Conversion of Parliamentarism to

Social Fascism:

An Indian Experience


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Education in "Left" Rule in West Bengal

Education is the privilege of the moneyed people under the ‘Left’ Front. Upto March 2000 the number of primary schools was 52,385 in West Bengal. According to a government report for1999 for bringing all the probable students under primary schooling, West Bengal needed 58,261 primary schools. But, this has not materialised and as a result about 50%, or even less than that number of primary schools are in existence for providing primary education.180 In West Bengal the literacy rate in 1991-92 was 57.72% — a little better than all India level and it was highlighted by the Left Front Govt.

The SFI leadership in its Draft for the national Conference suggested deletion of socialism in favour of the words "People’s Democratic transformation." The draft also stated that the SFI was not totally opposed to private enterprise in education.

(Telegraph, 22 Feb. 2003)

However, the rate of increase in literacy in 1981-91 in India as a whole was recorded at 19.6%, while in this decade that rate for West Bengal stood at 18.7%. It is a fact that literacy rate increased in West Bengal from 33.2% in 1971 to 40.94% in 1981, but by this time, West Bengal’s position slid down to the 9th position from the 6th, in respect of India as a whole.

The recent survey conducted jointly by the Indian Statistical Institute and State Council of Educational Research And Training highlighted the fact that students from the SCs and STs fare worse than high caste students at the primary levels and this trend is most likely to continue in future in West Bengal.181

Most of all there has been a mushroom growth of English medium schools in West Bengal in the "Left" Front period which puts to shame even the earlier Congress governments. The Front cries too much on the liberating force of education but in its rule the number of drop-out students of the age group between 11 and 14 is more that 48% of the national level.182 Aggrieved teachers belonging to the Bengal Primary Teachers’ Association, an organization of the pro-CPM teachers, has recently complained to the C.M about the squalid state of primary education in West Bengal. It wrote in the letter to the C.M. "There are 2000 villages in the state which do not have primary schools, 55 years after independence". Further it added that, "Leave alone ensuring free and compulsory education to all children up to class VIII, the state school education department has not yet been able to do this for all children upto class IV."183 Already post-school level education fees have been increased manifold, dashing the hopes of many a poor student for higher education. Private players have already made substantial inroads into the educational sector of West Bengal. Obviously the Marxist "government has abandoned the earlier slogans of free education facilities for higher education, etc. for the deprived sections. It has now come round to the view that the earlier policy of education subsidies is a nuisance when teachers are becoming increasingly restive about irregular payment of salaries.

Education For The Rich

There are other unflattering revelations : of the 2.6 million children admitted to class I, almost half drop out in class II. The constitutional declaration of compulsory education upto class VIII is an illusion in West Bengal.(The Statesman, 27 May 2003)

Poverty and a tendency to engage children in petty jobs are some of the reasons why West Bengal ranks high among the number of primary school drop-outs, stated a study.(Hindustan Times, March 26, 2003)

The scheme of contract service-based teachers’ appointment for a pittance has now been extended from college to schools. On 1st June 22, 2003 Mr. Anil Biswas state secretary of the CPM clearly declared, "As per the advertisement that has been given by the School Service Commission alongside the general recruitment, some contract-based recruitments too will be made."(Ananda Bazar Patrika, 2 June. 2003)

At the schools meant for small children the "Left" Front government has already started recruiting teachers on a contract basis [Ibid]. In a back-gear movement the CPM state-secretary has now signalled, "introducing tuition and other school fees at the school level" The party education czar in Bengal said, "We are trying to figure out from which class of the school system, fees will be charged."(The Telegraph, 2 June 2003)

In December 2002 Writers’ Building announced that fee for MBBS students would be raised from Rs 12 to a whopping Rs 1,000 a month. And now by the end of May 2003 the "Left" Front has declared capitation fee for 15% MBBS seats on the lines of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.184 This way of mopping up resources will further lessen the chances of common people’s sons and daughters to become doctors through the so-long prevailing merit test for the very small number (250 at present) of seats in West Bengal.

Already the monthly-enhanced fees of Rs. 1000 crushed the dreams of many good students of middle and lower-middle class, not to speak of the poor families. To add to their woes, the sale of seats to the affluent sections’ wards as a "Left" Front policy will virtually thrust the economically unsound but meritorious students almost nowhere near snatching a seat in the medical colleges. Now for school leaving exam, college and university exams many students are even forced to move the courts for reassessment of faulty marks on the marksheets.

Degeneration of the Student Front

In the worst height of degeneration, the student wing of the CPI(M), the SFI now preaches the students to opt for career in bureaucracy as a "viable alternative". The SFI president Mr. Sudip Sengupta told the reporters "The academic environment of this state is such that almost all brilliant students leaving schools vouch for engineering and medical subjects. There is hardly any interest to serve the bureaucracy. We have asked the government to take steps to plug the loophole so that a majority of the top 20 school leaving students go in for the national level administrative and police services. Our organisation, too, would start spreading awareness on this matter."(The Statesman, 18 July, 2003)

It is like listening to the voice of a British official in the colonial period genuinely feeling the need for strengthening the state machinery with the best brains of the soil! What a slide-down from the SFI declared ideals of Marx and Lenin ! However, the positive side of such utterances is the self un-masking of the hyprocritical, satanic face of the SFI deceiving the students. Genuine Marxists have always appealed to the students to think about the socio-economic problems and the exploited masses and to uproot this system for ushering in a new society. But the SFI has now come out in the open to strengthen bureaucracy and the police department, the main props of the existing state in India.

The Capitation fee has been introduced in West Bengal for engineering and medical students after enhancing the fees many many times for all college and university level students. Education is now a profitable business under the L.F. rule. Putting an end to its traditional demand for "free and subsidised education at all levels". The CPI(M) student wing SFI now says that "it has no objection if the state government is required to hike fees in medical, engineering institutions, against the payment of a capitation fee". (The Telegraph, 30 May 2003)

The West Bengal CPM-led government’s degradation is all too evident in its double-dealing policy. When Rajiv Gandhi had put forth the concept of elite breeding Navodaya Vidyalaya, the CPM stood at the forefront against such boarding schools arguing that they would surely increase class division and discrimination. The same policy has now been endorsed by this double-faced government. A model school, the brainchild of Rajiv Gandhi, is now coming up first at Banipur in Habra of 24 Parganas (North). (Desh, a Bengali journal, 18 April, 2003, editorial) This hypocrisy was crystal clear when it consigned to the back burner all opposition to computerization, privatisation, entry of the MNCs, etc. and kept the door ajar for their smooth entry into West Bengal. Instead of widening the scope of education the fake Marxist-led government is now engaged in expanding the scope of education for the affluent section of society.


180. West Bengal, Anya Chokhe, Nagarik Manch, Kolkata 2002, p.53

181. Siksha, Sunanda Sanyal, In Majhi, (a Bengali journal) Kolkata, August-December 2002, p.109

182. Ananda Bazar Patrika, 15 April 2003

183 The Times of India, Kolkata, May 23, 2003

184. The Statesman, 28 May 2003

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