanathan and J. Prasad, State president and general secretary, respectively, of the AKGCT, pointed out that the increased subsidies provided to the higher education sector had contributed a great deal towards the overall development of the advanced nations.

The imperialist forces that dictated terms to the developing nations and demanded that the public sector withdraw completely from the educational sector by the year 2005, continued to heavily subsidise education in their own countries. For the market forces, even a university degree was a commodity, the cost of which was to be recovered from the person who earned it. There was reason to believe that the Union Government was also following in the footsteps of international financing institutions such as the IMF, World Bank and the WTO and that could be the reason for the drastic cut in the Union Budget in its allocation for the educational sector, the leaders maintained.

The decision of the UGC that colleges that failed to get accreditation of the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC), would not receive any assistance from it would be detrimental to the interests of Government colleges. Taking into account the fact that the Government was no more investing in infrastructure development in Government colleges, the NAAC had to be more lenient in this regard, the association demanded.

The State Government too was toeing the line of the Centre as it was contemplating withdrawal from the field of higher education, they alleged. The AKGCT demanded that a comprehensive inquiry be conducted into the sanctioning of self- financing colleges in Kerala. The association also alleged that there was gross corruption as well as favouritism in the matter of issuing NOCs to private managements.

Setting up of new Government colleges and sanctioning of new departments in the existing ones were the other major demands raised by the AKGCT. More than 500 posts of teachers were lying vacant in Government colleges in the State. There was an urgent need to fill them up in the greater interests of the academic front.

The Unified University Act has been aimed at further commercialising the education sector. The Model Act of the Centre would also prove to be detrimental to the interests of higher education, the AKGCT said.

The 46th State conference of the AKGCT would be held here from February 27 to 29, the office-bearers said. The issues in the higher education sector would be deliberated upon at the conference, they added.