Disregarding SFI protest, CPM throws weight behind Budget plan to invite pvt, foreign varsities

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CPM State Secretary M V Govindan.

Kannur: A day after the Student Federation of India (SFI) opposed the Kerala government's plans to invite private and foreign universities to set up campuses in the state, CPM has unequivocally thrown its weight behind the Budget proposal.
CPM State Secretary M V Govindan on Wednesday said that there would be no change in the Budget proposals regarding allowing private and foreign universities into the state. “The party is not against private capital. As we are aiming for the creation of a knowledge economy, there is nothing wrong in private capital coming into the education sector,” he said and added that there should be government control over such institute's activities.

“The aim of the government is to reduce the number of students going abroad to study. There is no difference of opinion among ministers regarding the decision to allow private and foreign universities,” Govindan said. He said the party would speak to SFI regarding its objection.

K Anushree, SFI state president told the media that there was no need for foreign university campuses to be set up in Kerala. She also said private universities should follow norms set by the government. SFI would soon hold talks with the government on the Budget announcement, she added.

In Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala Higher Education Minister R Bindu said the State Government has taken no final decision to welcome foreign and private universities in the state and the Finance Minister just indicated about exploring it's possibilities in the recent budget.

"As far as the Finance Minister is concerned, he spoke about the financial aspects of such possibilities while presenting the budget. He announced that such possibilities will be explored...not that a final decision has been taken (in this regard)," Bindu said.

"When foreign universities are permitted in the state's higher education sector, several aspects, including whether they have any commercial interests or whether students are exploited, have to be examined. We can do anything after ensuring all these things," she said..

When reporters asked about SFI's opposition, Bindu said as a students' outfit, it is their responsibility to inform the government about their concerns and obtain an assurance from the authorities in this regard. 

She also declined to give a clear answer as to whether the Higher Education department was informed in advance about the remarks on foreign and private universities made by the FM in the budget.
(With PTI input)

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