ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Higher Education

Deepak Nayyar in his article on ‘Globalisation: What Does It Mean for Higher Education?’ (December 15, 2007) has stressed the importance of the influence of commercialisation and globalisation on the education sector and alerted us to the grave dangers therein. I wish to add the following points to his analysis. Education has been placed on the bargaining table as well in the current and ongoing Doha round of negotiations with far-reaching consequences. The government of India has already submitted its “offers” on higher education to the General Agreement on Trade in Services council. These offers will become commitments on the part of India, if the negotiations are “successfully” concluded in about a year’s time. The forces of commercialisation consider the University Grants Commission as a stumbling block in their way and would like to replace it with the National Knowledge Commission-proposed Independent Regulatory Authority of Higher Education (IRAHE). The IRAHE will not be accountable to either the people or the state but will only kowtow to domestic and foreign corporate houses who trade in education.

Nayyar also says that tenure appointments, academic freedom and university autonomy are at the core of the concept of universities and opines that they often diminish the accountability of individuals to the institution and that of the institution to the society at large. I hope he is not against academic freedom, job security of teachers, and the autonomy of the university, all of which are very essential for the generation and dissemination of critical intellectual thought.

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