Guest post by MAYA JOHN
Given the rampant social and economic inequalities in our society, education has been seen by majority of the common masses as a tool for moving up the social ladder. Their aspirations for higher segment jobs and status constitute the largest component of the growing demand for higher education.Nevertheless, the opinion of the dominant classes that the state cannot pay for the education of all has come to enjoy hegemonic status, resulting in the lack of adequate development of educational infrastructure to meet the rapidly growing demand.In response to the widening gap between the demand and supply for education, successive governments have pushed through measures that allow for greater penetration of private capital in higher education, and its corollary, the persistent decline in per capita government allocation of funds towards education. Consequently, private colleges and universities have mushroomed across the country. Likewise,the expansion of the open and distance learning (ODL) mode and mainstreaming of e-learning have been consistently projected by policy makers as credible alternative routes to accessing higher education when higher educational institutions (HEIs) are not within reasonable distance, or when students do not have the marks or financial condition to enroll in formal education.
Continue reading Online Education, the Latest Stage of Educational Apartheid: Maya John
Manali Shah (name changed on request), a 33-year-old software engineer working in the private sector, lost her savings of eight years in a day when her father, 65, underwent a liver transplant in a private hospital. “Not only did my savings go, I also had to borrow money from the family to foot the bill. The procedure and hospitalisation cost almost Rs 30 lakh, and we have to continue spending Rs 10,000 each month for medicines, follow-up consultations and diagnostics,” she says
Each round of chemotherapy and radiation costs her almost Rs 1 lakh, but she didn’t consider AIIMS because the radiotherapy machine there is booked for the next seven months. [The cost of one round of chemotherapy in AIIMS was just Rs 750/- at that time, hence the overbooking]. From a report in Hindustan Times, 20 October 2013
Doctor, heal thyself, was my initial reaction when I read the front page report in The Hindu that ‘Docs’ were opposing ‘negative’ portrayal by NCERT. The objection raised by them is that the class VII textbook, Social and Political Life II, contained “objectionable description ” of the medical profession. Or so you believe till you realize, by the time you are into the third paragraph of the report, that the issue is not at all about the negative portrayal of the medical profession as such but of its elite practitioners who are making a killing in elite private medical institutions and hospitals at the expense of the ordinary people.
So it is not doctors in general – those who work in trying conditions in government hospitals – who are raising the objection but the Indian Medical Association that professes to be “the only representative, national voluntary organisation of Doctors of Modern Scientific System of Medicine, which looks after the interest of doctors as well as the well being of the community at large”. The IMA says the news report, has written to the President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi “demanding immediate remedial action”. Continue reading IMA’s Promotion of Healthcare Privatization Through Insidious Attack on NCERT Textbook