SAHMAT convention on Debating II, 24 September 2005


A Convention on “Commercialisation of Higher Education: Social Responsibility versus Private Greed” was organised by SAHMAT and Democratic Teachers’ Front (Delhi University) here today. Sitaram Yechury, Prabhat Patnaik, Vijender Sharma, Sukhdeo Thorat, C.P. Chandrasekhar, Dinesh Abrol, Ashok Agarwal, Kamal Mitra Chenoy and Madhu Prasad presented their papers. Following statement was issued at the end of the Convention:

The Convention noted that as per the Supreme Court Judgment in Inamdar Case delivered on 12 August 2005 there could be no government seats which existed till now as free seats and the reservation policy of the government cannot be implemented in admissions to private unaided institutions. Further the private institutions were allowed to charge from students fees which could provide a reasonable surplus.  

The convention demanded that in order to undo the consequences of this Judgment the Union Government must amend the



Constitution and bring a new draft legislation in the winter session of the Parliament so that a new mechanism is in place before the next academic session. The Constitutional amendment must provide for social control in respect of admissions, fee structure and content of education.

The Convention further noted that the union government, particularly under the NDA regime, was consciously taking steps for the commercialization of higher education. These steps included decrease in the funding, permitting foreign universities for profit motives, starting private universities, relaxing the rules of giving deemed to be university status, autonomous colleges and stress on starting self financing courses in state funded institutions. The government had the option of not offering higher education for liberalization under WTO through the GATS, but it has offered to open up this sector without any safeguards and limitations. The Convention demanded that the government withdraws this offer.