Students from different parts of the country have been at the forefront of protesting against a regime and ideology that have eroded institutions of learning and research by starving them of funds, subverting reason and crushing dissent. Students and teachers are constantly being hounded with charges of being “anti-national” and “seditious”. Indeed, the purpose of education, and its process of questioning and debate is being sabotaged. Knowledge itself – the quest for knowledge and its growth – is the victim, along with the future of India which resides in the youth of the country.
After the historic protest marches of workers and farmers, students from across the country will march to Parliament on February 18th and the teachers will march in Defence of Higher Education on the 19th.
They will demand:
1) A nationwide fully state-funded and free Common Education System from KG to PG.
2) Use of at least 6% of the GDP and 10% of the central budget on education.
3) The Bhagat Singh National Employment Guarantee Act (BNEGA) to ensure guaranteed employment to all.
4) A halt to the communalisation of education.
5) Implementation of existing reservations and social justice in government and private institutions.
6) Release of all pending scholarships and more fellowships for research scholars from marginalised sections.
7) Protection of the federal character of education.
The Indian Writers Forum supports the students’ demands and expresses solidarity with their march to save education, democracy, and the India we want to live and learn in.