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Don’t make higher education as a tradable service under GATS: Academics to government

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The Times of India |

CHENNAI: Educationists on Thursday voiced concern over the Centre’s move to offer education as a tradable service under the World Trade Organization’s General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS), stating that the higher education system would be compromised if the goveranment signed the agreement. The move will enable educational traders from 160-member nations of the WTO to establish colleges, universities and other institutions in the country as commercial ventures, they said.

Speaking at a national seminar, ‘Challenges Facing Higher Education’, organised by the State Platform for Common School System and Tamil Nadu Science Forum, Delhi University former dean, faculty of education, Anil Sadgopal said bringing educational services under GATS would lead to complete privatisation and extinction of government-funded institutions. This, he said, would lead to social injustice. “Education is being treated as a service and not as a constitutional right. With such commercialisation of education, students will no longer remain students and will be consumers of ‘education services’. Corporates will be ‘service providers’ and vice-chancellors may be considered as CEOs in the future,” Sadgopal said, appealing for a transformational education agenda for the country.  India will participate in the WTO-GATS meet being held in Nairobi from December 15 to 18.  “GATS is an alarming attack on our higher education system. There will be no place for critical thought or social justice. “It will start excluding children from lower classes, especially girls from education,” Sadgopal said. Kerala’s former education minister M A Baby said the GATS agreement does not allow any provision for India to ratify any regulations at a later stage. –  Courtesy


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