It is fairly predictable
Yes, it is! Any negative news is only news! Other than negative news is no news
This is the rule of the so many TV news channels! Why education only! It is also true for many of our other concerns! The Israeli Prime Minister is on a state visit to India, on a six-day visit. This is unprecedented, isn’t it so? Yet for a much -hyped TV news channel this is no news at all! So too, many other channels. Education, culture or social issues-these sectors do not make news.
So, what happens?
When some of the most crass education enterprises, yes, nowadays some of the most money-minded schools, these days the schools, mostly, the kids schools, then come the secondary schools with some fancy names, some even say unabashedly, schools that encourages this or that virtue, some even go for religious virtues verging on communal overtones, these schools have come out with some innovative advertisement strategies.
The plush school with much greenery and very rich classroom interiors, the school almost advertised itself as a five-star hotel, took time from a TV channel at prime time viewership just before the 6 o-clock news feature where we saw the school children themselves speak of their own school, the various material comforts they enjoy. Food, playgrounds and other recreational features and there were no teachers around to speak of the school’s other innovations. Nowadays the word International is added to schools. So, the most commercial minded school ventures are all International School!
So, we have come to a stage in profitable school enterprises where we recruit school children themselves as advertisement products. Is this the right way to go about explaining your educational values and philosophy? Also, the obsession with the tuition and coaching classes! Most national dailies carry the full front page advertisements. Why, our progress in education has come to mean only coaching and passing exams, the school children search anxiously the announcements of the CBSE and other certificate exam dates! This is the most vital education issue for the pupils and the teachers.
And alas! The commercialization of education, starting from kids to the adolescents, has also become now a multi-vocational activity. Now, the one Delhi-based secondary school, why there might be more such ones, we don’t know, has opened campuses in Delhi and Bangalore.
Also the school chains! The obsession with the CBSE schools outside the metropolitan cities is still worse and more nauseating. We can’t say more about this obsession. And pray God! Corruption in education the money and the education practices! The less said the better. So, we have to sympathize with the HRD minister. We don’t know how he is going to sort out the cobwebs in the education sector. Just now we read the HRD is abolishing the Deemed Universities. So, it took some 20 years or so, to create confusion in education and also to clear up the confusion over the much-maligned label, Deemed Universities, some 109 of them is now proposed to be abolished. What about the damage already done by these institutions? The many fake degrees already conferred. Much more fake acts are one by the founders of these fake one, often not publically mentionable names and reputations, yet they had a run of their lifetime’s dreams.
Here are uneducated and almost illiterate people who had taken on the most polite society and almost they called you names, all names and dared to confer dignity and respectability by an honorary doctorate and other titles.
The latest controversy over a honorary D Litt on the West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and the CM’s rather moving speech on the occasion is at least pardonable compared to what havoc they had caused in another state, namely Tamil Nadu, where hon. doctorate is almost mandatory for any Chief Minister, not even for the asking. Such bogus higher education rituals in the wake of the fake numbers of Deemed Universities have also led to the creation of fake Engineering Colleges which again in TN, now face the irony of lack of students.
We wonder whether the HRD minister has the time or the energy to tackle the higher education sector in the near future. Of course, it is not all darkness. If only some autonomy is restored in the universities, may be, some good might come. But then, the Chief Minister, the Governor and high dignitaries must treat their hono offices only as honorary and nothing more.
Let us hope for better days and mature wisdom in higher education.