To Study or to Not be Able to Study

On 9th December, 2015 the OccupyUGC protestors were lathi charged and water cannoned on their march to the Parliament. The students have been protesting in front of the UGC office in Delhi since 21st October, 2015 against the move to end the Non-NET fellowships for research students.  See

A protest is taking place in the heart of the capital to save what students believe is the future of higher education in the country. Their vigil in front of the University Grants Commission office has lasted more than two months but has received scant media attention, except when the Delhi Police brought down lathis and water cannons on the protesting students. The behaviour of the police with women students was nothing short of appalling. Faced with media indifference and public disinterest, a group named The Media Collective has created a video explaining the protest and reasons behind it: the manner in which India’s higher education system is on the verge of dramatic change, and why the issues raised by the OccupyUGC movement are of great importance.

On January 4, two days ago, the protest entered its 75th day. The vigil outside the UGC started was started by students from Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi University, Jamia Millia Islamia and Ambedkar University against the UGC’s decision to roll back the stipend due to all Central university MPhil and PhD scholars. The widespread indignation and angry protests led the HRD ministry to step in and stop the roll-back. However, the ministry also decided to set up a review committee to give these scholarships only to scholars with ‘merit’, ignoring their already established worth that comes with getting through a tough admission process. But as the video produced by The Media Collective) argues, this ‘review’ process is just the tip of the iceberg. Rather than a fundamental right available for all, education has become a commodity for sale, its quantity, quality and value decided by trade negotiators at the World Trade Organisation.

The students involved in OccupyUGC have staunchly opposed the fallout of these talks, which they say could result in the withdrawal of all government support to Central universities, and financial assistance which is a lifeline for thousands of scholars from varied socio-economic background. Since slogans  filled with acronym,' WTO, GATS,' etc.seemed to make little impact, the Collective presents this video as a crash course on the crucial issues at stake.

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