COIMBATORE: The members of State Platform for Common School System (SPCSS) and All India Forum for Right To Education (AIFRTE) demanded here on Saturday that the Union government must withdraw its offers on the education sector made to World Trade Organization (WTO) General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS).
“If the Union government signs the WTO-GATS agreement at its final meeting in Nairobi during December 15-18, the nation’s higher education system will be affected. Education is a right but WTO considers it a service and if the government signs the agreement our education policies will be changed completely,” said Ramesh Patnaik, organizing secretary of AIFRTE while speaking to media here in the city.
“Foreign direct investment will be allowed in the higher education sector and the countries will follow four modes of trade in education. Foreign universities would set up campuses and colleges here. Similarly professors and teachers would come here and collect service charges from institutions. Moreover the students would get correspondence education from a foreign supplier and would go to foreign countries for education and pay for the services,” he said.
Speaking to media, P B Prince Gajendra Babu, general secretary of SPCSS said, “Similar to the closure of primary schools we will also be forced to close higher education institutions if the agreements come in to force. The students will not get scholarship and the colleges will not get government grants.”
“The BJP government has already slashed Rs 4,000 crore from the education sector in its recent budget and if the Union government signs the agreement, aam admi (economically poor) will not be able to pursue higher education,” said Gajendra Babu.
These organizations plan to organise protests in every district across the country till the 10th ministerial meet of WTO in Nairobi during December 15-18. Quit India day will be observed on August 9 in all universities and higher educational institutions of all states that will demand “WTO! Quit our education. Education is not for sale”.