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BHU Dalit prof allegedly attacked for supporting Muslim colleague’s appointment

Students allegedly attacked the senior professor in the Sanskrit department where Feroz Khan was appointed

10 Dec 2019

banaras hindu university

A senior Dalit professor, Shanti Lal Salvi, at the Benaras Hindu University (BHU) has allegedly been attacked by students at the University for supporting his Muslim colleague, Feroz Khan’s appointment as the assistant professor in the Sanskrit department.

Speaking to reporters in Varanasi Professor Salvi said, “I was sitting in a classroom when some students barged in and started abusing me in foul language.”

“They asked me to stop supporting a Muslim’s appointment to the faculty. I felt unsafe and came out. Some of the students then hurled stones at me and later caught up with me and shoved and pushed me. I could escape because a stranger gave me a lift on his scooter,” he added.

He said that a colleague had instigated the students, but did not name him in front of the media. He affirmed, “I have complained to vice-chancellor Rakesh Bhatnagar against a professor of the department and some students.”

He has also written to the Chief Proctor O.P. Rai, accusing the senior faculty member who incited the students.

His letter, accessed by the Indian Express read, “At 12.05 pm, I was sitting in my office at the SVDV faculty when some students came to me and asked me to leave as they were closing the faculty. Soon I came out with a colleague when an outsider, Munish Mishra, along with a student, Shubham Tiwari, and others started raising slogans against me. They called me and the department HoD a thief. Soon, more students joined and started making casteist remarks. They all chased me to beat me up. Sensing that my life is in threat, I started running and after around half a kilometre, I took a lift from a bike rider to reach the central office. One of the students threw a brick at me, but he missed.”

He also told the paper that the senior professor he had accused, had harassed him in the past too and spread a rumour that his wife, who is a Ph.D. from BHU was a Muslim and Feroz Khan’s sister. He added that the reason the students attacked him was because the professor had told them that it was Salvi who had got Feroz to the University. Professor Salvi also has plans to file an FIR against the said senior faculty member.

A student who was part of the group that confronted professor Salvi, said that they had only asked the professor to stop supporting Khan and had never attacked him.

A group of professors also met the proctor to discuss the incident and he has assured that a committee will be set up to investigate the matter.

A university official told the paper, “Based on findings of the committee, action will be taken against those responsible, as per the university rules. An FIR in the case is being registered at Lanka police station in Varanasi.”

Feroz Khan’s appointment as the assistant professor at the Sanskrit department had created a row. The students, who are protesting since November 8, a day after his appointment have said that his appointment is unacceptable on the grounds that a Muslim cannot teach Hindu religious texts which are included in the syllabus. No classes have been conducted at the Sanskrit Vidya Dharam Sankay department since then and the semester exams that were to held starting December 5, have been postponed Chief Proctor O.P.Rai told reporters.

Khan who has a Ph.D. in Sanksrit Literature from the Rashtriya Sanskrit Sansthan in Jaipur is a regular on the Varta Vali programme that is telecast on Doordarshan every Saturday. He has been felicitated with the Sanskrit Yuva Pratibha Puraskar award by the Rajasthan government, but fascist Hindu outfits like the RSS and ABVP who have been backing the students in their protest against him, have left a more than well-deserving candidate bereft of an opportunity. This is just one of their many attempts to stoke communal hate and poison the secular education system with their Hindutva ideology.

Even though Khan has been backed by the University administration, he has been forced into quitting the SVDV department owing to the student agitation. He has now applied to Sanskrit Department of the University’s Faculty of Arts and also for the Assistant Professor’s post at the Faculty of Ayurveda.


Related:

After protests, Sanskrit prof Firoz Khan applies to other faculties at BHU
The Language of Hate - BHU students protest Muslim Sanskrit teacher
BHU protest against Muslim teacher shows how communal vitriol is undermining India
No radicalism: BHU VC backs Feroz Khan’s appointment as Sanskrit professor
      

 

BHU Dalit prof allegedly attacked for supporting Muslim colleague’s appointment

Students allegedly attacked the senior professor in the Sanskrit department where Feroz Khan was appointed

banaras hindu university

A senior Dalit professor, Shanti Lal Salvi, at the Benaras Hindu University (BHU) has allegedly been attacked by students at the University for supporting his Muslim colleague, Feroz Khan’s appointment as the assistant professor in the Sanskrit department.

Speaking to reporters in Varanasi Professor Salvi said, “I was sitting in a classroom when some students barged in and started abusing me in foul language.”

“They asked me to stop supporting a Muslim’s appointment to the faculty. I felt unsafe and came out. Some of the students then hurled stones at me and later caught up with me and shoved and pushed me. I could escape because a stranger gave me a lift on his scooter,” he added.

He said that a colleague had instigated the students, but did not name him in front of the media. He affirmed, “I have complained to vice-chancellor Rakesh Bhatnagar against a professor of the department and some students.”

He has also written to the Chief Proctor O.P. Rai, accusing the senior faculty member who incited the students.

His letter, accessed by the Indian Express read, “At 12.05 pm, I was sitting in my office at the SVDV faculty when some students came to me and asked me to leave as they were closing the faculty. Soon I came out with a colleague when an outsider, Munish Mishra, along with a student, Shubham Tiwari, and others started raising slogans against me. They called me and the department HoD a thief. Soon, more students joined and started making casteist remarks. They all chased me to beat me up. Sensing that my life is in threat, I started running and after around half a kilometre, I took a lift from a bike rider to reach the central office. One of the students threw a brick at me, but he missed.”

He also told the paper that the senior professor he had accused, had harassed him in the past too and spread a rumour that his wife, who is a Ph.D. from BHU was a Muslim and Feroz Khan’s sister. He added that the reason the students attacked him was because the professor had told them that it was Salvi who had got Feroz to the University. Professor Salvi also has plans to file an FIR against the said senior faculty member.

A student who was part of the group that confronted professor Salvi, said that they had only asked the professor to stop supporting Khan and had never attacked him.

A group of professors also met the proctor to discuss the incident and he has assured that a committee will be set up to investigate the matter.

A university official told the paper, “Based on findings of the committee, action will be taken against those responsible, as per the university rules. An FIR in the case is being registered at Lanka police station in Varanasi.”

Feroz Khan’s appointment as the assistant professor at the Sanskrit department had created a row. The students, who are protesting since November 8, a day after his appointment have said that his appointment is unacceptable on the grounds that a Muslim cannot teach Hindu religious texts which are included in the syllabus. No classes have been conducted at the Sanskrit Vidya Dharam Sankay department since then and the semester exams that were to held starting December 5, have been postponed Chief Proctor O.P.Rai told reporters.

Khan who has a Ph.D. in Sanksrit Literature from the Rashtriya Sanskrit Sansthan in Jaipur is a regular on the Varta Vali programme that is telecast on Doordarshan every Saturday. He has been felicitated with the Sanskrit Yuva Pratibha Puraskar award by the Rajasthan government, but fascist Hindu outfits like the RSS and ABVP who have been backing the students in their protest against him, have left a more than well-deserving candidate bereft of an opportunity. This is just one of their many attempts to stoke communal hate and poison the secular education system with their Hindutva ideology.

Even though Khan has been backed by the University administration, he has been forced into quitting the SVDV department owing to the student agitation. He has now applied to Sanskrit Department of the University’s Faculty of Arts and also for the Assistant Professor’s post at the Faculty of Ayurveda.


Related:

After protests, Sanskrit prof Firoz Khan applies to other faculties at BHU
The Language of Hate - BHU students protest Muslim Sanskrit teacher
BHU protest against Muslim teacher shows how communal vitriol is undermining India
No radicalism: BHU VC backs Feroz Khan’s appointment as Sanskrit professor
      

 

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2nd lathicharge in 40 days on JNU students by Delhi Police

The students were peacefully marching to the Rashtrapati Bhavan to put forth their plea of the fee rollback to the President

10 Dec 2019

JNU

The Delhi police has come down heavily on the students of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) once again as they were marching towards Rashtrapati Bhavan to register their protest against the almost 300% fee hike imposed on them by the Inter Hall Administration.

This is the 42nd day of the JNU agitation against the fee hike.

Reports say that at first the students weren’t allowed to march towards the Rashtrapati Bhavan, but after negotiations with Delhi police officials, the students were given a designated place outside Sarojini Nagar to hold their dharna.

The police resorted to lathi charge when protesting students tried to cross the Bhikaji Cama Place metro station that had been cordoned off by the police, when they tried to take a different route to Sarojini Nagar. Speaking to media channels, student leader Aishe Ghosh said that the police have singled out students and detained them after the lathi charge in which many students have been grievously injured.

 


The students have been on a month-long protest against the fee hike which the university has refused to roll back. The university had offered a peace making gesture in the garb of an amendment, but students claim that the move was simply an eyewash to take away the attention from their protest.

 


The Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union (JNUSU) had earlier written to the President Ram Nath Kovind demanding an immediate rollback of the fee hike, the resignation of the Vice Chancellor and the withdrawal of all police cases lodged against the students.

On Monday morning, December 9, the police had increased security around JNU and appealed to the students to not resort to violence. Entry and exit points of the Udyog Bhawan, Lok Kalyan Marg and Central Secretariat Metro stations were also closed over concerns that the students may use the intra-city rail system to make their way to Rashtrapati Bhawan, reported NDTV.

JNUSU President N Sai Balaji who has been detained along with some other students has accused the administration of lying that the students had boycotted their exams. He has asked why the administration is not revoking the fee hike. He also said nobody from the MHRD or the university has come forward to discuss the issue.

There is heavy police presence at the site and while some students have been dispersed, most of them have been illegally detained and taken to separate police stations so that they can’t gather back and stage a protest.

This is the second time in the last forty days that the students have endured a lathi charge by the police. The first time around too there had been several casualties and students had accused the police of manhandling and assaulting them.

Currently, there is a standoff situation between the students and the police with the students that their detained fellow mates be immediately brought back to wherever they were taken.

The JNU and other public funded universities have been a haven for children from economically backward sections of society. The students have been unrelenting in their quest for affordable education, especially because the fee hike was an autonomous decision of the university and it didn’t take the opinion of the main stakeholders – the students’ view into account. Since the protests have erupted, the Vice Chancellor Mamidala has refused to meet with the students and listen to their demands.

The students had started on a peaceful march to the Rashtrapati Bhavan to make their pleas heard to the President against the draconian IHA manual which they saw as a last resort after the concerned authorities had shown indifference to their plight. There has been no decision made on the rollback yet. However, it is to be seen whether or not the second atrocious attack of the police will dampen their spirit and tire them out in their fight against the system.

Related:

Students, Cops clash at JNU on convocation
JNU admin moves Delhi HC against students, JNUSU and police
Police brutality in the wake of peaceful JNU protests
JNU: Students march towards Parliament, teachers ask VC to step down
“Fee hike rollback is fake”: JNU students
JNU clashes reveal the government’s skewed priorities on higher education

2nd lathicharge in 40 days on JNU students by Delhi Police

The students were peacefully marching to the Rashtrapati Bhavan to put forth their plea of the fee rollback to the President

JNU

The Delhi police has come down heavily on the students of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) once again as they were marching towards Rashtrapati Bhavan to register their protest against the almost 300% fee hike imposed on them by the Inter Hall Administration.

This is the 42nd day of the JNU agitation against the fee hike.

Reports say that at first the students weren’t allowed to march towards the Rashtrapati Bhavan, but after negotiations with Delhi police officials, the students were given a designated place outside Sarojini Nagar to hold their dharna.

The police resorted to lathi charge when protesting students tried to cross the Bhikaji Cama Place metro station that had been cordoned off by the police, when they tried to take a different route to Sarojini Nagar. Speaking to media channels, student leader Aishe Ghosh said that the police have singled out students and detained them after the lathi charge in which many students have been grievously injured.

 


The students have been on a month-long protest against the fee hike which the university has refused to roll back. The university had offered a peace making gesture in the garb of an amendment, but students claim that the move was simply an eyewash to take away the attention from their protest.

 


The Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union (JNUSU) had earlier written to the President Ram Nath Kovind demanding an immediate rollback of the fee hike, the resignation of the Vice Chancellor and the withdrawal of all police cases lodged against the students.

On Monday morning, December 9, the police had increased security around JNU and appealed to the students to not resort to violence. Entry and exit points of the Udyog Bhawan, Lok Kalyan Marg and Central Secretariat Metro stations were also closed over concerns that the students may use the intra-city rail system to make their way to Rashtrapati Bhawan, reported NDTV.

JNUSU President N Sai Balaji who has been detained along with some other students has accused the administration of lying that the students had boycotted their exams. He has asked why the administration is not revoking the fee hike. He also said nobody from the MHRD or the university has come forward to discuss the issue.

There is heavy police presence at the site and while some students have been dispersed, most of them have been illegally detained and taken to separate police stations so that they can’t gather back and stage a protest.

This is the second time in the last forty days that the students have endured a lathi charge by the police. The first time around too there had been several casualties and students had accused the police of manhandling and assaulting them.

Currently, there is a standoff situation between the students and the police with the students that their detained fellow mates be immediately brought back to wherever they were taken.

The JNU and other public funded universities have been a haven for children from economically backward sections of society. The students have been unrelenting in their quest for affordable education, especially because the fee hike was an autonomous decision of the university and it didn’t take the opinion of the main stakeholders – the students’ view into account. Since the protests have erupted, the Vice Chancellor Mamidala has refused to meet with the students and listen to their demands.

The students had started on a peaceful march to the Rashtrapati Bhavan to make their pleas heard to the President against the draconian IHA manual which they saw as a last resort after the concerned authorities had shown indifference to their plight. There has been no decision made on the rollback yet. However, it is to be seen whether or not the second atrocious attack of the police will dampen their spirit and tire them out in their fight against the system.

Related:

Students, Cops clash at JNU on convocation
JNU admin moves Delhi HC against students, JNUSU and police
Police brutality in the wake of peaceful JNU protests
JNU: Students march towards Parliament, teachers ask VC to step down
“Fee hike rollback is fake”: JNU students
JNU clashes reveal the government’s skewed priorities on higher education

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DU teachers protest against oppressive policies

DU has decided to appoint guest lecturers for permanent positions, leaving 4,500 ad-hoc teachers in the lurch

06 Dec 2019

Delhi university

Students and teachers alike have never minced their words about the education system in India collapsing. After the student protests in JNU and neighbouring IIMC against exorbitant fee hikes, the teachers of Delhi University have risen to demand their rights.


The protest

In response to the Delhi University Principals’ Association’s (DUPA) decision to put joining of ad-hoc teachers and disbursal of their salaries in abeyance, the Delhi University Teachers’ Association (DUTA) called for an indefinite strike on December 1.

The teachers are protesting against the university’s decision of appointing guest teachers for posts instead of making ad-hoc faculty permanent.

DUTA had put forth a set of demands to the Vice Chancellor (VC) YogeshTyagi – withdrawal of the August 28 circular and the counting of past services for promotions as granted by DU ordinances. It had given three working days to the VC to agree to their set of demands.

However, with no response from him, on December 4, the DUTA took the decision to go on an indefinite strike and threatened to ‘gherao’ the VC’s office for ‘not taking any concrete steps to resolve the crisis.’Even as exams were ongoing at the university, the DUTA urged teachers to boycott official duties. They made sure that no child would be forced to drop out of the exam and there were no complaints on the same front.

table

Later, almost 5,000 teachers entered the Viceregal Lodge Estate that houses the office of the VC. The Indian Express reports that the teachers assembled at the North Campus’ Faculty of Arts, finding their way to the VC’s office complex. The Delhi Police was put on guard with water cannons should things get out of control, the Navbharat Times had reported.

At around 11:30 am, the teachers broke through the lock on gate number 4 that led to the administrative block and marched towards his office. The access to the same was blocked by barricades and locked gates.

The ad-hoc teachers, members of DUTA and even permanent teachers expressing solidarity to their cause numbered in thousands, charged the council hall where executive and academic council meetings are held. However, the VC was absent at the time after which the protest intensified.

The walls of the viceregal lodge were filled with graffiti carrying slogans like ‘our right, absorption’, ‘VC resign’ and ‘abhikaro, urgent karo, sabko permanent karo’.

The DUTA President Rajib Ray stated that the graffiti and vandalism was the job of the teachers.

They said they would continue to occupy the building till their demands were met. Proctor of the varsity, Neeta Sehgal wrote to Rajib Ray (DUTA President) asking him and the teachers to “vacate the unlawful siege of the building immediately and leave the place peacefully.”

Their protest has garnered support and solidarity from various institutions that have been fighting for the cause of affordable and quality education.

 

 

 


Start of the unrest

On August 28, the VC had issued a circular to the DUPA stating that the appointment of ad-hoc teachers as faculty members would be stopped and instead the appointment of guest lecturers who would be paid on an hourly basis would be taken up.

As reported by The Wire, ad-hoc positions are filled when permanent faculty retire, resign, pass away or go on leave. Ad-hoc faculties usually have 16 hours of teaching and take a monthly salary as fixed by the University Grants Commission (UGC).

The circular issued by the VC informed, “The colleges are…advised to fill up the permanent vacancies at the earliest and till permanent appointments are made, Colleges may appoint guest faculty, if required, against new vacancies arising first time in academic session 2019-2020”.

Though the circular is clear about new vacancies, many DU college principals interpreted it in a way that they refused to renew contracts of ad-hoc teachers who were already in service stating that if somebody’s contract ended and it was renewed, it would be regarded as a “new vacancy arising first time in academic session 2019-2020.”

Following this, not only did most DU colleges not renew contracts of ad-hoc teachers, but also denied them their salaries for November. The teacher’s found out about this after their contracts lapsed and while they were invigilating for ongoing exams, without officially being part of the university.

In its general body meeting (GBM), DUTA decided on a complete evaluation boycott of the semester examinations and an indefinite strike starting the second week of January in case the HRD Ministry and the DU administration did not change their mind.


Current status

The Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) has conducted an extensive meeting with the VC and DUTA and decided that all ad-hoc teachers who worked or are working in the current academic year will be allowed to continue till the next academic session or till recruitment of permanent faculty, whichever is earlier.
 


However, people are seeing through the letter as just a mere re-wording of the August 28 circular stating that once the current academic session is over, the university plans to go ahead with the appointment of guest teachers for the session of 2020 – 21.

While the DUTA has welcomed the amendment in the circular, it has said it won’t give up its strike till all its demands – unfair wages, complete absorption of ad-hoc faculty and pension payments have been met.

Earlier this year, DUTA had protested against the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government for its decision to stop funding 28 DU colleges. They accused the government of repeatedly stopping the funds leading to delayed payments and other reimbursements, especially hitting the ad-hoc faculties the most.

This is just another step in the privatisation of education, say students and teachers like. From the non-payment of dues to the sly appointment of guest teachers putting the future of 4,500 teachers at stake, the current situation at DU is just another example of how the education system has taken a hit for the worse.


Related:

Only work, no pay: 40,000 teachers in K’taka not paid salaries since September
Delhi University condemns lathi charge on JNU students
Thousands of teachers to cease work in West Bengal colleges today
Diploma in elementary education invalid for recruitment says NCTE

 

DU teachers protest against oppressive policies

DU has decided to appoint guest lecturers for permanent positions, leaving 4,500 ad-hoc teachers in the lurch

Delhi university

Students and teachers alike have never minced their words about the education system in India collapsing. After the student protests in JNU and neighbouring IIMC against exorbitant fee hikes, the teachers of Delhi University have risen to demand their rights.


The protest

In response to the Delhi University Principals’ Association’s (DUPA) decision to put joining of ad-hoc teachers and disbursal of their salaries in abeyance, the Delhi University Teachers’ Association (DUTA) called for an indefinite strike on December 1.

The teachers are protesting against the university’s decision of appointing guest teachers for posts instead of making ad-hoc faculty permanent.

DUTA had put forth a set of demands to the Vice Chancellor (VC) YogeshTyagi – withdrawal of the August 28 circular and the counting of past services for promotions as granted by DU ordinances. It had given three working days to the VC to agree to their set of demands.

However, with no response from him, on December 4, the DUTA took the decision to go on an indefinite strike and threatened to ‘gherao’ the VC’s office for ‘not taking any concrete steps to resolve the crisis.’Even as exams were ongoing at the university, the DUTA urged teachers to boycott official duties. They made sure that no child would be forced to drop out of the exam and there were no complaints on the same front.

table

Later, almost 5,000 teachers entered the Viceregal Lodge Estate that houses the office of the VC. The Indian Express reports that the teachers assembled at the North Campus’ Faculty of Arts, finding their way to the VC’s office complex. The Delhi Police was put on guard with water cannons should things get out of control, the Navbharat Times had reported.

At around 11:30 am, the teachers broke through the lock on gate number 4 that led to the administrative block and marched towards his office. The access to the same was blocked by barricades and locked gates.

The ad-hoc teachers, members of DUTA and even permanent teachers expressing solidarity to their cause numbered in thousands, charged the council hall where executive and academic council meetings are held. However, the VC was absent at the time after which the protest intensified.

The walls of the viceregal lodge were filled with graffiti carrying slogans like ‘our right, absorption’, ‘VC resign’ and ‘abhikaro, urgent karo, sabko permanent karo’.

The DUTA President Rajib Ray stated that the graffiti and vandalism was the job of the teachers.

They said they would continue to occupy the building till their demands were met. Proctor of the varsity, Neeta Sehgal wrote to Rajib Ray (DUTA President) asking him and the teachers to “vacate the unlawful siege of the building immediately and leave the place peacefully.”

Their protest has garnered support and solidarity from various institutions that have been fighting for the cause of affordable and quality education.

 

 

 


Start of the unrest

On August 28, the VC had issued a circular to the DUPA stating that the appointment of ad-hoc teachers as faculty members would be stopped and instead the appointment of guest lecturers who would be paid on an hourly basis would be taken up.

As reported by The Wire, ad-hoc positions are filled when permanent faculty retire, resign, pass away or go on leave. Ad-hoc faculties usually have 16 hours of teaching and take a monthly salary as fixed by the University Grants Commission (UGC).

The circular issued by the VC informed, “The colleges are…advised to fill up the permanent vacancies at the earliest and till permanent appointments are made, Colleges may appoint guest faculty, if required, against new vacancies arising first time in academic session 2019-2020”.

Though the circular is clear about new vacancies, many DU college principals interpreted it in a way that they refused to renew contracts of ad-hoc teachers who were already in service stating that if somebody’s contract ended and it was renewed, it would be regarded as a “new vacancy arising first time in academic session 2019-2020.”

Following this, not only did most DU colleges not renew contracts of ad-hoc teachers, but also denied them their salaries for November. The teacher’s found out about this after their contracts lapsed and while they were invigilating for ongoing exams, without officially being part of the university.

In its general body meeting (GBM), DUTA decided on a complete evaluation boycott of the semester examinations and an indefinite strike starting the second week of January in case the HRD Ministry and the DU administration did not change their mind.


Current status

The Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) has conducted an extensive meeting with the VC and DUTA and decided that all ad-hoc teachers who worked or are working in the current academic year will be allowed to continue till the next academic session or till recruitment of permanent faculty, whichever is earlier.
 


However, people are seeing through the letter as just a mere re-wording of the August 28 circular stating that once the current academic session is over, the university plans to go ahead with the appointment of guest teachers for the session of 2020 – 21.

While the DUTA has welcomed the amendment in the circular, it has said it won’t give up its strike till all its demands – unfair wages, complete absorption of ad-hoc faculty and pension payments have been met.

Earlier this year, DUTA had protested against the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government for its decision to stop funding 28 DU colleges. They accused the government of repeatedly stopping the funds leading to delayed payments and other reimbursements, especially hitting the ad-hoc faculties the most.

This is just another step in the privatisation of education, say students and teachers like. From the non-payment of dues to the sly appointment of guest teachers putting the future of 4,500 teachers at stake, the current situation at DU is just another example of how the education system has taken a hit for the worse.


Related:

Only work, no pay: 40,000 teachers in K’taka not paid salaries since September
Delhi University condemns lathi charge on JNU students
Thousands of teachers to cease work in West Bengal colleges today
Diploma in elementary education invalid for recruitment says NCTE

 

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HRD Ministry’s response to parliamentary question highlights the lack of transgender participation in higher education

In response to an unstarred question asked in the Lok Sabha with regards to transgender participation in higher education, HRD Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ said there are no trans students in any Indian central universities. He could only offer up empty banalities when asked about planned measures to improve the statistics.

04 Dec 2019

Transgender

Where we are

Anumula Revanth Reddy asked the Human Resources Department (HRD) Ministry for university-wise details on the number of transgender students, teaching staff and non-teaching staff in the central universities of the country. Additionally, he asked the Ministry for year-wise details of steps taken by the government to ensure increase such participation in the last five years as well as details of further measures planned by the state.

Nishank relayed that no trans student is studying in any central university except for Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) which has had a total of 814 trans students in the last five years. As for transgender teaching and non-teaching staff in the universities, Nishank said there have been no trans recruitment.

As for past and future government action, Nishank listed a few administrative changes made by the University Grants Commission (UGC), such as adding transgender identifying columns in forms for admission and enrolment in beneficial UGC schemes, scholarships, and fellowships. Other actions mentioned by the Minister include encouraging faculty to undertake major research projects on the trans life, relaxation for trans persons in fee, eligibility and qualifying requirements of UGC NET.

In the name of planned strategy, Nishank could only offer other platitudes such as taking other affirmative action for adequate acclimatisation without facing fear, stigma or shame and chalking out an action plan for pertaining issues.

The HRD Ministry’s All India Survey on Higher Education (AISHE 2018-19) states that 37.4 million students are enrolled in higher education institutions. While it provides gender estimates for male and female populations (48.6 per cent of those enrolled are female), there is no data on trans or non-binary persons in the report.

 

What we miss

If only looked at in isolation, these numbers don’t paint the complete picture on the trans identity issue. The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill 2019, in practical application, curtails a trans persons’ right to self-identify. Although the bill grants transgender citizens the right to a ‘self-perceived’ gender identity, this right is effectively negated by the bill requiring the trans individual to undergo an application process to obtain a “transgender” certificate of identity from the district magistrate.

This addition in the Bill directly contravenes with the directives laid down by the Supreme Court in NALSA v. Union of India, wherein the court had held that gender identity, gender expression and presentation will be protected under Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution of India, and that the right of self-determination of gender – by virtue of falling within the realm of personal liberty – will be guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution of India.

Ray, a trans woman and law student at the Delhi University, said to The Wire, “This bill reduces us to our bodies. Our gender isn’t our genitalia – it is in our very being. And this bill is not trying to move its understanding of gender to who we are.”

News18 spoke to Delhi University’s Professor Rajesh Kumar who runs the Transgender Resource Centre in this regard. Kumar said, “.. transgender people don’t feel comfortable in identifying themselves as the ‘other’ gender; they fear stigma.” He gave the example of a trans person who graduated from Miranda House while identifying as ‘female’ in the admission form.

As Kumar noted, sensitisation and trans inclusion is a gradual process. Getting the members of the marginalised community to enroll under the category is the first step towards integration, he said.
 

Where we should be

While it is easier to formulate a toothless legislation filled with platitudes so as to seem progressive, the only really way of creating good affirmative law for the transgender community is to truly understand their struggles and attack those areas.

A person’s self-defined gender identity is integral to their personality and dignity. Creating a transgender column without addressing the stigma that prevents trans persons from checking it is of no real consequence. To truly recognise and protect those rights, the government must enable the community with a safer and accepting environment that doesn’t open the trans individual to stigma and abuse.

As Dr. Lilavati Krishnan noted, “Social inclusion has become one of the core issues while discussing social problems in contemporary Indian society … The two concepts of inclusion and exclusion are inextricably related and include keeping out or leaving behind certain individuals groups or sections of society, or denial of certain rights or opportunities or resources or having a voice in decision making which are normally available to members of a society and which are fundamental to society integration.”

Moving away from social stigma means moving toward social inclusion. Learning the concept of gender fluidity is important to shape peer worldview.

As Mousami Padhi and Purnima Mohanty note, a transgender child’s notion of self-identity and self-worth gets developed at a very early age and that is why greater awareness on transgender issues both as part of teacher training and student sensitisation is needed in schools. To facilitate inclusion, it is imperative that society learns to be sensitive to the problems faced by the transgender community.

Another part of trans acceptance methods in higher educational institutions is capability development. Owing to societal stigma, trans persons are prevented from acquiring enough education to even qualify for university degree courses. The 2011 census data had revealed that only 48% of the trans population was literate and that 58% dropped out of school before the 10th grade. According to the National Human Rights Commission, less than half of the trans community has access to education, and 62% of those face discrimination in their institutions.

Both of these issues need to be addressed in tandem so as to have any tangible change in the statistics relayed by the HRD Ministry.

 

Related:

Diversity and Inclusion in a post 377 India

“For the first time, the rights of LGBTQIA are being spoken of in electoral politics”

Why New Bill Meant To Benefit Transgender People Is Termed Regressive

When the roads of Mumbai were painted pink

 

HRD Ministry’s response to parliamentary question highlights the lack of transgender participation in higher education

In response to an unstarred question asked in the Lok Sabha with regards to transgender participation in higher education, HRD Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ said there are no trans students in any Indian central universities. He could only offer up empty banalities when asked about planned measures to improve the statistics.

Transgender

Where we are

Anumula Revanth Reddy asked the Human Resources Department (HRD) Ministry for university-wise details on the number of transgender students, teaching staff and non-teaching staff in the central universities of the country. Additionally, he asked the Ministry for year-wise details of steps taken by the government to ensure increase such participation in the last five years as well as details of further measures planned by the state.

Nishank relayed that no trans student is studying in any central university except for Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) which has had a total of 814 trans students in the last five years. As for transgender teaching and non-teaching staff in the universities, Nishank said there have been no trans recruitment.

As for past and future government action, Nishank listed a few administrative changes made by the University Grants Commission (UGC), such as adding transgender identifying columns in forms for admission and enrolment in beneficial UGC schemes, scholarships, and fellowships. Other actions mentioned by the Minister include encouraging faculty to undertake major research projects on the trans life, relaxation for trans persons in fee, eligibility and qualifying requirements of UGC NET.

In the name of planned strategy, Nishank could only offer other platitudes such as taking other affirmative action for adequate acclimatisation without facing fear, stigma or shame and chalking out an action plan for pertaining issues.

The HRD Ministry’s All India Survey on Higher Education (AISHE 2018-19) states that 37.4 million students are enrolled in higher education institutions. While it provides gender estimates for male and female populations (48.6 per cent of those enrolled are female), there is no data on trans or non-binary persons in the report.

 

What we miss

If only looked at in isolation, these numbers don’t paint the complete picture on the trans identity issue. The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill 2019, in practical application, curtails a trans persons’ right to self-identify. Although the bill grants transgender citizens the right to a ‘self-perceived’ gender identity, this right is effectively negated by the bill requiring the trans individual to undergo an application process to obtain a “transgender” certificate of identity from the district magistrate.

This addition in the Bill directly contravenes with the directives laid down by the Supreme Court in NALSA v. Union of India, wherein the court had held that gender identity, gender expression and presentation will be protected under Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution of India, and that the right of self-determination of gender – by virtue of falling within the realm of personal liberty – will be guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution of India.

Ray, a trans woman and law student at the Delhi University, said to The Wire, “This bill reduces us to our bodies. Our gender isn’t our genitalia – it is in our very being. And this bill is not trying to move its understanding of gender to who we are.”

News18 spoke to Delhi University’s Professor Rajesh Kumar who runs the Transgender Resource Centre in this regard. Kumar said, “.. transgender people don’t feel comfortable in identifying themselves as the ‘other’ gender; they fear stigma.” He gave the example of a trans person who graduated from Miranda House while identifying as ‘female’ in the admission form.

As Kumar noted, sensitisation and trans inclusion is a gradual process. Getting the members of the marginalised community to enroll under the category is the first step towards integration, he said.
 

Where we should be

While it is easier to formulate a toothless legislation filled with platitudes so as to seem progressive, the only really way of creating good affirmative law for the transgender community is to truly understand their struggles and attack those areas.

A person’s self-defined gender identity is integral to their personality and dignity. Creating a transgender column without addressing the stigma that prevents trans persons from checking it is of no real consequence. To truly recognise and protect those rights, the government must enable the community with a safer and accepting environment that doesn’t open the trans individual to stigma and abuse.

As Dr. Lilavati Krishnan noted, “Social inclusion has become one of the core issues while discussing social problems in contemporary Indian society … The two concepts of inclusion and exclusion are inextricably related and include keeping out or leaving behind certain individuals groups or sections of society, or denial of certain rights or opportunities or resources or having a voice in decision making which are normally available to members of a society and which are fundamental to society integration.”

Moving away from social stigma means moving toward social inclusion. Learning the concept of gender fluidity is important to shape peer worldview.

As Mousami Padhi and Purnima Mohanty note, a transgender child’s notion of self-identity and self-worth gets developed at a very early age and that is why greater awareness on transgender issues both as part of teacher training and student sensitisation is needed in schools. To facilitate inclusion, it is imperative that society learns to be sensitive to the problems faced by the transgender community.

Another part of trans acceptance methods in higher educational institutions is capability development. Owing to societal stigma, trans persons are prevented from acquiring enough education to even qualify for university degree courses. The 2011 census data had revealed that only 48% of the trans population was literate and that 58% dropped out of school before the 10th grade. According to the National Human Rights Commission, less than half of the trans community has access to education, and 62% of those face discrimination in their institutions.

Both of these issues need to be addressed in tandem so as to have any tangible change in the statistics relayed by the HRD Ministry.

 

Related:

Diversity and Inclusion in a post 377 India

“For the first time, the rights of LGBTQIA are being spoken of in electoral politics”

Why New Bill Meant To Benefit Transgender People Is Termed Regressive

When the roads of Mumbai were painted pink

 

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After JNU, its neighbour IIMC protests against fee hike

IIMC officials have said that there is going to be a faculty-student meeting soon

04 Dec 2019

IIMC

The fight for affordable education taken up staunchly by the students of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) has now spread like wildfire to other students facing oppression by the government. Picking out a leaf from JNU’s book, the students of Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC), New Delhi staged a strike on December 3 against the ‘high’ tuition fee and unruly hostel and mess charges.

FB Post

IIMC is an autonomous society falling under the umbrella of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and it is known to be one of the best media institutes in India. Societies like the IIMC are supposed to run on a no profit, no loss basis, but students say that the fees at IIMC are extremely high and are increased at a rate of 10% every year.

Students also said that the fee for a course in Radio and TV Journalism stands at Rs. 168,500 while the fee for the Advertising and PR course is Rs. 131,500. The Hindi and English Journalism fees are Rs. 95,000 and the fee for Urdu Journalism stands at Rs. 55,500.

These are just the course fees, say students. The hostel and mess charges are pegged at Rs. 6500 for girls and 4800 for boys every month. These charges are extremely high and burdensome, especially for children from economically weaker backgrounds. It also doesn’t help that every student here doesn’t get hostel accommodation and the hostel fee is not in accordance with the quality of the rooms provided.

IIMC is a public funded institution just like JNU and students say that for the past week they have been trying to seek a redressal of their issues but the administration has been turning a blind eye to their issues.

The administration, say the students, is not willing to help as it says that altering the fee structure is beyond their power. Hence, after testing all other avenues, the students have called for a protest. 

Hrishikesh, a student of the Radio and TV Journalism course at IIMC said, "We cannot allow media institutes to be accessible only to the people who can afford to pay lakhs. Education, after all, is a right and not a privilege.”

People have come out in support of the students and they are being cheered on by fellow students in their protest.

 

 

 

 


What the administration says

 

Edex Live reports that 90 students are part of the protest and though the administration has told them that a faculty-student grievance committee will be formed to address concerns, it is not guaranteed that the students’ demands will be accepted.

 

A senior IIMC official said that there is going to be an open house scheduled with the students on December 4 to initiate a dialogue. He said, "The Director-General has already met the students. We were to have another meeting on 15th and we expected a reaction from the students only after that. This was quite unexpected. "We have already acceded to a lot of their demands. One of their demand was to stop the 10 per cent hike in the course fee every year. We, in fact, took a suo motto action against this.”

He also added that there was no interim hike in the fee and that the fee mentioned in the prospectus is collected from the students. Stressing on how important higher education was he said, "Usually, freeships were reimbursed against submission of bills. But this year, we made sure that the students got them awarded right after the entrance examination.” He continued, "Fee hikes is a larger debate which isn't confined to IIMC alone. But, our courses are mostly skill-based and has a large employability potential. They must be treated akin to self-financing courses in a collegiate system.”

Addressing the quality and unavailability of hostel rooms the official said that it indeed was a challenge to accommodate every student, but they were in talks to construct a larger hostel and were awaiting clearance for the same.

It is now widely acknowledged that fee hikes will prove to be the death of education in India. Education spending in India dropped from 1% of the GDP in the NDA government’s first budget in 2014 to 0.62% in 2017-18. Currently, both the State and Central governments are spending only 3% of the GDP on education.

As if the threat of privatisation wasn’t enough, the government’s arbitrary behaviour with regards to fee hikes is just appalling. Leaving out the most vulnerable sections of society from their rightful share of education, is that the aim of the government?

With aspirational talks about India Rising and it becoming the fastest growing trillion dollar economy, how is the government going to achieve it by keeping bright young minds out of the process?


Related:

Why fee hikes are the death of education in India
Student Movement and Public Education

JNU VC Deserves Compliments -- For Passionate Zeal To Destroy Varsity & His Loyalty To Masters
Ahmedabad students sign huge banner in support of JNU anti-fee campaign
‘Stand by JNU!’ Solidarity Statements from across the world

 

 

After JNU, its neighbour IIMC protests against fee hike

IIMC officials have said that there is going to be a faculty-student meeting soon

IIMC

The fight for affordable education taken up staunchly by the students of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) has now spread like wildfire to other students facing oppression by the government. Picking out a leaf from JNU’s book, the students of Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC), New Delhi staged a strike on December 3 against the ‘high’ tuition fee and unruly hostel and mess charges.

FB Post

IIMC is an autonomous society falling under the umbrella of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and it is known to be one of the best media institutes in India. Societies like the IIMC are supposed to run on a no profit, no loss basis, but students say that the fees at IIMC are extremely high and are increased at a rate of 10% every year.

Students also said that the fee for a course in Radio and TV Journalism stands at Rs. 168,500 while the fee for the Advertising and PR course is Rs. 131,500. The Hindi and English Journalism fees are Rs. 95,000 and the fee for Urdu Journalism stands at Rs. 55,500.

These are just the course fees, say students. The hostel and mess charges are pegged at Rs. 6500 for girls and 4800 for boys every month. These charges are extremely high and burdensome, especially for children from economically weaker backgrounds. It also doesn’t help that every student here doesn’t get hostel accommodation and the hostel fee is not in accordance with the quality of the rooms provided.

IIMC is a public funded institution just like JNU and students say that for the past week they have been trying to seek a redressal of their issues but the administration has been turning a blind eye to their issues.

The administration, say the students, is not willing to help as it says that altering the fee structure is beyond their power. Hence, after testing all other avenues, the students have called for a protest. 

Hrishikesh, a student of the Radio and TV Journalism course at IIMC said, "We cannot allow media institutes to be accessible only to the people who can afford to pay lakhs. Education, after all, is a right and not a privilege.”

People have come out in support of the students and they are being cheered on by fellow students in their protest.

 

 

 

 


What the administration says

 

Edex Live reports that 90 students are part of the protest and though the administration has told them that a faculty-student grievance committee will be formed to address concerns, it is not guaranteed that the students’ demands will be accepted.

 

A senior IIMC official said that there is going to be an open house scheduled with the students on December 4 to initiate a dialogue. He said, "The Director-General has already met the students. We were to have another meeting on 15th and we expected a reaction from the students only after that. This was quite unexpected. "We have already acceded to a lot of their demands. One of their demand was to stop the 10 per cent hike in the course fee every year. We, in fact, took a suo motto action against this.”

He also added that there was no interim hike in the fee and that the fee mentioned in the prospectus is collected from the students. Stressing on how important higher education was he said, "Usually, freeships were reimbursed against submission of bills. But this year, we made sure that the students got them awarded right after the entrance examination.” He continued, "Fee hikes is a larger debate which isn't confined to IIMC alone. But, our courses are mostly skill-based and has a large employability potential. They must be treated akin to self-financing courses in a collegiate system.”

Addressing the quality and unavailability of hostel rooms the official said that it indeed was a challenge to accommodate every student, but they were in talks to construct a larger hostel and were awaiting clearance for the same.

It is now widely acknowledged that fee hikes will prove to be the death of education in India. Education spending in India dropped from 1% of the GDP in the NDA government’s first budget in 2014 to 0.62% in 2017-18. Currently, both the State and Central governments are spending only 3% of the GDP on education.

As if the threat of privatisation wasn’t enough, the government’s arbitrary behaviour with regards to fee hikes is just appalling. Leaving out the most vulnerable sections of society from their rightful share of education, is that the aim of the government?

With aspirational talks about India Rising and it becoming the fastest growing trillion dollar economy, how is the government going to achieve it by keeping bright young minds out of the process?


Related:

Why fee hikes are the death of education in India
Student Movement and Public Education

JNU VC Deserves Compliments -- For Passionate Zeal To Destroy Varsity & His Loyalty To Masters
Ahmedabad students sign huge banner in support of JNU anti-fee campaign
‘Stand by JNU!’ Solidarity Statements from across the world

 

 

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Parents ‘foreigner’, 31 children deprived of education languish in Assam’s detention camps

The Assam Legislative Assembly has been informed that there are total 31 children in detention camps, figures valid till November 20, 2019.

03 Dec 2019
detention camp
Piyasree Dasgupta/Huffpost India


When parents are declared foreigners and sent to detention camps, their children are also detained within. So, other children are busy with play and learning, these 31 children are incarcerated and confined within detention camp. Such inhuman conditions are observed in detention camps of Assam.

A report published in Bengali magazine published from Assam, TDN Bangla, recounts the story of Kalpana Biswas:  a child from Marikata gaon, in Morigaon district, her father’s name is Dilip Biswas and mother’s name is Rumani Biswas. Both children were in detention camps with their  parents. Kalpana was 9 years old on that time and her father was sent to another detention camp. But Kalpana Biswas and her younger sister Archana Biswas remained in detention camps with their mother.

Kalpana Biswas was released after eight long years when she was 17 years old. But her education has been ruined through this ordeal. While the friends of her childhood have appeared in the board HSLC examinations, she has pain, trauma and a wasted childhood behind her.

 

Related Articles

Children of Deceased DF couple struggle to prove Citizenship in Assam

Assam man forced to prove Indian citizenship four times

Assam’s former Dy Speaker’s kin declared ‘Foreigner’

Gauhati HC Upholds NRC Coordinator’s order on siblings and family members of Declared Foreigners

Assam man’s wife declared ‘foreigner’, missing for 7 years!

Parents ‘foreigner’, 31 children deprived of education languish in Assam’s detention camps

The Assam Legislative Assembly has been informed that there are total 31 children in detention camps, figures valid till November 20, 2019.

detention camp
Piyasree Dasgupta/Huffpost India


When parents are declared foreigners and sent to detention camps, their children are also detained within. So, other children are busy with play and learning, these 31 children are incarcerated and confined within detention camp. Such inhuman conditions are observed in detention camps of Assam.

A report published in Bengali magazine published from Assam, TDN Bangla, recounts the story of Kalpana Biswas:  a child from Marikata gaon, in Morigaon district, her father’s name is Dilip Biswas and mother’s name is Rumani Biswas. Both children were in detention camps with their  parents. Kalpana was 9 years old on that time and her father was sent to another detention camp. But Kalpana Biswas and her younger sister Archana Biswas remained in detention camps with their mother.

Kalpana Biswas was released after eight long years when she was 17 years old. But her education has been ruined through this ordeal. While the friends of her childhood have appeared in the board HSLC examinations, she has pain, trauma and a wasted childhood behind her.

 

Related Articles

Children of Deceased DF couple struggle to prove Citizenship in Assam

Assam man forced to prove Indian citizenship four times

Assam’s former Dy Speaker’s kin declared ‘Foreigner’

Gauhati HC Upholds NRC Coordinator’s order on siblings and family members of Declared Foreigners

Assam man’s wife declared ‘foreigner’, missing for 7 years!

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JNU Alumni protest fees hike in Kolkata, gets support from several Universities

Professors, students and parents, who are aggrieved with the fee hike in public education system of India poured in huge number in central Kolkata to show solidarity with JNU alumni demanding fee hike to be rolled back

29 Nov 2019

JNU fee hike
The protest by JNU Alumni, West Bengal over fees hike in JNU and other parts of the country


Kolkata: Students of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) have been quite vocal and determined about the fee hike proposed by the University management. Students enrolled with the university have not just taken on the streets of Delhi or formed human chains, demanding for an immediate fee roll back, but have given out a call to all the students across India, seeking their support. In response to the call by the Jawaharlal Nehru University Student Union (JNUSU), seeking support from fellow students across India, former students of JNU organised a rally on Wednesday afternoon in Kolkata.

Much to the surprise of the organisers, a healthy number of participants hailing from different cross-section of the society made it to the protest rally, which was flagged off from Raja Subodh Mullick Square to culminate at Entally’s Ramlila Maidan.

Speaking to eNewsroom, Subhanil Chowdhury, professor of economics at Institute of Development Studies, Kolkata, said, “I am a former student of JNU and I have seen for close vicinity how the subsidised educational fee allows thousands of brilliant students hailing from the often forgotten section of the society get access to quality education. Hike in fee in public education system, will deprive 40 per cent of JNU students of their right to education. I understand the importance of the JNU movement, where the students have been creating pressure on the government to roll back the fee hike and hence, I am here to stand in solidarity with the demands being made by the students of my Alma Mater.”

“At a time when countries like Norway are making education free, our country is hell bent on increasing the cost of education. If the fees are hiked, where will the poor students go to? Is this a deliberate attempt to make quality education accessible only to the rich and elite class? Are the poor or those who have the courage to dissent to be kept deprived of education? The constant attempts being made to corner JNU students or to saffronise them, is not a healthy sign. I understand the importance of public education and subsidised fee,” said Tanweer Ahmed Khan, secretary of Maulana Azad College’s alumni association.

It was not just Chowdhury, who made sure to be present at the rally on a working day, but several other faculty members, students, student union leaders and even alumni association members of various government colleges and universities of Bengal like Presidency University, University of Calcutta, Jadavpur University, Maulana Azad College and more chose to stand in solidarity with the former students of JNU.

“At a time when countries like Norway are making education free, our country is hell bent on increasing the cost of education. If the fees are hiked, where will the poor students go to? Is this a deliberate attempt to make quality education accessible only to the rich and elite class? Are the poor or those who have the courage to dissent to be kept deprived of education? The constant attempts being made to corner JNU students or to saffronise them, is not a healthy sign. I understand the importance of public education and subsidised fee,” said Tanweer Ahmed Khan, secretary of Maulana Azad College’s alumni association.

Echoing a similar sentiment was Sudipta Bhattacharya, professor of economics at the Viswa Bharti University. He said, “The problem that the JNU students are facing is universal for all Indian students and in not just limited to JNU campus. Students across India enrolled in autonomous universities are having to face a similar issue. Almost a week back, similar protests were seen in our university campus, back then the students were demanding for the admission form price to be reduced. We as the general public need to understand that there is a constant pressure on autonomous universities and colleges to generate their own funds to keep the institutions running.  Fee hike is definitely not the best way to make institutes to arrange their own funds.”

When asked that there are many, who are not okay with tax-payers money being spent on JNU students, Chowdhury, said with a dry laugh, “I am cent percent sure that the people saying so, lack the acumen to crack the JNU entrance examination. They have an issue with the taxpayer’s money being spent on education, but are fine with it being spent of statues and foreign trips of politicians.”

“The government needs to understand that autonomy granted to universities and colleges doesn’t boil down to financial autonomy. It means that the university or college is free to take its own decision without the state interference, with respect to their curriculum. On the contrary, we have been witnessing an increasing trend where autonomous educational institutes are being forced to mobilise their own funds. University Grant Commission, has been made redundant, to create space for Higher Education Funding Authority (HEFA), which now has created provision for the universities function not on grants but on loans which it has to recover from its students, which can be done only by hiking the fees,” explained Bhattacharya.

When asked that there are many, who are not okay with tax-payers money being spent on JNU students, Chowdhury, said with a dry laugh, “I am cent percent sure that the people saying so, lack the acumen to crack the JNU entrance examination. They have an issue with the taxpayer’s money being spent on education, but are fine with it being spent of statues and foreign trips of politicians.”

Interestingly, according to a February 2019 CAG report, INR 94,036 set aside for secondary and higher education cess along with INR 7,298 crore for research and development cess have remained unused. So, where did this money go and why is it not being used to meet the expenditure of premium institutes of India like the JNU, IITs and IIMs, are questions that need to be raised not just on the streets but also at the Parliament.

 

Courtesy: https://enewsroom.in/

JNU Alumni protest fees hike in Kolkata, gets support from several Universities

Professors, students and parents, who are aggrieved with the fee hike in public education system of India poured in huge number in central Kolkata to show solidarity with JNU alumni demanding fee hike to be rolled back

JNU fee hike
The protest by JNU Alumni, West Bengal over fees hike in JNU and other parts of the country


Kolkata: Students of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) have been quite vocal and determined about the fee hike proposed by the University management. Students enrolled with the university have not just taken on the streets of Delhi or formed human chains, demanding for an immediate fee roll back, but have given out a call to all the students across India, seeking their support. In response to the call by the Jawaharlal Nehru University Student Union (JNUSU), seeking support from fellow students across India, former students of JNU organised a rally on Wednesday afternoon in Kolkata.

Much to the surprise of the organisers, a healthy number of participants hailing from different cross-section of the society made it to the protest rally, which was flagged off from Raja Subodh Mullick Square to culminate at Entally’s Ramlila Maidan.

Speaking to eNewsroom, Subhanil Chowdhury, professor of economics at Institute of Development Studies, Kolkata, said, “I am a former student of JNU and I have seen for close vicinity how the subsidised educational fee allows thousands of brilliant students hailing from the often forgotten section of the society get access to quality education. Hike in fee in public education system, will deprive 40 per cent of JNU students of their right to education. I understand the importance of the JNU movement, where the students have been creating pressure on the government to roll back the fee hike and hence, I am here to stand in solidarity with the demands being made by the students of my Alma Mater.”

“At a time when countries like Norway are making education free, our country is hell bent on increasing the cost of education. If the fees are hiked, where will the poor students go to? Is this a deliberate attempt to make quality education accessible only to the rich and elite class? Are the poor or those who have the courage to dissent to be kept deprived of education? The constant attempts being made to corner JNU students or to saffronise them, is not a healthy sign. I understand the importance of public education and subsidised fee,” said Tanweer Ahmed Khan, secretary of Maulana Azad College’s alumni association.

It was not just Chowdhury, who made sure to be present at the rally on a working day, but several other faculty members, students, student union leaders and even alumni association members of various government colleges and universities of Bengal like Presidency University, University of Calcutta, Jadavpur University, Maulana Azad College and more chose to stand in solidarity with the former students of JNU.

“At a time when countries like Norway are making education free, our country is hell bent on increasing the cost of education. If the fees are hiked, where will the poor students go to? Is this a deliberate attempt to make quality education accessible only to the rich and elite class? Are the poor or those who have the courage to dissent to be kept deprived of education? The constant attempts being made to corner JNU students or to saffronise them, is not a healthy sign. I understand the importance of public education and subsidised fee,” said Tanweer Ahmed Khan, secretary of Maulana Azad College’s alumni association.

Echoing a similar sentiment was Sudipta Bhattacharya, professor of economics at the Viswa Bharti University. He said, “The problem that the JNU students are facing is universal for all Indian students and in not just limited to JNU campus. Students across India enrolled in autonomous universities are having to face a similar issue. Almost a week back, similar protests were seen in our university campus, back then the students were demanding for the admission form price to be reduced. We as the general public need to understand that there is a constant pressure on autonomous universities and colleges to generate their own funds to keep the institutions running.  Fee hike is definitely not the best way to make institutes to arrange their own funds.”

When asked that there are many, who are not okay with tax-payers money being spent on JNU students, Chowdhury, said with a dry laugh, “I am cent percent sure that the people saying so, lack the acumen to crack the JNU entrance examination. They have an issue with the taxpayer’s money being spent on education, but are fine with it being spent of statues and foreign trips of politicians.”

“The government needs to understand that autonomy granted to universities and colleges doesn’t boil down to financial autonomy. It means that the university or college is free to take its own decision without the state interference, with respect to their curriculum. On the contrary, we have been witnessing an increasing trend where autonomous educational institutes are being forced to mobilise their own funds. University Grant Commission, has been made redundant, to create space for Higher Education Funding Authority (HEFA), which now has created provision for the universities function not on grants but on loans which it has to recover from its students, which can be done only by hiking the fees,” explained Bhattacharya.

When asked that there are many, who are not okay with tax-payers money being spent on JNU students, Chowdhury, said with a dry laugh, “I am cent percent sure that the people saying so, lack the acumen to crack the JNU entrance examination. They have an issue with the taxpayer’s money being spent on education, but are fine with it being spent of statues and foreign trips of politicians.”

Interestingly, according to a February 2019 CAG report, INR 94,036 set aside for secondary and higher education cess along with INR 7,298 crore for research and development cess have remained unused. So, where did this money go and why is it not being used to meet the expenditure of premium institutes of India like the JNU, IITs and IIMs, are questions that need to be raised not just on the streets but also at the Parliament.

 

Courtesy: https://enewsroom.in/

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Student Movement and Public Education

29 Nov 2019

Education

The movement of Students along with other Universities and Institutes of Excellence in the country do raise questions on the importance of Public Education. Education in India has always received a low priority with only about 3% of the National Budget spent on Education. Even within this, there is a lot of inequity with IITs, IIMs receiving the larger share among educational Institutions and Central Universities receiving more share in relation to State Universities. Overall, however the spending on education by the State has been low.

Despite the miniscule investment on Education by the State, the Public Education has played an important role in creating opportunities for Social Mobility. Those belonging to the poor, marginalised and vulnerable sections of Society through benefiting from subsidised education have witnessed inter-generational mobility. Many of them have risen to become Civil Servants, Officials, Social Work professionals, Media personal and Academics.

The changing priorities of the State which tends to move towards privatisation and commercialisation of education has attempted at increasing fee driven by the logic of reducing subsidies towards the same. While the fee raise has been successful with many of the IITs and Universities in the recent past, it has received resistance at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU). Many IITs and Universities too have started mobilizing students and providing resistance.

With the arrival of BJP at the Centre, JNU has been subject to a defamation drive. The fake news and media affiliated to saffron wing, while on the one hand intends defame the University in the name of propagating that it is the ground for anti-national activities, on the other hand it also tries to argue of  the irrelevance of higher education. Pursuing of higher education is depicted as a wastage of public and tax payer’s money.

A modern society intending to create social and economic equity cannot do away with public education. While education plays an important role in creating social mobility and gaining access to employment, vocations and occupations – its role is much beyond that. Education creates an enlightened citizenry. The more the opportunities available for those from poor & marginalized sections, those in remote areas, women, Dalits, Adivasis to gain access to higher education – the better the movement it creates towards social progress.

Along with a commercial agenda, the communal agenda of the present regime also adds to its present drive. University is seen as a place where ideas and ideologies are discussed, debated, critiqued, intellectualised, written, argued and spoken. University provides spaces where not one but several ideologies may find a fertile ground. There could be Liberals, Marxists, Ambedkarites, Gandhians, Feminists, Environmentalists, Right leaning, Left learning or Centrists. Prevalence of followers of multiple ideological viewpoints can only strengthen the intellectual environment in a University. This needs to be enriched and celebrated.

However, a regime which is intolerant of other ideological viewpoints and sees other than itself as anti-nationals, University and in particular higher education is seen as spaces which corrupts. It is seen as places which creates anti-nationals who do not turn into Saffron Bhakts but become critics of the same. The strongest critics of the current regime in the recent past from the younger generation are the ones who have come from the most marginal sections of society. The current regime looks at this as a threat to its agenda of Hindu Rashtra. The lesser they get exposed to universal values and ideas, the lesser the blocks towards creating a theocratic state.

Due to its proximity with Ambanis, the current regime also intends to promote private universities such as Jio Institute, which has received the tag of Institute of excellence even before its start.

The misadventures by the current regime due to both commercial and communal agenda is leading to the current student unrest.

Public Education cannot be done away with without giving up on the need for Social Progress and Social Equity.

Author: T Navin is a Researcher and works with an NGO

Courtesy:countercurrents.org

Student Movement and Public Education

Education

The movement of Students along with other Universities and Institutes of Excellence in the country do raise questions on the importance of Public Education. Education in India has always received a low priority with only about 3% of the National Budget spent on Education. Even within this, there is a lot of inequity with IITs, IIMs receiving the larger share among educational Institutions and Central Universities receiving more share in relation to State Universities. Overall, however the spending on education by the State has been low.

Despite the miniscule investment on Education by the State, the Public Education has played an important role in creating opportunities for Social Mobility. Those belonging to the poor, marginalised and vulnerable sections of Society through benefiting from subsidised education have witnessed inter-generational mobility. Many of them have risen to become Civil Servants, Officials, Social Work professionals, Media personal and Academics.

The changing priorities of the State which tends to move towards privatisation and commercialisation of education has attempted at increasing fee driven by the logic of reducing subsidies towards the same. While the fee raise has been successful with many of the IITs and Universities in the recent past, it has received resistance at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU). Many IITs and Universities too have started mobilizing students and providing resistance.

With the arrival of BJP at the Centre, JNU has been subject to a defamation drive. The fake news and media affiliated to saffron wing, while on the one hand intends defame the University in the name of propagating that it is the ground for anti-national activities, on the other hand it also tries to argue of  the irrelevance of higher education. Pursuing of higher education is depicted as a wastage of public and tax payer’s money.

A modern society intending to create social and economic equity cannot do away with public education. While education plays an important role in creating social mobility and gaining access to employment, vocations and occupations – its role is much beyond that. Education creates an enlightened citizenry. The more the opportunities available for those from poor & marginalized sections, those in remote areas, women, Dalits, Adivasis to gain access to higher education – the better the movement it creates towards social progress.

Along with a commercial agenda, the communal agenda of the present regime also adds to its present drive. University is seen as a place where ideas and ideologies are discussed, debated, critiqued, intellectualised, written, argued and spoken. University provides spaces where not one but several ideologies may find a fertile ground. There could be Liberals, Marxists, Ambedkarites, Gandhians, Feminists, Environmentalists, Right leaning, Left learning or Centrists. Prevalence of followers of multiple ideological viewpoints can only strengthen the intellectual environment in a University. This needs to be enriched and celebrated.

However, a regime which is intolerant of other ideological viewpoints and sees other than itself as anti-nationals, University and in particular higher education is seen as spaces which corrupts. It is seen as places which creates anti-nationals who do not turn into Saffron Bhakts but become critics of the same. The strongest critics of the current regime in the recent past from the younger generation are the ones who have come from the most marginal sections of society. The current regime looks at this as a threat to its agenda of Hindu Rashtra. The lesser they get exposed to universal values and ideas, the lesser the blocks towards creating a theocratic state.

Due to its proximity with Ambanis, the current regime also intends to promote private universities such as Jio Institute, which has received the tag of Institute of excellence even before its start.

The misadventures by the current regime due to both commercial and communal agenda is leading to the current student unrest.

Public Education cannot be done away with without giving up on the need for Social Progress and Social Equity.

Author: T Navin is a Researcher and works with an NGO

Courtesy:countercurrents.org

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Only work, no pay: 40,000 teachers in K’taka not paid salaries since September

The teachers are getting the short end of the stick between the tussle of the Centre and the states

29 Nov 2019

teachers

The government school teachers in Bengaluru have not received their salaries since the month of September despite several requests, reports Deccan Herald. The number of the teachers whose salaries have been delayed is easily over 40,000.

Office bearers of the Karnataka Primary School Teachers’ Association said, “Salaries of teachers for all 204 educational blocks have not been released.”

Teachers, who are burdened with home loans and other expenses are approaching authorities but to no avail.

Arun Shahapur, member of the Legislative Council said, “Many teachers approached me with the issue. When we checked with the department, officials said that the delay is due to the switching process from Khajane 1 to Khajane 2 system for disbursal of salary funds. Whatever is the technical issue, the department must release salaries for teachers on time.”

Shahapur added that the problem of salaries is common for teachers hired under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) and Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan schemes, but for the last few months, even the teachers hired directly by the department seem to be suffering. The government disburses salaries to regular teachers through the respective zilla and taluk panchayats, the teachers from the SSA get their dues from the SSA state project office.

Officials from the department of public instruction have said that the delay is due to the pending approval for release of salary funds. “The estimation of salaries sent from districts needs to get a vote on account three months before. Due to several technical issues, including wrong estimation sent from districts the process was delayed,”

As per the SSA scheme, the Human Resources Department provides Rs. 15,000 to per teacher, with the state having to pay the rest to bring it on par with other teachers. The funding changes every year depending on the progress of the scheme and new proposals.

Speaking to The Times of India, an office bearer said, “The Centre releases its share in three installment and it has been irregular. The state refuses to disburse the salary until it gets the Centre’s share. But, the teachers are the ones suffering.”

S R Umashankar, Prinicipal Secretary of the Primary and Secondary Education department said that the deputy directors would gather on Saturday to discuss the issue.

This isn’t the first time that teachers have been short-changed in the fight between the Centre and the State.

Earlier this month, the Meghalaya Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan Association (MSSAA) threatened to agitate if the state government failed to release funds for their pending salaries for three months before November 18. In a letter to the Principal Secretary of the Education Department, the MSSAA President Aristotle Rymbai said that 5814 lower primary teachers and 6727 upper primary teachers working under the Samagra Shiksha were facing hardships because of the delayed in salary.

In Chandigarh, in the same month, 200 computer teachers, 87 counsellors and other contractual employees in 114 government schools protested saying they are still awaiting the salary for the month of October.

In July, the employees of Patna University too were dealt the same card. It is still unsure if they will get their salaries for the next six months. Sources say that the procedure of payment of salaries through treasury may take a long time because a mandatory bar-code of only 270 of the 1000 employees has been created in the past three months. 

The former member of Bihar’s Public Service Commission and the former head of the English Department PU, Shiv Jatan Thakur slammed the government’s decision to pay through treasury and not the university fund as established under the Section 45 of the Patna University Act, 1975.

In October, teachers of the Jai Narayan Vyas University in Jodhpur demonstrated outside the Vice Chancellor’s office because of the failure of the university to disburse salaries owing to the delay in the issuance of the block grant by the state government.

Earlier this year, the teacher associations in Bihar like the Bihar Rajyapatrit Shikshak Mahasangh, Bihar Rajya Prarambhik Shikshak Sangh and Parivartankari Prarambhik Shikshak Sangh, threated to vote NOTA in the then parliamentary elections over the delay in payment of salaries of over three lakh teachers.

Teachers in West Bengal threatened to cease work over the government’s decision to hike salaries according to the seventh central pay commission starting 2020 instead of 2019. Their fight for the hike has been going on since 2016, but has always fallen on deaf ears.

It is pathetic to see the apathy of the state and central government towards the teachers who are engaged in such a noble profession and depriving them of their right to live with dignity under Article 21 of the Constitution.


Also Read

Thousands of teachers to cease work in West Bengal colleges today
Diwali likely to remain dark for contractual workers in Bihar

Only work, no pay: 40,000 teachers in K’taka not paid salaries since September

The teachers are getting the short end of the stick between the tussle of the Centre and the states

teachers

The government school teachers in Bengaluru have not received their salaries since the month of September despite several requests, reports Deccan Herald. The number of the teachers whose salaries have been delayed is easily over 40,000.

Office bearers of the Karnataka Primary School Teachers’ Association said, “Salaries of teachers for all 204 educational blocks have not been released.”

Teachers, who are burdened with home loans and other expenses are approaching authorities but to no avail.

Arun Shahapur, member of the Legislative Council said, “Many teachers approached me with the issue. When we checked with the department, officials said that the delay is due to the switching process from Khajane 1 to Khajane 2 system for disbursal of salary funds. Whatever is the technical issue, the department must release salaries for teachers on time.”

Shahapur added that the problem of salaries is common for teachers hired under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) and Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan schemes, but for the last few months, even the teachers hired directly by the department seem to be suffering. The government disburses salaries to regular teachers through the respective zilla and taluk panchayats, the teachers from the SSA get their dues from the SSA state project office.

Officials from the department of public instruction have said that the delay is due to the pending approval for release of salary funds. “The estimation of salaries sent from districts needs to get a vote on account three months before. Due to several technical issues, including wrong estimation sent from districts the process was delayed,”

As per the SSA scheme, the Human Resources Department provides Rs. 15,000 to per teacher, with the state having to pay the rest to bring it on par with other teachers. The funding changes every year depending on the progress of the scheme and new proposals.

Speaking to The Times of India, an office bearer said, “The Centre releases its share in three installment and it has been irregular. The state refuses to disburse the salary until it gets the Centre’s share. But, the teachers are the ones suffering.”

S R Umashankar, Prinicipal Secretary of the Primary and Secondary Education department said that the deputy directors would gather on Saturday to discuss the issue.

This isn’t the first time that teachers have been short-changed in the fight between the Centre and the State.

Earlier this month, the Meghalaya Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan Association (MSSAA) threatened to agitate if the state government failed to release funds for their pending salaries for three months before November 18. In a letter to the Principal Secretary of the Education Department, the MSSAA President Aristotle Rymbai said that 5814 lower primary teachers and 6727 upper primary teachers working under the Samagra Shiksha were facing hardships because of the delayed in salary.

In Chandigarh, in the same month, 200 computer teachers, 87 counsellors and other contractual employees in 114 government schools protested saying they are still awaiting the salary for the month of October.

In July, the employees of Patna University too were dealt the same card. It is still unsure if they will get their salaries for the next six months. Sources say that the procedure of payment of salaries through treasury may take a long time because a mandatory bar-code of only 270 of the 1000 employees has been created in the past three months. 

The former member of Bihar’s Public Service Commission and the former head of the English Department PU, Shiv Jatan Thakur slammed the government’s decision to pay through treasury and not the university fund as established under the Section 45 of the Patna University Act, 1975.

In October, teachers of the Jai Narayan Vyas University in Jodhpur demonstrated outside the Vice Chancellor’s office because of the failure of the university to disburse salaries owing to the delay in the issuance of the block grant by the state government.

Earlier this year, the teacher associations in Bihar like the Bihar Rajyapatrit Shikshak Mahasangh, Bihar Rajya Prarambhik Shikshak Sangh and Parivartankari Prarambhik Shikshak Sangh, threated to vote NOTA in the then parliamentary elections over the delay in payment of salaries of over three lakh teachers.

Teachers in West Bengal threatened to cease work over the government’s decision to hike salaries according to the seventh central pay commission starting 2020 instead of 2019. Their fight for the hike has been going on since 2016, but has always fallen on deaf ears.

It is pathetic to see the apathy of the state and central government towards the teachers who are engaged in such a noble profession and depriving them of their right to live with dignity under Article 21 of the Constitution.


Also Read

Thousands of teachers to cease work in West Bengal colleges today
Diwali likely to remain dark for contractual workers in Bihar

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75,000 student suicides between 2007 and 2016 in India!

Academic pressure, caste-based discrimination found to be major causes

28 Nov 2019

StudentsImage Courtesy: thepolicytimes.com

Several successive cases of student suicides, that have since been dubbed ‘institutional murder’, have been weighing on the nation’s collective conscience of late. Rohith Vemula, a 26-year-old PhD student killed himself in 2016 inside the campus of Hyderabad Central University.

More recently, on November 9 this year, Fatima Lathif, a first-year student persuing a master’s degree in humanities and development studies (integrated) in IIT Madras, committed suicide by hanging herself.

On May 22, Dr. Payal Tadvi, a 23 year old doctor hailing from a tribal community in Jalgaon allegedly committed suicide at her hostel in Mumbai’s prestigious Nair Hospital after being allegedly harassed by three seniors who would use casteist slurs against her.

On March 13, Muthukrishnan Jeevanandham AKA Rajini Krish, was found hanging from a ceiling in a friend’s room in Munirka, a locality that houses hundreds of students besides middle class families, in Delhi.

The numbers

These are just four names. In fact, more than 75,000 students that have taken their lives in the period between 2007 to 2016. India has the highest suicide rate, with over 38,000 students committing suicide since 2015, that’s about six students committing suicide every day due to academic failure, reported Business Insider.

A report by Indiaspend found that student suicides stood at 8,934 in 2015. In 2015, Maharashtra reported most student suicides of any state: 1,230 of 8,934 (14%) nationwide, followed by Tamil Nadu (955) and Chhattisgarh (625). Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu are among India’s most advanced states, and their high rate of suicides could reflect the pressures of economic growth.


(Source – Business Standard)

The National Crime Records Bureau has withheld information about suicides in India since after 2016.

Reasons for the growing numbers

It is common knowledge that one of the most common reasons for the spike in student suicides is the rising academic pressure they are faced with. Surveys and studies conducted by the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) and Christian Medical College (CMC) pointed out that failure in examinations alone caused 2,403 suicides in India in 2014. In the same year 45 students from Kota – India’s hub for IIT aspirants took their lives, the number having gone up 60% from the previous year.

This number soared to 2,646 in 2015 and abated a little, standing at 2,413 in 2016, The Quartz reported.

In 2018, nineteen students took their lives in Telangana after the release of intermediate examination results. Parents alleged discrepancies in evaluation, blaming the state board of Intermediate Education and the Telangana government who had outsourced the evaluation to a firm called Globarena.

Even premier institutes saw a spike in student suicides, with IIT Madras recording its fifth suicide in Fathima Lathif’s death this year.

The Tribune India reported that between 2008 and 2011, IITs, IIMs and National Institutes of Technology (NITs) together reported 26 student suicides; 16 of these at IITs alone at seven at NITs. Eighty percent IIT suicides in the last three years involve most students who are undergraduates (UGs). Causes of stress vary as an IIT Delhi student explains, "The first year is tough as you are getting to absorb the system where professors naturally demand performance from you. That’s the nature of IITs. The stress of scoring is the highest in the first two years. In the final year, peer pressure is at its worst as you face the fiercely competitive campus placements. Here top scorers are major gainers; hence the pressure on low scorers."


(Source – Tribune India)

However, academic pressure isn’t the only reason for the spike in student suicides. The Economic and Political Weekly (EPW) observes that many of the students admitted in institutes of higher learning are from marginalized castes and religious minorities – familiar names include Rohith Vemula, Payal Tadvi and Fathima Lathif among scores of others.

It is well known that students from marginalized groups making good use of the opportunities provided by reservation and quotas are frequently thought of as ‘taking a share of the pie’, not based on their merit, but on their caste or socio-economic background.

The study quoted by Bloomberg Quint reads, “Marginalised youth in institutions of higher education go through a lot of struggle to perform as compared to non-marginalised youth. In addition, they are constantly humiliated by the ‘others’ – colleagues, teachers, etc., all those who swear by ‘meritocracy’.”

However, it must be understood, that these students who are victims of ‘othering’, have to not only fight caste but fare better at academics to prove to be ‘at par’ with alleging discrimination. The fights of students from marginalized groups begins early, when they leave their comfortable circle, moving into a bigger institute for better studies. Not only do they have the pressure to adjust to the new environment and demonstrate their rightful admission in the course, but also face the lack of empathy from seniors which pushes them to the brink of isolation.

In May 2007, a committee formed by the Union Health and Welfare Ministry constituted a three member committee to probe the prevalence of caste discrimination in educational institutions, which the committee reported to be in the affirmative.

Yet, nobody took stock of the report and the country witnessed 23 Dalit students commit suicides between 2008 and 2016, all due to caste-based discrimination.

In 2008, Senthil Kumar, a student from the University of Hyderabad committed suicide after being discriminated on the basis of caste by his professor. IIT Roorkee’s Manish Kumar Guddolian jumped to his death from the fifth floor of his hostel in 2011 after he faced caste-based bullying for months. Rohith Vemula’s death shook the nation and one thought this would slow the spate of caste spurred suicides, but then Dr. Payal Tadvi and Fathima Lathif both ended their lives owing to the same menace.

Yet, it has become very difficult for most sections of the society to acknowledge to see the issue as it is. Covering it under the garb of ‘depression’, nobody wants to put blame on the factors and hostile social environment that triggers it.

Even the media, apart from sensationalizing the issue, has not helped much. After flashing suicide notes on TV and sharing them on social media, the media fails at pulling up the people responsible for the growing ‘institutional murders’ in India’s educational institutions.

Even worse, are the authorities in these institutions who even refuse to acknowledge their role, dismissing these incidents by sweeping them under the carpet. Fathima Lathif’s parents accused faculty members of harassing their daughter, forcing her to take the extreme step. So, who is to be held accountable?

Institutes have set up counseling and wellness centres, but Indiaspend reports that India in 2017 had only allocated 0.06% of its budget to mental health, even lower than Bangladesh which was as 0.44%. India faces an approximate 87% shortage of mental health professionals. In 2017, the country had 3,800 psychiatrists, 898 clinical psychologists, 850 psychiatric social workers and 1,500 psychiatric nurses. This meant only 3 psychologists per million people, rounding up to a shortage of 66,200 psychiatrists for the country.

India must make sure to do what it can to stop the loss of such bright young lives. Apart from easing academic pressure and giving psychiatric help, our first step towards controlling the menace must be sensitization. The caste issue in the majority of suicides in premier educations must be accepted. The assimilation of these oppressed children into the mainstream is the only way the country will be able to curbing this plague.

Related:

Islamophobia: What’s Common between Payal Tadvi and Fathima Latif

Death of Fathima Latheef a blatant case of discrimination and Islamophobia, say students

Abuse & Discrimination Blacken India’s Institutes of ‘Higher Learning’

My birth is my fatal accident, remembering Rohith Vemula’s last letter

 

75,000 student suicides between 2007 and 2016 in India!

Academic pressure, caste-based discrimination found to be major causes

StudentsImage Courtesy: thepolicytimes.com

Several successive cases of student suicides, that have since been dubbed ‘institutional murder’, have been weighing on the nation’s collective conscience of late. Rohith Vemula, a 26-year-old PhD student killed himself in 2016 inside the campus of Hyderabad Central University.

More recently, on November 9 this year, Fatima Lathif, a first-year student persuing a master’s degree in humanities and development studies (integrated) in IIT Madras, committed suicide by hanging herself.

On May 22, Dr. Payal Tadvi, a 23 year old doctor hailing from a tribal community in Jalgaon allegedly committed suicide at her hostel in Mumbai’s prestigious Nair Hospital after being allegedly harassed by three seniors who would use casteist slurs against her.

On March 13, Muthukrishnan Jeevanandham AKA Rajini Krish, was found hanging from a ceiling in a friend’s room in Munirka, a locality that houses hundreds of students besides middle class families, in Delhi.

The numbers

These are just four names. In fact, more than 75,000 students that have taken their lives in the period between 2007 to 2016. India has the highest suicide rate, with over 38,000 students committing suicide since 2015, that’s about six students committing suicide every day due to academic failure, reported Business Insider.

A report by Indiaspend found that student suicides stood at 8,934 in 2015. In 2015, Maharashtra reported most student suicides of any state: 1,230 of 8,934 (14%) nationwide, followed by Tamil Nadu (955) and Chhattisgarh (625). Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu are among India’s most advanced states, and their high rate of suicides could reflect the pressures of economic growth.