118 years of trust
Chandigarh, Monday, October 19, 1998

Techno-literacy only way out
Dr Ranjit Singh
THE Government of India launched an ambitious programme on adult education on October 2, 1978 to eradicate illiteracy. It was to benefit 10 crores people between the age group of 15-35 during the next five years.

Modern gurukul at Kunjpura that produces sainiks
By U. K. Bhanot
The huge mansion of the Nawab of Kunjpura, a symbol of power and self in the bygone days, now houses a modern gurukul called the Sainik School.

Fraud on students
From Raj Sadosh
Many students have been reportedly duped by different institutions running computer classes in the city.


Techno-literacy only way out

Dr Ranjit Singh

THE Government of India launched an ambitious programme on adult education on October 2, 1978 to eradicate illiteracy. It was to benefit 10 crores people between the age group of 15-35 during the next five years.

As far as available results are concerned, not more than one crore have been covered under the programme. About two-third population is still illiterate. A majority of the illiterate live below the poverty line. Any type of formal education intended for this section will have to satisfy a precondition — that it is going to be useful for their daily chores.

It is, therefore, important to broaden the concept of literacy from simple teaching of elementary reading and writing skills to the notion of techno-literacy — a concept which tends to define the literate person in terms of his capacity for effective functioning in his group and community. Techno-literacy will also help prevent the lapse into illiteracy of a newly literate person.

In spite of government efforts, not much has been achieved in this direction. There is no substantial reduction in the number of illiterates. According to World Bank estimate, India will have the largest number of illiterates in the world by the end of the century. Some important agencies can play a significant role in this direction.

Political parties: Political parties can play an effective role in this direction. So far no political party has been attracted by this proposition. There is hardly any village where there are not four or five active members of a political party. Parties can select some villages and organise literacy classes.

To begin with, the party in power can start this programme. Literacy is necessary for active participation of the nation’s adult citizens in its political decisions.

Village schools: Selected village school teachers can be used for adult literacy. They can organise night classes in school buildings. Most village panchayats can raise money to pay an extra allowance to the teachers.

Religious places: Almost every village has places of workshop like temple, mosque, gurdwara and church. Adult literacy classes can be started in selected places where required facilities exist. Many of these institutions have sound financial resources. It is easy for these institutions to provide physical facilities as well as teaching materials. Priests can act as effective teachers.

Co-operative Societies: Many of the village co-operative societies are now vital business units. They have their own buildings and enough income to pay for the teachers. Even some of the secretaries of these societies can act as teachers. They can start literacy programmes with their members and also impart the philosophy of co-operatives and technological details of the inputs being provided by the societies. It is an established fact that institutional-facilities like co-operative credit are better utilised in those agricultural communities where the proportion of educated farmers is higher.

Industrial organisations: It should be made compulsory for all medium and big factories to organise literacy classes for their illiterate workers. It is not difficult for these factories to spend money for this purpose. Contents of primers can help in improving the production of the factories.

National service scheme: Most colleges have the National Service Schemes. Devoted students can be selected to act as teachers. There are many day-scholars from villages. They can run these classes in their own villages. City day scholars can run the classes among the weaker sections of society in towns. Necessary facilities can be provided by respective colleges.

Voluntary organisations: Various voluntary organisations working for the welfare of the masses can adopt selected villages for literacy as well as for other development activities. The government says a great stress on family planning and the prohibition. Numerous researches have established that adoption of birth control techniques have positive relationship with literacy.

Co-ordination: There is a need for co-ordination committees at the national, state, district and block levels. These committees should have representatives from all seven organisations mentioned earlier. These members will maintain vertical as well as horizontal co-ordination, by maintaining links with their own organisations at different levels and also with other members of their committee. The main function of these committees will be to allot work between various organisations and to provide various facilities (physical, monetary, teaching material.

Each development block has 70 to 100 villages, which means that every organisation has to cover 10 to 15 villages in each block. This can easily be achieved within 10 years. If properly planned, co-ordinated and executed it will not be difficult to achieve universal literacy within a decade. Many developing nations have achieved it.



Modern gurukul at Kunjpura
that produces sainiks

By U. K. Bhanot

The huge mansion of the Nawab of Kunjpura, a symbol of power and self in the bygone days, now houses a modern gurukul called the Sainik School.

The building which earlier housed the Punjab Police Academy was converted into the Sainik School by the then Defence Minister, Mr V. K. Krishna Menon, on July 24, 1961.

The Sainik School stands majestically in an area of 275 acres amidst nature’s beauty. Saplings which were planted about three and a half decades ago have grown into huge trees providing shade under which the young Kunjeans sweat, toil and train to become useful members of society.

The primary aim of this institution is to prepare boys academically, physically and mentally for entry into the National Defence Academy, Khadakvasla (Pune) from where they pass out as Commissioned Officers to join the Defence forces. The school also aims at bringing public school education within the reach of the common man and economically weaker sections of the society. It is affiliated to the CBSE, Delhi.

The Sainik School has sent 484 of its cadets so far to the National Defence Academy, Khadakvasla and approximately an equal number through direct entry to IMA, OTA, AFA and Naval Academy. It will not be out of place to mention here that the seniormost of its cadets have picked up the rank of Brigadier or its equivalent in the Air Force and the Navy. Along with professional excellence, the young officers from this school have shown exemplary courage by making the supreme sacrifice of their lives in the the service of the nation. The school is proud of Lt Vijay Pratap Singh, 2nd Lt. Navneet Singh, Maj Teja Singh Bedi, Lt Ram Prakash Roperia (Ashok Chakra), Maj Rajiv Kumar Joon (Shaurya Chakra and Ashok Chakra), Maj Mahender Singh Dahiya,Maj Sajjan Singh Gehlawat (Shaurya Chakra) and Major Neeraj Malik.

To express its gratitude to these martyrs, the school has erected the "Saikunj War Heroes Memorial" right in the heart of the institution. Dignitaries visiting the school lay wreaths in memory of these brave sons of the country. Keeping the lofty aims and aspirations of its founding fathers, the Sainik School has added another feather to its cap by having the privilege of annexing the"Raksha Mantri Trophy" for the sixth time since its inception.

Giving the historical perspective of the main building of the school, Cdr V K Verma, the present Principal, says the main building, built by Mohammad Ibrahim Ali Khan, the then Nawab of Kunjpura to house the marriage party of his daughter in 1900 AD now houses the administrative complex, the staff room, senior class rooms, the computer room and library. The building has 365 windows and doors representing 365 days of a year. It has four corridors meeting at a vantage point to represent the four seasons of the year – spring, the summer, autumn and winter. The high-ceiling rooms with skylights and a verandah all around protect the interior of the building from the scorching heat of the sun during the summer and lashing cold winds during the winter and at the same time lend a majestic and mysterious aura to the surroundings.

The school library, which occupies corner of the main building is a place of delight for students who love to spend their time amidst a colourful display of magazines, newspapers, books etc, has a collection of more than 15,000 books in the general section, besides the reference section and the magazine section. The school subscribes to 40 Indian and foreign magazines. Alongside is the audio visual room and the general knowledge room aptly named ‘Gyan Kunj’ which affords the students an opportunity to exploit their talents. A great amount of information is displayed through judicious use of space. There is also a provision for over head projectors, television, and VCRs in the science demonstration hall and the humanities demo hall where the boys have free access to these gadgets for educational purposes under the guidance of the staff concerned. The audio visual room is also used as a lecture hall for eminent guest speakers. The latest addition is the computer-cum-conference room.

Members of the staff and 650 boys in the mess providing a balanced diet as recommended by the National Institute of Nutrition and Indian Medical Research and approved by the Diet Nutrition Department of Civil Hospital and the NDRI in clean surroundings.

Adjacent to the Cadet’s Mess is the auditorium which has been named after Field Marshal Manekshaw and is designed like a Blue Whale symbolising the aspiration of young students to soar high into the world. It has a seating capacity of 700. The auditorium is used for daily school Assembly.

The pot-pourric of structures strewn all over the lush green area caters to the various needs of the cadets and members of the staff for whom it is mandatory to reside on the campus.

A host of sports activities are organised. There are lush green playgrounds and perfectly spruced up courts. Cadets regularly play hockey, football, basketball, volleyball, tennis and badminton. The Kunjeans have also been participating in the district and state level tournaments Major Sant Kumar, an alumnus of this school, represented the country in the 1980 Moscow Olympics in 800 metres.

To make the training programme more effective, a number of allied activities like mountaineering, hiking, trekking and cycling have been introduced in the school. The cadets have added another feather to their cap by going on an expedition to the ‘Stok Kangri’ Peak(6183 mts) in Leh-Ladakh.

Compulsory NCC training is being imparted from Class VI to XII whereby students become disciplined, honest, patriotic and secular. The school has an independent unit of NCC Junior Wing. The NCC Directorate has deputed staff to assist the teachers and NCC officers for training and teaching of various skills like drill, weapon training, map reading, field craft and first-aid etc.

Apart from medical facilities, the school has a CSD canteen, wet canteen and stationery shop, besides other facilities including those of banking.



Fraud on students

From Raj Sadosh

ABOHAR: Many students have been reportedly duped by different institutions running computer classes in the city. One such institution, which was started with much fanfare two years back, has only six students on its rolls now. Several are struggling for getting a pass certificate from the institution. Some of them have even served a notice on the National Institute which accorded affiliation to the centre.

Sources say computer education has become a major source of income for so-called model schools. Abohar is among those towns where students are being asked to pay a fixed amount as ‘donation’ for the buildings of privately-run schools. No qualified instructor is employed but students are forced to pay hefty computer education charges.

Not only schools but at least two colleges too have awarded contracts to outside instructors to run computer courses. Two students of a local girls college have sent complaints to the Panjab University authorities with statements on oath. Mamta Gumber and Sonia Badhwar have sent affidavits stating that they paid Rs 100 as admission fee and Rs 500 as monthly tuition fee for seven months to Gopi Chand Arya Mahila Institute of Computer Sciences in Abohar after going through an advertisement in a local paper. The classes were conducted at a local girl’s college. The students were promised a certificate after 18 months and a job guarantee. But after seven months the students were told the computer centre had been closed. The students said the involvement of college authorities could not be ruled out because the contractor was not prevented from taking away the computers.

Each student during the seven months had paid Rs 3600 to the college on account of computer education. The same instructors now had entered a contract with two more institutions, the sources said.

The college authorities, when contacted, admitted that the incident had indeed occurred. They said they were thinking of inviting the students to rejoin the course. They would not be asked to pay any fee for seven months.




Symposium on genetics

From Varinder Walia

AMRITSAR: Guru Nanak Dev University will host the fourth international symposium on genetics, health and disease from December 1. This meet will deliberate on the theme of "Frontiers of human genetics in the 21st century". Various aspects related to prenatal and postnatal diagnosis of genetic diseases will be taken up.

At least 100 delegates from over 30 countries will join 200 Indian delegates to make it one of the largest meetings on human genetics in India. A two-day workshop will be held on December 5 to train Indian scientists in various techniques for the detection of cancer and genetic diseases, according to Dr H.S. Soch, Vice-Chancellor.

* * *

Resentment prevails among teachers of the university over the deduction of their salaries during the strike period. The teachers have staged a protest dharna in front of the Vice-Chancellor’s office under the banner of the Guru Nanak Dev University Teachers Association. The association says that the teachers have decided to forgo their vacations and are taking extra classes to make up for in the academic loss. Hence, the deduction of their salaries is unjustified. They plead that the state government has already released the salary of teachers of government and private colleges while the university teachers are being given a "step-motherly treatment" on the issue.

The association has threatened to observe a three-day strike from October 21 if their demand is not conceded.

* * *

The condition of university canteens is far from satisfactory. Apart from insanitation, catering services of the canteens in the chemistry block, administrative block and Dashmesh Auditorium are very poor. No canteen has displayed a rate list. The owners charge any rate from the students. The seating arrangement in the canteen, except one in the administrative block, is not proper. The students and staff members are seen taking tea and snacks in the open and then throwing away the waste in the university lawns.

* * *

The university has constructed a students holiday home at upper Bakrota, Dalhousie, for youth training camps and other co-curricular activities. It is a beautiful site situated at a distance of 5 km from the bus stand on the way to Khajjiar. The construction work was started in November, 1996 and has now been completed. It is a two-storeyed building with in additional provision of stores and toilets. The building is in a total area of 10185 ft. The cost of the construction has been Rs 77.00 lakh approximately.

It houses five dormitories, a spacious multi-purpose hall, lobby, kitchen, stores and toilets with modern facilities. It has been designed to cater to the needs of 150 students at a time.

* * *

For the first time, the university will host the Nehru-SAIL Champion Colleges Hockey Tournament, a prestigious tournament which is organised by the Jawaharlal Nehru Hockey Society annually, in collaboration with the Association of Indian Universities, New Delhi, from February 11 to February 20 next year. This prestigious tournament will be fully sponsored by the Steel Authority of India. The tournament carries a cash prize of Rs 1 lakh for the winner, Rs 60,000 for the runners-up and Rs 40,000 for the third position holder.

* * *

A swimming pool of international standards is nearing completion. The university proposes to hold inter-college and inter-university water polo and diving competitions at the pool.



Punjabi University, Patiala: PCS (Judicial) coaching. Contact university. Last date October 26.

Gandhi Medical College, Bhopal-462001: M.Ch (Paediatric Surgery) course. Contact college. Last date October 31.

Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani-333031: BS Engg Technology/BS Information Systems/MS Software Systems (distance learning courses). Contact institute. Last date November 30.

Anna University, Chennai-600025: ME Mechatronics degree. Test on November 29. Contact university. Last date October 30.

Defence Terrain Research Laboratory, Metcalfe House, Delhi: Junior Research Fellows. Contact Director.

Institute of Nuclear Medicine and Allied Science, Defence Research and Development Organisation, Lucknow Marg, Delhi: Senior Research Fellows. Contact Director.

National Physical Laboratory, Dr KS Krishnan Road, New Delhi: Research programmes. Contact institute. Top

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