Sunday, February 07, 2010

Private sector ought not to mean private business in higher education

['Most self-financed colleges exploit the demand-supply gap' Business Standard - Sunday, Feb 07, 2010
It is in this dreary world of higher education in India that we have shining examples, such as St Xavier's College. It was founded by the Society of Jesus. Long before Shri Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, Dr S Radhakrishnan, Dr Zakir Hussain, Dr Humayun Kabir and my good friend Shri Kapil Sibal, there was an intrepid soul named Fr H Depelchin. Along with six Belgian Jesuits, he arrived in Kolkata and founded the St Xavier's College…  
I recognise and support the role of the private sector in higher education, but I am absolutely clear in my mind that the private sector in higher education ought not to mean private business in higher education. As far as I am aware, no great university in the world was established for the purpose of profit. I believe that some activities in a society must stand outside the world of profit and higher education, in my view, ranks first amongst such activities. For over 150 years, the Society of Jesus has done just that in Kolkata, in Chennai and in many other towns and cities. For that and for many other blessings that they brought to India, we thank them and we salute them. (Excerpts from Home Minister P Chidambaram's valedictory address at St Xavier’s College (Autonomous) in Kolkata on January 17, 2010)]

[UNIT 18 CIVIL SOCIETIES: SOCIAL MOVEMENTS, NGOs AND VOLUNTARY ACTIONQuick View The modern notion of voluntary action has its origins in Protestant ....]

[Andre Béteille…notes that possibly the only field in which Indians ‘show initiative in voluntary action’ is in religious matters… Religious activity, argues Béteille, ‘is one extensive and significant domain of social action in which (Indians) show genuine initiative, mutuality, and self-reliance’ (Indias Middle Class: New Forms of Urban Leisure, Consumption and Prosperity (Cities and the Urban Imperative)Christiane Brosius).]

The right academic view should rather be not to look at society as separate from religion or politics. The basic goodness of man in a civil society has the same source as his religious leanings. [TNM]

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