Over- schooling is killing students and teachers!

Bureaucratisation of school education had reached its limit in India.So too the  minds of students,teachers and parents in  the unshakeable government fixed school texts,exams etc.

The other day we  visited a well-established school in a district suburb.There was also a National Award won Headmaster in the car.When we wanted to visit the senior teachers in the school,the very gates were tightly  shut.The watchman,there were more than two or three, all  in forbidding uniform came and blocked the  car and told us the teachers were not inside.But when we protested they opened the gates. Teachers were all there right inside! The school buildings were in a row of barracks-like and the very teachers were frightened to  come near us,they  took time,got permission before they could say hello!

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Macualay Ghost still dominates Indian Education?

Yes,ever since I bought the hardcover edition of Akio Morita’s”Made in Japan”,way back in 1985 or so, I was drawn to Morita’s story.

I remember the day  when  the Janata party was in power in Delhi. I one day went to see the education minister Dr.P.C. Chundar. Now his name must be a mere memory for all in education but Chundar was a different man. He was a great scholar and writer and, as I know Bengali society well,  he was the typical bhadralok middle class intellectual who knows so much and yet he was unperturbed by the burden of office. He was perhaps the best qualified to occupy Shastri Bhavan and yet I am not sure what impact he made on the Indian education scene. Perhaps others who knew him well and worked with him can comment. The point is that he received me one day as if I was one more admirer or a favour seeker. But I was neither. Yet here was the Cabinet Minister at his residence pouring over some papers and he looked like a typical writer or one devoted to some academic research.He talked with me politely and listening to my outpourings of the many woes of the education sector.
I was at that point of time running a semi- residential rural  secondary school in my native village and it was famously named an International school.

I think, as I recall now, my school had already met with some problems, a mix of local and state politics. I was in a disillusioned mood. May be that might have been the reason I was impelled to call on the education minister. As he soon as he came to know of my education background, Santiniketan and Oxford he became more attentive and gave me a patient hearing. At times I noticed he was keenly also watching the many projects and programmes I was narrating about in my school. At that time the UN and Unesco were very much active and in the news and so we bought many of the Unesco model textbooks on teaching history and geography in problem countries like Israel and other such countries with border disputes and also history disputes as  was in Japan. Read More →

The trends and the tensions!

Jack Welch

Nearly 1 million engineering graduates and others  are now being employed in the IT industry in India. This is expected to go up fast, given the projections for the IT potential in the coming years. He says it is the small start-ups, by unknown names and faces in Bangalore that triggers growth! So also says Jack Welch, the legendary GE’s long time boss. In his latest book, “Winning” he says that it is the small start-ups in Shanghai or Bangalore that hold the clue to the future of the world’s wealth!

So, engineering education, trained manpower holds the key to India’s competitive advantage. to use a much hyped phrase! In Karnataka, this year, there are 60,097 CET engineering rank holders and 42,515 medical rank holders waiting (as on date)for the seats that are allotted or shared among the government and private quota,a complex evolutionary process, now almost a high powered religious cum mystical exercise of altruism and plain greed!

There are  26 medical, 37 dental and 115 engineering colleges across Karnataka. What is at stake is the wild dreams and hopes of so many highly motivated youngsters! The government is clearly caught up in a complex web of selfishness of powerful individuals and lobby leaders and also the government’s own commitment to ensure equity, again a complex process of accommodating the various social and caste permutations and combinations. The creamy layer among the BCs and OBcs  as well as other pressure groups had put the Dharam Singh government in a delicate stage of survival and performance! Read More →

H D Deve Gowda

When the current regime assumed office in Delhi with Deve Gowda at the helm, there was some noise about making education for all a reachable goal by 2000 AD.  Under Gujral, this goal seems to have receded to the background.  No one talks of education these days.

Education at any time is a boring subject, isn’t it?  At best we all talk of education only when it concerns us, the middle or upper middle classes.  The Delhi English language press may be making noises about education and that education is all about admissions into ‘public’ schools and the ‘campus’ college.

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Schools occupy the minds of parents, thinkers and governments as the very basis of a civilized society.  No country underrates the importance of educating their children.  There are advanced countries like the European nations and the USA where schooling evokes strong feelings of warmth and fierce criticisms.  Warmth as schools gives families and children that rare sense of identity and fulfillment.

Criticisms of schools are as fierce in these countries for good schools are rare, even if the material facilities are provided in abundance for it is rare to find schools that are dedicated to nurturing youngsters with a sense of mission and idealism.

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