Ruling CPI fresh drive for higher education in Kerala represents a watershed moment for the party (M)

Ruling CPI, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has presented a draught policy for Kerala development at the CPI(M) state’s convention in Kerala, which is now underway. The plan for considerable private investment in the state’s higher education sector is a highlight of the proposed program.

Vijayan is advocating for higher education privatization at a time when the CPI(M) in West Bengal is resisting the establishment of new schools under the PPP model.

Kerala, according to the report, must become a center for higher education. It asks for the creation of new higher education and excellence centers. Kerala’s higher education system now has a gross enrolment ratio of 37%. It should be increased to 50% in the next five years, according to the proposal. This goal necessitates the establishment of new higher education centers in Kerala. Strengthening current higher education centers, both intellectually and in terms of infrastructure; would not be enough, according to the draught strategy. It goes on to say that new large educational institutions should be built in the public, private, and cooperative sectors, and that such institutions should be built using the public-private partnership (PPP) model. The proposal does not address private universities, but it does state that the government; should have strict control over the higher education industry to ensure social justice.

The document would be debated at the conference, and any proposed revisions would be considered. It would be contested among the LDF’s allies before being formed into a policy and presented to the LDF government for implementation. According to CPI(M) state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, the policy is intended to be implemented.

The CPI(M), which was once a staunch opponent of professional education privatization, has gradually shifted over the last decade. It was seen as a shift in Kerala, where tiny families were prepared to invest in their children’s; professional education, as well as a growing middle-class aspiration. The CPI(M), which led violent protests against the cooperative sector’s first medical institution; went on to construct a professional education empire in Kerala. It was also discovered that several senior CPI(M) leaders’ children were enrolled in self-financing colleges.

The self-financing education business has risen rapidly over the previous two decades. According to data on higher education in Kerala, 69.38 percent of colleges in the state are currently self-financing. 165 of Kerala Technical University’s 177 engineering colleges are self-financing.

CPI(M) and its affiliates abandoned their hostile stance toward private capital once Vijayan took government; in 2016 and adopted a market-driven development agenda. Rather than paving the way for the administration; the Vijayan era saw the party following in the footsteps of the government. DYFI and SFI withdrew from anti-self-financing college protests. This shift coincided with the preceding CPI(M) regime’s approval of 49 new colleges, 34 of which were self-financing.

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