Demanded Job Security and ‘Fee’ Cut
The Third State Engineering Students' Convention was held today, the 1st of November at Dinesh Majumdar Bhavan Kolkata. Attended by students from government and private engineering colleges from all over the state the convention addressed key issues facing technical students today and the student community at large.
Engineering degrees being traditionally percieved as stepping stones to high-paying jobs in Indian society, are in high demand. The private sector has made good business out of this. The Indian government has continually withdrawn from its responsibility in providing equitable access to education. Nowhere has it so brazenly forsaken its role as in the technical education sector. Almost 91% of Engineering Institutions in India are privately owned and run. Absurdly high tution fees, uncertainty of placements and consequently burdensome student loans haunt these halls of technology. Interestingly while private engineering colleges have mushroomed exponentially increasing the yearly intake, the government has taken no adequate steps to create jobs to absorb the output. The tragic saga of jobless growth has left many teary eyed in technical campuses across the country. It is now quite evident that the economic crisis is a lame excuse, even if it hadn't occurred the government's industrial policy would have failed miserably in generating recruitment on such large scales.
Students studying at these campuses are also at the mercy of their college authorities. Private managements exploit their students' while stamping out the smallest hunch of protest using threats of targeted victimisation. While the Left government in Bengal had at least maintained a cap on tuition fees and ensured that the private colleges were under the umbrella of a state university, the current government has almost imperceptibly removed this control. 3 private university bills have been passed in this state itself over the last two and a half years giving the management further free hand over these students' futures.
The realities of organising among Engineering students were discussed. Among the speakers were ex-minister of the state, Debesh Das, and Nilanjan Sengupta and Anadi Basu from the FOSET (Forum of Scientists Engineers and Technologists). Both spoke in depth on national self dependance in Science and Technology. Students from different campuses came forward with their reports and actively took part in the discussion.
The engineering students' have successfully organised their convention, forging strong bonds among technical campuses based on a clear understanding of the privatisation and commercialisation of education tailored to the needs of the business class, the consequent exploitation of students and the denial of opportunities to the many who cannot even afford access. This unity and clarity will pave the path for greater struggles in the days to come.
1st November 2014