New Delhi: Academicians from various central and state universities across the country today said that the government is treating education as a "no-merit good" and is rolling out initiatives to encourage dominance of private players in the sector.
Teachers from various universities will observe a one-day cease-work and hunger strike tomorrow at Jantar Mantar here demanding rollback of the Choice Based Credit System (CBCS) and the Central Universities Bill, 2013.
Alleging that the government has a lackadaisical approach towards welfare measures for the teaching fraternity, academicians under the banner of All India Federation of University and College Teachers' Organisations (AIFUCTO) and Federation of Central University Teachers Association (FEDCUTA), said the strike would be conducted in various university campuses too.
While AIFUCTO is an apex body of state universities and college teachers' associations of India, FEDCUTA represents teachers' bodies of 39 Central universities.
"The government is rolling out new initiatives in the name of reforms in higher education but ultimately these are motives to encourage privatisation and attack autonomy of varsities," Nandita Narain, a DU professor said.
Echoing her views, professor of Medicine at Aligarh Muslim University, Hamid Ali said, "We have sent 32 representations to the HRD ministry in this regard but haven't managed to secure an appointment with (HRD Minister) Smriti Irani."
"The government is treating education as a 'no-merit good' and hence the funds are shrinking... So is the infrastructure and "reforms" are being rolled out which are an eye-wash for the academic fraternity," he added.
The teachers demanded that the government constitute the 7th Pay review committee of UGC, grant UGC pay scales to all categories of teachers, librarians and other academic staff, expedite promotions and filling of vacant posts to ensure students get access to inclusive quality higher education.
"Both CBCS as well as the Central Universities Bill are well planned measures to open higher education to profit oriented foreign universities and private players as per World Trade Organisation (WTO) stipulations," Secretary, AIFUCTO, Ashok Barman said.
"The lack of attention towards the demands of academicians and formulation of policies sans any dialogue with experts on subjects is contributing to degradation of education and research sector," Iqbal Singh Sandhu, professor at Government PG College, Faridabad, said.