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Rediff.com  » Business » In Kolkata, MIT is taboo

In Kolkata, MIT is taboo

December 08, 2005 03:45 IST

Massachusetts Institute of Technology may not have a Kolkata address if the West Bengal government were to consult party colleagues.

For the Communist Party of India-Marxist, entry of any foreign university in India is a clear no-no.

But, it's not just because of the apparent dislike of the Communists for anything even remotely linked with the US, a capitalist country. 

Foreign universities are 'not suited to our social and cultural milieu' says CPI-M MP Nilotpat Basu.

"We cannot allow little educational enclaves in our countries," he told reporters on Wednesday. 

West Bengal Finance Minister Asim Dasgupta, an MIT alumnus, had announced last month that the MIT is eager to open a Kolkata chapter and tie up with leading institutions in the state.

The government had a preliminary round of discussions with the MIT and its representatives are likely to visit Kolkata by December end for further discussions. The university wants to open the Kolkata chapter as part of their India programme.  

But the CPI (M) is apparently not impressed with it, although Basu sought to defend the West Bengal government arguing that the proposal from the MIT was just about exchange programmes of academics.

The MP, however, scoffed at the suggestions that the CPI-M appeared to sound like the BJP in terms of its opposition to 'western influence' on Indian culture and society. 

"We are not against western influence. What we are trying to say is that foreign universities will not be under our control or subject to our procedures...they cannot understand the social structure and hierarchy...For instance, we are socially backward and our education system reflects that (reservation for socially backward)...Besides, there are many other issues like admission, syllabus, teaching methods etc," said Nilotpat Basu.  

He wouldn't take the argument that the poor, who cannot afford to study at the MIT today, could have an opportunity to study in such institutions of academic excellence if they were to come to India. 

Records show that the poor do not have access to higher education any way, said the CPI (M) MP.

It is only surplus education services that developed countries want to export and they cannot necessarily offer the same academic excellence.

"Before exporting their surplus, they should also remove barriers in the movement of our professionals in their countries."
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