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Ideologies & Higher Education

Where did the left & right ideologies evolve?

1. The concepts of left and right originated in 1789 in pre-Revolutionary France.

2. The group of people sat on the right side of the president (the nobility and the clergy) supported conservative ideas, whereas the group on the left side of the president, (the bourgeoisie) urged and fought for change.

3. At present, world over the political parties are characterized as leftist, right-winged, centrist, etc.

4. Left supports socialism and right are associated with capitalism.

5. The left is liberal, pushes for change, supports state intervention, and focuses on social problems.

6. The right is conservative, supports hierarchy and private ownership, and dissociates itself from redistributive policies. 

How do ideologies impact educational institutions?

1. Ideologies can have a profound effect on transformations in higher education. 

2. An ideology dictates the operation of institutions of learning- state-supported or privatized, and nature of education - social good or a commercial service. 

3. When education is considered as a commercial service, it leads to a severe opportunity cost for students, especially the ones with underprivileged backgrounds.

4. They have to depend upon either subsidized public universities or non-elite private institutions for their educational needs.

What is the current situation in India?

1. There have been many developments in universities across the country.

2. Some of the best-ranked institutes have been declared as anti-national spaces by the right ideology.

3. The right ideology manifests in the form of excessive privatization in education.

4. Higher education is being seen as a commercial service with the focus on serving the interests of entrepreneurs and economy.

5. The public university has unintentionally become a hub of mostly underprivileged students of society. 

6. This leads to a situation of coercive inequality and robs underprivileged students of discursive opportunities.

7. This coercive inequality is also seen through sub-standard private higher education institutions, which have come up in past two decades.

8. This raises the of question whether education institutions qualify as a public good or a commercial good.

Why a middle path is necessary?

1. Recent trends in the private education sector highlight that the market does not solve all the issues.

2. Similarly, a subsidized higher-education system is not a sufficient condition for transformative education.

3. So, a middle path between economic and social poles, between technical and humanistic tendencies, between private and public, etc. are needed to address the issue of coercive inequality.

4. The protest by students of some of the higher educational institutions, mainly of public universities, are indicative of their independent and critical thinking.

5. Quality in private higher education through a transformative approach should be redefined through a transformative approach.

6. This can be done by improving knowledge, skills, critical thinking, etc. of the students and making them socially responsible.