CPI(M) faces backlash for foreign university proposal; SFI objects

The Student Federation of India (SFI), affiliated with the CPI(M), has strongly criticised one of the most ambitious proposals outlined in the state budget presented a day ago – the establishment of foreign university campuses in Kerala.

| Updated: 07 February, 2024 8:10 pm IST

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Student Federation of India (SFI), affiliated with the CPI(M), has strongly criticised one of the most ambitious proposals outlined in the state budget presented a day ago – the establishment of foreign university campuses in Kerala. This move, previously opposed vehemently by Left parties in Kerala, has sparked controversy within the CPI(M)-led LDF government.

In the budget speech delivered by Finance Minister KN Balagopal on February 6, the proposal to set up foreign university campuses was highlighted. Ironically, the CPI(M) had adamantly opposed the entry of foreign universities into the state a decade ago, consistently reiterating its stance whenever the opposition parties, Congress and BJP, attempted to implement such measures during their tenures at the state and central levels.

The SFI’s firm opposition to the proposal was made apparent when K Anushree, the state president of SFI, stated that they are fundamentally against the establishment of foreign university campuses in Kerala. Anushree further indicated that they would engage in discussions with relevant government officials regarding the budget announcement.

“We are of the opinion that foreign university campuses should not be allowed in the state. We have raised our concerns with the budget proposal and will meet the government officials concerned on the matter”, Anushree told The New Indian.

The CPI(M) had previously staunchly opposed the opening up of the higher education sector to the private sector, particularly the entry of foreign universities into the state. The party had organised violent protests and demonstrations during the Congress regime in the state. In 2016, former diplomat TP Sreenivasan was attacked by an SFI leader in public, accusing him of commercialising the education sector.

Higher Education Minister R Bindu defended the proposal, emphasising Kerala’s need to remain competitive with other states attracting foreign universities. She highlighted that Kerala cannot ignore such reforms, especially considering the directives of the University Grants Commission (UGC).

Some academics believe that the entry of foreign universities could benefit students seeking world-class education within India. However, former Vice Chairman of the Kerala State Higher Education Council (KSHEC), TP Sreenivasan, noted that the scenario would have been different if his proposal from 15 years ago had been implemented.

“The exodus of students cannot be prevented as it has become a norm for them to go abroad not only for studies but eventually to settle down overseas,” Sreenivasan said.

Meanwhile, the CPI(M) central leadership has taken note of the controversy and plans to consult with the state party leadership on the matter.

Also Read Story

INTERVIEW| Don’t preach me…Karti Chidambaram loses temper on Chinese bribery row, Rameswaram visit

INTERVIEW| I am a proud atheist; Udhaynidhi & I free to follow atheism: Kanimozhi

GROUND REPORT| BJP favored to sweep Haridwar in Uttarakhand elections

Pilibhit Voting: Don’t Know who’s Jitin Prasad, We Know Only Modi