Coronavirus reveals that in the capitalist world there is still no such thing as society.
Bella Ciao! Bella Ciao! A song which traces its origins to the struggles of working women (rice-weeders) in 19th-century Northern Italy, and which later became an anthem of anti-fascist struggles there, recently made a comeback on the streets of Rome.
Well, there was no mass gathering, obviously, but you could hear people’s voices sing not only Bella Ciao from windows and balconies but many other patriotic numbers, some newly-composed.
With the world’s eighth-largest economy under lockdown, people restricted to their homes and fatalities due to novel coronavirus already over 1,400, this collective singing was the Italian people’s way of finding a moment of joy in this time of anxiety. It “lifted their spirits” and became a unique way for them to declare solidarity with each other.
( Read the full story here : https://www.newsclick.in/Coronavirus-Crisis-Capitalist-Society-Public-Funded-Health-System)
Some of the stronger protests and forceful political debates in Sri Lanka are taking place in relation to student rights, university teachers pay, allocation of government expenditure on education and inequalities relating to the Government’s private university bill. University students have been on the boil over issues from militarisation of the universities, including compulsory military training for entering university students last year, to attempts to ban student unions. University teachers carried out strike action for months last year extracting promises of higher pay and input into educational policy which were not carried forward with the Budget, leading to a token strike on January 17th. I wrote an article on the neoliberalisation of university education in the Sunday Island on Jan 15th discussing the larger project at work with the backing of the World Bank and IMF. Kumar David has written an article in the Jan 22nd issue of the Sunday Island explaining the z-scores scandal – about the Advanced Level exam results which are used for university entrance – and its relationship to the protests against the private university bill. The Young Asia Television in their episode of Connections today has documented the recent protests including some interviews with student leaders and university teachers. The uteachers blog is an excellent resource to find more articles and presentations by academics involved in the recent protests and actions. Historically, the universities have been a hot bed of protest as well as social and political change in Sri Lanka, and those in solidarity with progressive forces struggling for social justice in Sri Lanka may want to follow the protest movement gaining ground in the universities.
I do not exaggerate. I am not being hasty. The writing is on the wall. What started as a glimmer in the eyes of the IIC-frequenting bureaucrat, the industrialist with profit-making dreams and the politician with an obscenely large government house in Lutyens’ Delhi is now a raging reality. Pick up any newspaper or magazine and check out the number of advertisements for private universities. Do a google search for the latest news reports on committees on higher education. If you have the time and patience, go through all the government documents on higher education in the past five years, almost neatly coinciding with the exit of Arjun Singh as Human Resources Minister and the entry of Kapil Sibal. Speaking of Mr. Sibal, if his cheerfully unapologetic blundering on the 2G scam is anything to go by, we should have an idea of the kind of subtle and layered approach he has in mind when he speaks of ‘reforming the education system.’
Continue reading It’s Here, The Privatisation of Higher Education In India
A rather animated debate is on among different sections of the Muslims as also among the civil and the uncivil society in India about the Madrasa, their importance, the role they play and the need to make them more modern, thereby converting them into institutes that are more relevant to the contemporary requirements of both the Muslims and the market. The former is openly stated while the latter is rarely articulated.
Before proceeding with an exploration of some of these concerns and to try to understand the trigger behind the proselytising zeal to modernise the madrasa, let us understand the institution of the madrasa itself. Continue reading Muslim Madrasa Modernisation