AN OPEN LETTER TO HON'BLE PRIME MINISTER OF INDIA
Dear Dr. Manmohan Singh,
I write this letter on behalf of all those students who are being cheated each day, their dreams shattered, their aspirations curtailed their careers and lives ruined. On behalf of all those parents, who have invested all their savings, mortgaged homes, sold properties to ensure best possible education for their children? I write on behalf of the aspiring youth, the demographic dividend of India.
"I am what I am because of education" you said. Like most of us, you were born into a family of modest means, in a far away village of Gah(now in Pakistan), a village with no electricity, school, hospital or drinking water, you believed that your education would take you far. You invested in yourself and the system ena- bled your dreams to come true.
Imagine Mr. Prime Minister - the college you had attended, which promised a masters degree, was fake? Imagine, it was one of those degree/diploma mills that came into being to exploit vulnerable students. Sir, if that was the case, your successes at the Cambridge, the Oxford, the UN etc., would have been a pipe dream. You would not have been the Prime Minister of India! And we would have never known about you. Sir, in the days when you studied, there was an honest system that protected you. Not any more.
Sir, today, Fake degrees are up for sale, openly and publicly. Students, gullible, vulnerable and ignorant are losing on their careers, their lives. Just from one institute alone -students have been protesting - in Indore, Bangalore, Pune and closer home at Gurgaon. Students are left to approach courts, because the governance failed them. A country which protects a Rs.1000 financial investment vide a legal document called Prospectus and a regulator like SEBI, is unable to protect a student who invested Rs. 5 to 25 lacs and spent 2 to 5 years of their life.
We have cheats and fraudsters having a free run - fully confident of the inability of the administration. Question them and they openly call UGC and AICTE as full of bribe seeking corrupt officials, and refuse to seek any recognition. The fact that you were also the UGC chairman in 1991 when they chose not to seek recognition speaks out. The entire education system has been condemned to ignominy. The few honest officers at UGC and AICTE are left to defend themselves, as the leadership dithers, yet again.
Sir, What have you given back to the education system that made you? What have you done to protect that vulnerable student, the parent? What have you done to ensure that dreams and aspirations of millions of young India are not ruined by a few rampaging institutes? Many of your parliamentary colleagues with heavy investments in education prefer and ensure a status quo. The result- fake, unrecognized, profiteering, greedy institutes thrive, in every nook and corner of India.
We have a judicial system that lacks empathy to larger issues and drags cases for years together. An administration that is more efficient when acting against student interests. Look at the adeptness with which DOT implemented a court order on removing educational links. Sir, we have a system that wears and tires us out, challenges our stamina, mocks us and laughs at us.
Isn't it time for the administration to act? File FIRs in different police stations against institutions that cheat, that promise grossly illegal degrees? Let loose the law enforcement, arrest them, file multiple cases in each place where they have any base. Ensure judicial expediency to avoid delays, from giving contradicting judgments. I know that education is a state subject, but can you have some firmness at least in the Congress ruled states? Can you make life difficult for all those who ruin the careers and lives of students?
Sir, the student community is looking to you. They are being bullied, harassed, and ruined. They are fighting those that are powerful, rich, and with establishment on their side. You have achieved all your dreams because you believed in education. If you cannot ensure honest education to the young aspiring India, it is time you give up that responsibility to someone who understands what education means to this generation.
Sir, Stand up for the aspiring youth of India.
Maheshwer Peri is the publisher of careers360, a higher education and careers magazine and portal. Recently, of the 73 urls blocked by the Gwalior court, 51 links had content from www.careers360.com