AISA STATEMENT AGAINST SLASHING OF INSPIRE-SHE SCHOLARSHIPS BY DST TO IISER AND PU STUDENTS!!

March 7, 2018 by No Comments

Chandigarh: STAND IN SOLIDARITY WITH IISER MOHALI AND PU STUDENTS MOVEMENT!! AISA condemns the slashing and discotinuity of INSPIRE-SHE(Innovation in Science Pursuit for Inspired Research – Scholarship for Higher Education) scholarship by the DST(Department of Science and Technology) for the students belonging to IISERs and PU. The issues, demands and agenda of IISER students are properly put up in the above attached charter of SRC-IISER, Mohali and other science & technology institutions This scholarship was instituted since 2008. It offers 10,000 scholarship worth Rs. 80,000 each year for basic and natural sciences students scoring among top 1% in class 12th, for students < 10,000 in IIT-JEE advanced exam and for students admitted in IISERs, NISERs and Centre for Basic Sciences for 5 years(Batchelors & Masters).

On the other hand, the IISERs were established in 2006 by the MHRD under the advice of the Scientific Advisory Council. Uptill, seven IISERs had been set up between 2006 and 2016 to focus on “both teaching and research in a totally integrated manner, with state of the art research and high quality education, … nurturing both curiosity and creativity”. The merit bars of eligiblity will hinder the actual research of students and is brahminically redefining the intelligence on the basis of marks or meritocracy.

The meritocracy or hoard of getting marks runs actually opposite to research. It forces students to rote subjects instead of developing concepts and cognising capacity. This will cage the mind and actual intelligence whereas research needs a free and independent mind instead of boundations or cage. Thus, fails the very agenda of IISERs and other science & technology institutions This cut in scholarships have also coupled with fee hikes etc.

Further, the Modi led BJP government since 2014 has made huge cuts in the funds for the flagship scholarship scheme offered by the DST. In April 2016, the DST restricted the number of INSPIRE scholarships awarded to BS-MS students at the IISERs to 585 from actual intake i.e. 1300 for 7 IISERs and hundreds of PU students combined To incorporate this arbitrary and vague amendments were made in eligiblity patterns in accordance with the norms. These norms are still mysterious and students are still decoding these norms. In 2018 Budget, a scheme called ‘Revitalising Infrastructure and Systems in Education’ (RISE) is launched, which is to be funded by the Higher Education Financing Agency (HEFA).

Under this, higher educational institutions will be funded through loans from the HEFA rather than through grants. The institutions will then have to raise their own income and pay back these loans. The government is making education a business hub and altering its role from regulator to facilitator for the free flowing of profits. Same is the scenario of TISS, where students are fighting against discontinuity of post-metric scholarships. A day before yesterday, JNU students saw increment of 300% in their hostels fees. Earlier, 250-300% hike in fees is made for IITs and NITs etc. So, the fund cuts in IISERs and other science and technology institutions are part of wider phenomenon of privatisation and commercialisation of education. At present nearly 90% of students are availing eduaction from private institutions.

This shows the actual standings of public sector in education. There are hardly any public institutes for many coarses like liberal arts etc. Watever welfare institutions have left are under severe attack and we are seeing complete victory of Neo-liberal economy over so-called ‘Mixed’ economy. Since 2013, there has been regular chain of students’ struggles. It’s good to see ISSER and PU joining this historic chain of students’ struggles and playing their part in making it broader and continuous challenging emerging fascism.

AISA appeal all the democratic sections of society to stand in support of the demands and struggle of the IISER and PU students. We also appeal to resist and fight this at every level understanding the broader design of commercialisation of education and surrendering of education to “corporate magnates” by making suffocating environment in public institutions for commercialisation.

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