CHENNAI: Educationists on Thursday voiced concern over the central government’s move to open up education commercially as a tradable service under World Trade Organisation’s General Agreement on Trade in Services (WTO-GATS).

The move will enable educational traders from 160-member nations of the WTO to establish colleges, universities and other institutions in the country as commercial ventures.

During the seminar on ‘Challenges Facing Higher Education’ in Chennai, educationists opposed the move stating that bringing educational services under GATS would lead to complete privatisation and extinction of government-funded institutions.

Educationists like Anil Sadgopal (former dean, faculty of education, Delhi University) said this would lead to commercialisation of education and make students consumers of corporates who will be the “service providers” of education in the future.

They also took up the issue of drafting of the new education policy for higher education.

They pointed out that aspects such as governance, infrastructure and monetary issues were given top priority in these policy discussions, instead of focussing on the students. This brings in social inequality and lack of uniform accessibility to education among masses, according to them.

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