New Delhi: Teachers and students from various universities of the national capital on Thursday took out a protest march from Mandi House to Jantar Mantar against the New Education Policy and demanded its withdrawal.
The issue of the Jawaharlal Nehru University's hostel fee hike also echoed during the march. JNU Students' Union president Aishe Ghosh participated in the march.
"What is happening in JNU is an attack on public education. It is also happening in other universities. We have received messages expressing solidarity with our cause from many students across the country and we are thankful to them," she said.
The march saw the presence of teachers and students from Delhi University, JNU, Jamia Millia Islamia, Ambedkar University and IGNOU, who rallied under the banner of the Federation of Central Universities Teachers' Associations (FEDCUTA).
Slogans were raised against the government and cries of 'Inquilab Zindabad' and 'Halla Bol' resonated through the protest.
D Raja of CPI, Subhashini Ali from CPI(M), Dilip Pandey (AAP) and Ashok Tanwar (Congress) were among those who participated and expressed their solidarity.
"Every organisation is crumbling under the present regime. They are attacking institutions. We have to unite and save institutions and our Constitution. We will save democracy and we will safeguard the right of education for our children. I congratulate the children who faced lathicharge and raised their voice," she added.
The NEP, presently awaiting cabinet approval, makes a mockery of public trust in higher education and research by removing all standards of quality and equity from public-funded institutions, the teachers' bodies said.
"It limits regulation to an Outcomes-based approach that will empower private corporate bodies (BoGs) to run universities and colleges on brazenly commercial lines, appoint teachers and govern their service conditions through fear or favour, deny any democratic participation of teachers and students in decision-making processes, hike students' fees at will and use online courses to expand enrolment," they said in a statement.
A precursor to the NEP can be clearly seen in the authoritarian fee hikes that have prompted massive unrest among students in JNU and IITs, they claimed.
Students, especially from the economically weaker and socially marginalised sections, like women, minorities, Dalits and tribals will be hit hardest by this disruptive policy framework as quality higher education and research will become unaffordable for these sections, said Professor Bhupendra Chaudhry of Maharja Agrasen College, who was present in the march.
The HRD Ministry and the Union Cabinet must take note of the intensifying disaffection among students and teachers and withdraw the NEP in its present form, the statement read.