SHEIKHUPURA: “Students must resist privatisation and commercialisation of education,” said Khalid Hamid, the newly-elected president of National Students Federation (NSF) on Thursday.
He was addressing the NSF Punjab convention held in Sheikhupura.
“Neo-liberal economic policies have made education inaccessible,” he said. Students must demand uniform and easily accessible education opportunities for all.”
Hamid said education was a fundamental right and not a privilege.
“We cannot accept that only those who can afford quality education should have access to it,” he said. “We must put an end to the class-based education system.”
Earlier, the new leadership of the NSF was elected.
A press release said Husnain Raza had been elected information secretary, Usman Chaudhry from Sargodha was elected senior vice president, Shumaila from Toba Tek Singh and Naseem Akhtar from Multan were elected vice presidents; Ali Raza from Sheikhupura general secretary; Muhammad Shehzad from Lahore and Shahzad Watoo from Pakpattan joint secretaries and Abdur Rehman from Faisalabad finance secretary.
The convention was attended by students of various public colleges and universities of the province.
Following the convention, a rally marched from Batti Chowk to Baldia Hall.
The students carried placards with slogans like ‘education for all, employment for all’, ‘restore students union’ and ‘raise education budget to 10 per cent of the GDP’.
They also chanted slogans, urging the chief minister to open a Waris Shah University in Sheikhupura, build a university in Jhang and open more colleges in Kasur, saying one degree college was not enough.
They criticised governments for what they called weak policies that had affected the quality and accessibility of education.
Addressing the rally, outgoing president of NSF Arfan Chaudhry highlighted achievements in reorganising left-wing students and hoped that the new leadership would continue reorganising at various levels.
He stressed there was a need to connect campus politics to working class politics.
“We are sons and daughters of workers and peasants and it is our duty to struggle for the working class,” he said.
“Student politics cannot work in a vacuum. It stems from the society. We cannot isolate ourselves from national and international politics,” he added.
“A left-wing students organisation has no purpose if it does not contribute towards building a mass working class movement,” he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 29th, 2014.