Wednesday, October 4, 2000,
Chandigarh, India



Problems of rural colleges

IN our rural colleges, to say that the state of affairs is unsatisfactory will be an understatement. While good students get admission to well-run institutions located in big cities, their not-so-well-to-do counterparts can only find a seat in small town/village colleges.

The glaring discrepancy in the output of these two types of institutions is evident from the results of the common examinations conducted by the universities and school boards.

This unhealthy situation must be known to our educational and political leadership, yet nothing seems to be done to improve the health of these unfortunate seats of learning. I feel it is time the Punjab Government, which spares no effort in singing its praises as part of its massive media blitz, made serious efforts to improve the career prospects of the vast majority of rural youth graduating from these colleges.

For starters, is there any reason why the government grants, which make up the bulk of staff salaries, are paid two to three months in arrears? Does the government expect the staff to carry on their duties with empty wallets and not knowing when the next pay cheque will arrive?

Similarly, there are a number of problems that arise due to the jurisdictional disputes between the university and the central/state government, which can be easily resolved. In our local college we have had no principal for nearly three years due to such procedural wrangles, complicated because some politicians want their own favourite in that position without regard to merit.

The Akali leadership should be on notice that if it fails in this task of nation-building, the future generations will never forgive it for this dereliction of duty.
Brig H. S. Bains (retd)
Mahilpur (Hoshiarpur)


Global moral pollution

Nowadays conscious people all over the world have started realising that most of our crucial human problems are the genuine products of severe moral degradation throughout the globe. In this context, the FMDA has very rightly identified immorality as the number one problem/enemy of mankind today as it (immorality) is the root of all the crimes directly responsible for the following fatal human crises: corruption, bribery, poverty, human rights violation, environment pollution, rape, AIDS/HIV, oppression and repression on women and children, terrorism, killings, drug abuses, smoking, etc. Because of these problems human life all over the globe is becoming quite insecure and tense.

Under such suffocative living conditions, it is really very delighting to know through the media that an international organisation — Foundation for Moral Development Approach (FMDA) from Dhaka (address: FMDA, GPO Box 809, Dhaka-1000, Bangladesh) — has initiated a “global moral development program” as a package-deal approach to fight all the crimes responsible for all the above-mentioned severe human crises today. It is further learnt that the FMDA has already floated a proposal to the world body, the United Nations, for global moral development as it has turned into a global issue today.

We appeal to the world population (irrespective of colour, religion and nationality) to launch a vigorous social movement for this global moral development programme of the FMDA everywhere.
Professor, Faculty of Education,
McGill University,
Montreal (Quebec, Canada)


Should there be varsity poll?

Should there be elections in the universities and colleges? The debate goes on in the press and outside. These elections were suspended in 1984, when during the terrorist decade in Punjab a student leader was murdered. Restricted elections are all right. They reap the benefits of both systems.

It is common knowledge that in the year of the absence of elections, campuses enjoy tolerable peace and quiet. After a general election, a second (rival) centre of power is created and the college or university executive is locked in a perpetual fight over "the students' rights".

The newly elected office-bearers have only a one-point programme: to organise a crippling strike and get into press headlines and all that. They have to manufacture (yes, manufacture) some attractive grievance of students (some old grievance in a new garb). The youth love to play the rebel against authority and also against discipline. They relish to see the highest ones humbled.

Sometimes sessions suffer long interruptions. Studies suffer, examinations are postponed; sometimes a whole year is lost.

I am sure there should be no elections at the universities and colleges for the good of students, parents and the nation. Blasphemy against democracy? There are limits to all good institutions, even democracy. The government made a blunder by extending franchise to the 18-year-olds, bringing politics in their life before time. It is like lowering the age of marriage — very pleasant for the youth concerned — but ultimately it is harmful to them and to others.

Often the argument is advanced that many of the present ministers and other politicians have come through their work in the students' unions. No, sir, the universities and colleges are meant to impart higher grade education, not to train future politicians, for whom as a class few have a good word to say.


Question: What is common between the Indian Olympic squad and the Family Planning Programme?
Answer: (Slogan) Ek... Do... Bus!



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