Another blow by MHRD to Higher Education in India

The MHRD has selected Jio Institute of Reliance Foundation over many other prestigious Institutions that had applied for a rank in the Institutes of Eminence list. Jio Institute only exists as a proposal while other institutes have spent decades in service of equal and accessible education.

Jio University

Image: Prakash Javadekar Twitter
New Delhi: The Delhi University Teachers’ Association (DUTA) condemned the Ministry of Human Resource Development’s (MHRD) list of eminent institutions on Monday. The President Rajib Ray and secretary Vivek Chaudhary made their qualms known against a pro-corporation government’s interference in deciding what is an eminent institute.
“DUTA has consistently opposed the Government’s obsession with rankings as the quality parameters used for ranking Higher Educational Institutions tend to ignore notions of Equity, Access and Public Accountability while emphasising on a narrow and arbitrary notion of Excellence. The exercise in creating a separate list of Eminent Institutions is also geared towards promoting a special economic zone for Higher Education brands that may pursue commercial aims with impunity and without any public accountability. This criticism is amply borne out by the MHRD’s announcement of a list of Eminent Institutions,” their statement said.
“These Eminent Institutions feature IITs wherein women’s access is limited to 14 per cent of the total students’ strength. Obviously, the diversity of students’ profile and Equity is not a matter of concern, here. But more shockingly, the MHRD has selected Jio Institute of Reliance Foundation over many other prestigious Institutions that had applied,” it said.
As of today, Jio only exists as a proposal.
“Jio Institute has no record of academic or socially relevant accomplishments; it would be hard to establish details about its faculty, campus infrastructure and courses. The inclusion of clauses which allow paper proposals to qualify as an Eminent Institution is an academic corruption of the highest order. It is turning a government scheme as a promotion for a private player,” they said in the joint statement.
“Institutional reputation is not built in a day. It takes years, in fact, decades, to build great institutions of Higher Education. Hence, Jio Institute’s designation as an Institution of Eminence is arbitrary and makes a mockery of this exercise. It proves the extent to which the MHRD, and by extension, this Government, is besotted by corporations and big businesses. Such shameful decisions become the basis of the fear that this Government intends to put Higher Education up for sale and stoop to any level to accomplish Privatisation. The DUTA unambiguously objects to the MHRD’s announcement of the list of Eminent Institutions and the inclusion of Jio Institute in the list,” they said.
The MHRD has also begun the process to repeal the UGC Act, 1951. According to the draft bill that will replace the UGC, monetary grants would be under the purview of the ministry. Presently, the University Grants Commission (UGC), which came into existence in 1953, provides financial assistance to eligible colleges.

A dangerous precedent is being set in the country by tactful measures being employed to undermine India’s education system, its teachers and students. The government seems to be in love with the idea of privatising education or taking complete control of institutions and make them pander to ideology instead of serving the masses their rightful and unbiased education.
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