Imphal, July 18,
North-East Forum for International Solidarity (NEFIS) activists today held a protest at Ministry of Human Resources Development (MHRD), GOI along with other organizations demanding immediate removal of Manipur University Vice Chancellor, A.P. Pandey, and scrapping of proposal to replace University Grants Commission (UGC) with Higher Education Commission of India (HECI). A delegation of NEFIS activists also met Principal Private Secretary, MHRD and submitted a memorandum addressed to Union Human Resource Development (HRD) Minister regarding the issues.
NEFIS also condemns the recent proposal to scrap UGC and replace it with HECI. The proposed act would ensure that political subservience becomes the basis for funding received by higher educational institutions. Also, the proposed HECI is tasked with promotion of financial autonomy in higher educational institutions, which would in effect bring in privatization in hitherto publicly funded universities. In areas such as North-East where already huge disparity exists in terms of lack of public educational institutions such proposals would expedite the launch of teaching shops and would mean debarring majority of North-East youth from higher education.
NEFIS delegation raised these issues with the Principal Private Secretary. The Secretary assured NEFIS delegation that it had received the earlier memorandum which was submitted by NEFIS and had already instituted an inquiry committee to probe the issue. However, NEFIS dissented as to the continuance of the V-C on his post, which would provide him ample space to influence the inquiry being conducted against him and demanded that he should be immediately sent on leave, till the inquiry is being conducted. The secretary also assured the delegation that the MU issue would be sorted out soon. The delegation also raised the issue of HECI with the Secretary and demanded that the proposal be scrapped in the interests of the youth of the country.
It should be known that NEFIS is conducting a signature campaign in Manipur and in several other areas of the country regarding these issues and has also resolved to intensify its movement in the coming days if its demands are not accepted by the Union HRD ministry soon.