ALL INDIANS MUST BE EDUCATED - & DISTANCE EDUCATION HAS TO BE BOUNDARY LESS
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The importance of knowledge and learning has been recognized since the beginning of time. Plato wrote: “If a man neglects education, he walks lame to the end of his life.”
But it was really the Nobel winning economists that put the argument of education as investment. T.W. Schultz argued that investment in education explains growth and Gary Becker gave us the Human Capital Theory.
In a nutshell, the Human Capital Theory posits that investing in education has a payoff in terms of higher wages. Moreover, the theory and empirical estimates are backed up by current science, as explained by James Heckman.
Under circumstances , it is understandable that today every Indian must be educated .
Education has to reach every Indian , when he or she cannot reach the door of the University for his or her pre occupations, which may be for bread and butter .
Most surprisingly , it has been observed that the UGC is overstepping the law of the land and this needs to be immediately redressed ; for the interest of the Nation.
Clause (5) of Article 15 of the Constitution read as follows:-
Nothing in this article or in sub – clause (g) of clause (1) of article 19 shall prevent the State from making any special provision, by law, for the advancement of any socially and educationally backward classes of citizens or for the Scheduled Castes or the Scheduled Tribes in so far as such special provisions relate to their admission to educational institutions including private educational institutions, whether aided or unaided by the State, other than the minority educational institutions.
The constitutional validity of clause (5) of Article 15 of the Constitution insofar as it enables the State to make special provisions relating to admission to educational institutions of the State and educational institution aided by the State was considered by a Constitution Bench of this Court in Ashoka Kumar Thakur v. Union of India & Ors. [(2008) 6 SCC 1] and the Constitution Bench held in the aforesaid case that clause (5) of Article 15 is valid and does not violate the “basic structure” of the Constitution.
Some persons of the UGC for obvious reasons, have started inappropriately quoting a Supreme Court judgment - (Prof Yashpal’s case) where the Supreme Court has never pronounced any judgment debarring any other University from conducting distance education where its Statue has empowered such and which has been approved by the UGC as well as by the Open University Act at that point of time.
It is noteworthy to observe – that the UGC is trying too hard to remake the judgment itself of the Hon’ble Supreme Court. While Supreme Court in WP (Civi) No 19 of 2004 in Prof. Yashpal and Anr vs State of Chhattisgarh & Ors the instant judgment in Para 41 – has only referred the view of the discussion of Ld Advocate Dhawan, UGC has most high handedly asked Universities, which are even having their Acts permitting them for having jurisdiction outside the State, to stop their operation. The relevant Para of the said Judgment on which UGC is shooting off letters are-
Para No 41 – wherein it was observed that –
Dr. Dhawan has also drawn the attention of the Court to certain other provisions of the Act which have effect outside the State of Chhattisgarh and thereby give the State enactment an extra territorial operation. Section 2(f) of the amended Act defines ‘off – campus centre’ which means a centre of the University established by it outside the main campus (within or outside the State) operated and maintained as its constituent unit having the university’s complement of facilities, faculty and staff. Section 2(g) defines “off – shore campus “ and it means a campus of the university established by it outside the country, operated and maintained as its constituents unit, having the university’s complement of facilities, faculty and staff. Section 3(7) says that the object of the University shall be to establish main campus in Chhattisgarh and to have the study centres at different places in India and other countries. In view of Article 245 (1) of the Constitution, Parliament alone is competent to make laws for the whole or any part of the territory of India and the legislature of a State may take laws for the whole or any part of the State. The impugned Act which specifically makes a provision enabling a University to have an off – campus centre outside the State is clearly beyond the legislative competence of the Chhattisgarh legislature.
When the citizens are busy to earn a square meal a day , it is duty of the Government to ensure that Education reaches each and every household in a manner which is appropriate to each and every situation .
Hence , all Universities which were having distance education should be again allowed to have distance education and the jurisdiction of such University must be read with the parental Act or with amendments made thereof .
By restricting Universities from reaching out to the people , today the matrix of education has stooped to an all time low . People are facing genuine problems across India .All Universities are not having the same courses or medium of instruction, this is hurting the most For example a person stationed in New Delhi for a Job cannot do a course on Rabindranath Tagore from Rabindra Bharati University today ;
Similarly a Tamilian who is stationed in North East India cannot upgrade himself or herself with a newer and effective course from an University in Tamil Nadu offering a a particular course .This senseless act of UGC is causing a Quality fall in Human value !
While in UK , Canada , USA and other nations are having distance education in helping the Community , in India we are finding that the UGCis trying hard to see that majority of Indians are not graduate !!! This is a deep rooted conspiracy
Apex Court has never put a blanket ban on “Open University and Distance Education” – nor this phrase has ever been referred to by any the Hon’ble Apex Court in the said judgment as it is a completely different subject matter.
Its time now to act .
Let the people of India from all over India sign this Petition addressed to the Hon'ble Prime Minister of India for his gracious intervention and immediate action .
Dr Gautam Ghosh
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