Indian education is undergoing an unpredictable path. There are many versions of the new education policy(NEP). It is not a uniform view articulated by the government. Prof.Thorat, the former UGC Chairman has latest expressed a view. That seems to be at the very heart of education policy-making.
He says that equity in education is very critical. Today there is no equity, rather gross inequity marks our education system. Instead of idealism, it is a gross money-making, profit-seeking instinct that drives the very education activities, the whole country is caught up in greedy education outfits you can call by whatever name you may call.
The everyday morning newspapers carry full-page front page ads that scream like anything for taking up new training skills to pass the coveted so-called first-class services, IAS, IPS and IRS, and whatever you. Have in your imagination or anxiety you might have as a young man or woman.
No one stops to pause whether the whole future of the country depends upon the thousand and odd youngsters government jobs!
This is the greatest tragedy that has befallen the very future of the country and the people.And the tragedy upon the tragedy is that lately the Indian polity, has fallen upon some other misfortunes.
First, we are told that about fifty percent of those who pass these coveted exams after shelling out a near fortune of hard cash to get the IAS training, some fifty and off a percentage of very bright youngsters, who studied medicine and engineering, the other two mainstreams that command much premium, they opt for the class first services in the belief that the administrative, police and revenue services carry power and authority to lord over the fate of the countrymen, poor souls who live in the rural areas and why even those.
Who lives in the cities and seeks out security and safety in many other services, in the public and the private sector, on government and private sector jobs feel the pressure of what we call the contradictory realities! Yet, today the average life of a citizen is caught up in the current realities in the fast-changing, often for the worse,socio-Economic realities.
There are enough data, detailed surveys, and other private sector NGOs to show us that there is a very menacing corruption in administrative areas, be it simple routines now requirements, getting a ration card or any other simple government documents.
For an average citizen, the very routine existence is near hell. Nothing moves in the government depts without paying a bribe. The very word bribe in the current Indian reality is a very sensitive one and everyone keeps mum for fear of government authority. We live at a time of mass raids and searching of premises of political opponents.
Take the very education sector. What do we see?
There is any number, it is almost becoming countless, of private universities or the so-called Central universities in very inconvenient locations.State-level politicians. Have located some central universities in remote rural locations near their own villages.
So, how do you expect quality faculty in these seats of learning?
So on and so forth. So, education or rather the tuition shops have sprung up, the very edifice of threatening. In China, the country’s President has banned the education tuition shops and the very big companies in these tuition shops.
There have been judicial pronouncements that in education you can create a surplus in your revenues but not profit!
This is what Prof.Thorat was referring to when he called for equity in education. The NEP must debate and conduct a series of workshops and must establish a national consensus on what is surplus or profit and what is exploitation and what is suppression and what is really in the enlightened public interest when we establish an educational institution.
In some states, things have reached beyond the breaking point and plain, daylight robbery! Once it was all about training, now even the BAs have lost their importance, now even the most elementary technocratic or even the otherwise clever youngster can start a startup venture and mobile venture capital and become an overnight entrepreneur!
So the sort of education we have to offer to the new generation of Youngster calls for radical thinking. We have to reverse the current pattern of migration of highly motivated youngsters from migrating to the Western countries.Now lakhs of youngsters travel every year to the UK, USA and Australia.
This has to be reversed by raising the quality of the university faculties. Giving more powers and authority to the Vice-Chancellors. These designations have become now more illusory and lack any moral authority.
We have to raise the salaries and powers of university teachers and if possible (why not) recruit foreign faculty on a yearly contract. There are many other reforms that are called for if we want to raise the image of Indian universities.
We have to revise the map migration on Indian students. We have to create new structures etc. to make our universities prestigious in the public eye.
Even the selection of education ministers in the states and at the centre have to be widely debated and commented on.
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