Amid the skyrocketing fees and coaching institutes promising unbelievable 100 percent results, a group of educationists came together to shed light on the commercialization of education and the importance of affordable, good-quality education for the marginalized.
The city's Maharashtra College of Arts, Science, and Commerce, in collaboration with the Research Academy of Social Science (RASS), held a conference on Saturday to discuss the urgent need for equal opportunity in education for all.
Principal of Maharashtra College, Dr Sirajuddin Chougle pointed out that only 3% of the GDP is invested in education in India, while 13% goes towards defence. Pointing out the disparity in India, he said that the top 10% of the Indian population holds two thirds of the total income. Thus, less public sector investment and a lack of income are affecting the marginalised section’s prospects for education. Even a great leader like A. P. J. Abdul Kalam, who did not have a strong financial background, was able to study, become a scientist, and later go on to become President-all because of the scholarship and education that he received. That is the power of education, irrespective of financial background.
The keynote speaker, former Vice Chancellor of the University of Mumbai and former Rajya Sabha MP, Dr. Bhalchandra Mungekar, who was also a member of the Planning Commission, explained the types of privatisation and management of funds in the self-finance courses. He differentiated between privatisation and commercialization: "The latter is for solely profit-making. The skyrocketing fees at deemed universities and private universities demonstrate that education is limited to the "cream layer in society," he claims.
Professor Kazim Malik, from RASS, explained how the gap between education and poverty has widened since the pandemic hit the country and is increasing even more due to the privatisation and commercialisation of education.
The Chief Guest, Dr. M. H. Jawahirullah, an MLA of Tamil Nadu state who specially came to attend this conference, stressed the importance of the government-funded education system. The students of rural India benefited from government schools and were able to excel in various spheres. It is absolutely the duty of the state to provide education to the people of India. It is one of the basic rights which should be promoted and protected. "
Dean of the Faculty education At TISS (Tata Institute of Social Sciences), Dr. Disha Navani shared the importance of basiceducationamong the oppressed sections of society and the need to uplift them and bring them into the mainstream. "A proper change in the educational system can only take place when there are good educators, good infrastructure, and other facilities."