Chandigarh, Monday, November 2, 1998
Mushroom growth hits quality
coaching for SC/ST students
Institution only in name
Scrutiny of foreign varsities
Functional value of Sanskrit
Mushroom growth hits quality
By Antarpreet Singh
THE management education field in our country, in the past couple of years or so, has witnessed an unprecedented growth in the number of institutes offering management degrees and diplomas at postgraduate as well as undergraduate levels. At present there are over 480 business schools in the country approved by the All-India Council of Technical Education (AICTE) for offering postgraduate courses in business management. In addition, a very large number of institutes with university affiliations have entered this field for offering courses in business administration (BBA) at the graduate level.
Such an overcrowding in the field has greatly affected the quality of management education programmes. Most private business school promoters have no prior experience in the field of management. Setting up an institute with requisite approval is not enough its just the beginning of another battle, this time to survive and grow in the wake of intense competition in the education market. Running a business school requires a thorough business-like approach in order to develop a sustainable competitive advantage in the long term.
There are number of problems in setting up an institute like rising costs of land, high lease rentals for buildings, furnishing bank guarantees to approving authorities involving huge amount of money, ceiling on course fee by the approving authorities, restrictions imposed by courts related to capitation fee and payment seats, rising operational costs and so on.
In spite of these constraints, there are great opportunities in the field, in times to come. Public acceptance for higher and specialised education being handled by private institutions is on the rise. People are willing to invest in quality education programmes and courses.
To provide top quality education, a business school needs to focus on key areas which include:
Intense competition and
rising public expectations are going to mount immense
pressure on B-school administrators to deliver top
quality education programmes. Compete or perish, there
would be no other choice for business schools in the
times to come.
"Remedial" coaching for SC/ST students
From K.G. Dutt
KURUKSHETRA: In view of the growing needs of students with a rural background and those economically backward, the Union Government has sanctioned two prestigious projects to Kurukshetra University. The Vice-Chancellor, Dr M.L. Ranga, said in an interview the university has been selected both by the University Grants Commission and the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment for special coaching to students of SC/ST and other weaker sections.
While the UGC has provided a grant-in-aid for "remedial coaching" the Union Minister for Social Justice has selected the Mahatma Gandhi All-India Services Coaching Institute of Kurukshetra University for coaching and preparing SC/ST students for the civil services examination.
According to the V-C, a majority of students in Kurukshetra University hail from rural areas. Hence, such courses were urgently needed. While in a number of cases students from economically weaker sections and SC/ST faired well in the written test, they lagged behind in communication ability tests as well as interview. Monetary problems stood in their way to develop their potential to the full. Likewise, financial constraints were a bottleneck in seeking hostel accommodation buying books and paying fee.
In order to remove such problems, the Vice-Chancellor approached the then Minister for Social Welfare, Mr S.S. Ramoowalia, with a project prepared by the university for imparting coaching to students of SC/ST for civil services examinations. Mr Ramoowalia directed the ministry to take the project in hand and release grants-in-aid on an annual basis to the university. The Mahatma Gandhi All-India Services Coaching Institute of the university was selected for the purpose.
According to the scheme, the Social Welfare Ministry has provided for Rs 6450 as coaching cost per student besides Rs 400 and Rs 100, respectively, as subsistence stipend to outstation and local students. The university has been asked to provide other facilities such as library, select resource persons, modern teaching aids and subsidised hostel accommodation.
Under another scheme by the UGC, the university has been sanctioned Rs 11 lakh for the conduct of special remedial courses. The Vice-Chancellor maintained that in view of the rapidly decreasing employment opportunities in the government, it had become imperative to prepare students for the private sector. Unfortunately, students with poor economic and rural background were handicapped as compared to their urban counterparts. The university approached the UGC in order to solve this specific problem being faced by such students. The university mooted a proposal for grants-in-aid to impart specialised and intensive remedial coaching for linguistic proficiency, academic skills and raised level of comprehension of basic subjects.
The UGC, while sanctioning the scheme, also provided for audio-visual teaching aids and library development. Dr Ranga said the university institute would impart training to a group of 20-30 students under the charge of a senior teacher. About 50 hours of coaching would be spread over two months. The classes would be conducted in the evening after regular class hours.
By Prof Mohan Maitry
GOVERNMENT Institute of Oriental and Modern Indian Languages, Patiala based in an old dilapidated building in the busy Sirhindi Bazar, is ill-furnished and under staffed.
Many things may be said against the rulers of erstwhile princely states, but their contribution towards promoting education, literature and culture in their states is undisputed.
Maharaja Narinder Singh of Patiala established a centre for the study of Sanskrit and classical languages (Arabic and Persian). The institution was started in Haveli Nizam Khan near Samania Gate under the control of Diwan Kulwant Rai. Afterwards, it was shifted to the haveli of Mahant Kanshi Gir, in Dhak Bazar and classes in English and Maths were introduced.
It is said that a reputed scholar from Kashi (Benares) implored upon Maharaja Mahendra Singh to provide free education to his subjects so as to attain salvation. Accordingly, Education Directorate, under the charge of Master Ram Chander Dehlvi, was set up. School education was given a new direction with the establishment of an institution in 1870 which was in 1874 affiliated with Calcutta University.
On March 30, 1975, the foundation stone of Mahendra College was laid by the then Viceroy of India, Lord North Brook. On March 18, 1884, Lord Ripon, Viceroy of India, inaugurated the college building which came up in nine years at a cost of Rs 5 lakh. In the year 1902, classes in Punjabi studies-Giani bidwan and budhiman were started along with studies in oriental languages.
In 1912, classes in Sanskrit and Punjabi were shifted from Mahendra College with the establishment of two separate institutions - Sanskrit Vidyala and Gurmukhi Vidyala. In the year 1950 classes in Rattan, Bhushan and Prabhakar (Hons in Hindi) were introduced in Sanskrit Vidyala. In the year 1963, both institutions were merged into Government Institute of Oriental and Modern Indian Languages.
This step was aimed at promoting the studies and research in modern and classical languages. The promotion of the studies in Darshan (Philosophy), Jyotish (Astrology) and Vyakaran (Gramar) as in the early Indian system, was envisaged.
Due to mismanagement and ill-planning the institution has been on the decline. With the retirement of scholarly persons without any suitable replacement, subjects comprising traditional learning have been abolished. Another such institution established at Kapurthala for furtherance and promotion of Sanskrit stands abolished. The fate of Government Sanskrit College, Nabha, affiliated to Punjabi University is no different.
The institutions both at Patiala and Nabha are under the administrative control of College Directorate, Punjab, but manned by staff belonging to the school cadre governed by the Directorate of Schools, Punjab. The study of English, maths, and history has been introduced in Shastri (Hons in Sanskrit) but no provision has been made for this purpose. At present there are only 11 teachers, Sanskrit five, Punjabi three, and Hindi three in the Institution at Patiala.
By S.C. Dhall
WITH the number of overseas educational institutions offering correspondence course, for a fee as high as Rs 3 lakh or so annually, the ministry of Finance is understood to have started the scrutiny of the working of foreign universities in India.
The Ministry of Finance has cautioned the Reserve Bank of India against accepting part-payment from local students in dollars. This is being done to check the flight of foreign currency from the country.
There is also an urgent need to look into the racket of making payment to those who frequently come to lecture local students on specialised subjects. There are a number of universities which have tied up with local institutions for running correspondence courses in management, fashion designing, tourism, engineering and even medical courses.
They have their representatives in all big cities. These institutions charge huge sums for study material and examination fee/tuition fee usually in foreign currency.
As per rules, permission of the Reserve Bank of India for collecting fee in foreign currency is a must. As per RBIs foreign exchange manual, a student can be allowed only 10,000 US dollar for outward remittance for studying abroad.
The Finance Ministry is also understood to have withdrawn the blanket tax exemption so far available to educational institutions which are commerical and profitable ventures.
Functional value of Sanskrit
By S.P. Dhawan
SINCE recently there has been an emphasis on vocationalisation of education. The University Grants Commission has approved, among others, two new vocational courses functional English and functional Sanskrit. The course for functional English has been devised with a view to improve job opportunities in the employment market.
This course includes not only the use of English for writing applications, writing letters, sending telegrams, opening and operating of accounts in banks and post offices, but also training in the correct use of the language in professions pertaining to advertisement, marketing, TV and radio announcements, for working as receptionists in offices and hotels, commentators, and news readers on the radio and TV.
In order to acquire these skills, a functional study of phonetics, morphology and syntax of English is must. This also stipulates the use of certain mechanical devices and equipment so that precision is brought about in the use of language for proper communicative effects.
The course in functional Sanskrit, which so far has not been properly exploited, is probably the most job-oriented in the present socio-cultural scenario. Since most Hindu scriptures are originally in Sanskrit and are recited and chanted at the time of various rites, rituals and ceremonies, the importance of the course cannot be overlooked.
The functional course in Sanskrit has a syllabi including correct chanting of the mantras (hymns), their interpretation in the language of the people, reading of scriptures and their translation in to other languages, performing of rites and rituals as per the established practice in a proper sequence and conducting of ceremonies as per religious convention.
The course can help make one a proficient priest.
Such priest-trainees are also taught how to make astrological calculations of different "Nakshatras" so that auspicious moments for different ceremonies are identified. They are supposed to learn the ethical norms of the Hindu society for onward transmission to the people.
So far, most of the priests are brahmins without any formal training. With the introduction of functional Sanskrit as one of the vocational subjects at the undergraduate level, the caste monopoly of the institution of priesthood will be abolished.
Varsity to assess workload
From Jangveer Singh
PATIALA: While the dropout rate is an alarming 23 per cent at the primary school level in the state, only 1.5 per cent of total students admitted in secondary schools are able to avail of vocational courses.
According to a finding by a scholar of history of Punjabi University, engineers and doctors are among the 5.90 lakh unemployed youths registered with employment exchanges in the state.
The university authorities are going in for workload assessment in all departments. Informed sources said a report in this context had been prepared but could not be put up in the October 27 meeting of the Syndicate. The meeting was postponed to November 13 as the three government members Mr Prem Singh Chandumajra. Mr Ajaib Singh Mukhmailpur and Mr Manpreet Singh Badal had been nominated just a day prior to the meeting.
The number of faculty members in a department as well as their workload would be assessed. The step is being taken so that posts can be transferred where needed following retirement of incumbents as new posts cannot be created due to the ban on recruitment imposed by the Punjab Government.
The university authorities say this is a much-needed step as there are departments which have as many as eight professors and still others where professors do not even take three periods a week.
A University Grants Commission refresher course organised by the Department of Geography, which concluded on October 30, conducted a survey of Daun Kalan village near here to study indebtedness among agriculturists. The refresher course, which was attended by 35 teachers from the state as well as Haryana, Jammu and Kashmir, Maharashtra. Karnataka, Goa and Manipur, stressed on the importance of field work in geography. It was inaugurated by eminent geographer JS Gosal.
A seminar on "Futuristic vision of Sikhism," in which speakers from abroad will present papers is being held at the university from November 18 to 20. Yogi Harbhajan Singh of the USA will deliver the inaugural address while Justice Kuldeep Singh will deliver the keynote address. The seminar will be presided over by SGPC president Gurcharan Singh Tohra. Eminent scholar Dr Neol Q King, Professor Emeritus, University of California, was expected to take part.
An association of Punjab geographers has been founded in the university with Prof GB Singh of the Department of Geography as its founder-president.
The association will try to create awareness among teachers, planners and state agencies about the "degeneration and regeneration of environment". The association has decided to work collectively to identify and find possible solutions to specific and pressing problems being faced by the state like floods, water logging and distribution system, besides improving teaching of geography in the state.
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