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FDI in education not feasible: SFI

SFI says allowing foreign universities and FDI in education would create a parallel system, reports Sutirtho Patranobis.
None | By Sutirtho Patranobis, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON JAN 23, 2007 09:32 PM IST

Allowing foreign universities and FDI in education would create a parallel higher education system at a high financial and social cost, the Students' Federation of India (SFI), CPIM's student arm, said on Tuesday.

Quoting from a consultation paper, prepared by the Department of Commerce, SFI said that the "consultation paper stipulates that adequate flexibility must be provided to such universities in setting syllabus, hiring teachers, screening students and setting fee levels."

The General Secretary of SFI KK Ragesh said that the student's body stands completely opposed to the move as the move is essentially aimed at producing Indian professionals for multinational companies and could dent the country's intellectual self-reliance.

Not allowing foreign universities and FDI in education was part of the memorandum that an SFI delegation submitted to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday. CPIM politburo member, Sitaram Yechury, led the delegation.

Among its demands was the implementation of quota in educational institutions including those in the private sector. "The true intention of the 93rd amendment to the Constitution was to ensure reservation in private institution. Additionally, the fulfillment of the SC/ST quota must be ensured since the total enrollment of SC/ST students I education still falls below the stipulated target," Ragesh said.

A legislation on Right to Education and a hike in allocation on education would be taken up at the next meeting of the National Development Council (NDC), Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had informed the delegation on Monday.

The delegation also demanded the setting up of a National Commission on Education to ensure equity, quality and quantity in a comprehensive manner in all areas. The last such Commission was set up in 1964. To this suggestion, Yechury said the Prime Minister would discuss the matter with HRD Minister Arjun Singh.

The SFI sought a central law to regulate fees and admission in private professional institutes, with Yechury saying that besides the Indian private institutions, FDI and foreign universities seeking to enter the country should be regulated.

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