Saturday, November 25, 2000,
Chandigarh, India



Education mafia taking over

THIS refers to Mr P.P.S. Gill’s article, “Education mafia taking over” (Nov 17).

Entrance tests have severely impaired the quality of education in the science stream at +1 and +2 level. The science subject lectures were made lively, interesting and satisfying because of their interaction and supplementation with the experiments in the practical laboratories. All this has become a thing of the past by the introduction of the entrance tests — which rely only on the theory part of the subject.

I suggest an alternative to the present evaluation of student’s capability by entrance tests. The integrated course of +1 and +2, done in the span of two years should be divided into four semesters; each consisting of five months study and one month examination and evaluation. The examination at the end of five months in a semester should be conducted from the syllabi covered in that period of time. Only those students who attend 80 per cent lectures in theory and practicals without any relaxation are to be allowed to appear in the examination. Each of the theory papers is to carry 60 marks and practicals 40 marks. The answer sheets in practicals of all those students who score more than 70 per cent marks should be re-evaluated by a committee of experts. If it is found that any practical examiner has awarded marks for consideration other than academics, he should be penalised.

For all the state-level professional institutions, admissions should be done on the basis of total marks obtained in the four semesters. The examinations in these four semesters should be conducted by an independent agency. For all-India institutions, an entrance test at the national level should be conducted by another independent body.



Money-making mission

Mr P.P.S. Gill has rightly pointed out that education in the present scenario has become merely a money-making activity.

The worth of a good teacher now is not judged by how well he teaches in the classroom but by the number of students he is able to attract in private coaching classes at home.

The issue is further complicated by bankrupt governments unable to pay even the teachers’ salaries, not to talk of funding the entire higher education. On the other hand the private managements are out to make a fast buck by exploiting the teachers, the students and the parents.

The need of the hour is to frame and introduce sensible need-based courses along with a reliable and valid examination system.


Kalandars cry for rehabilitation

This refers to the news item “Kalandars panic in face of seizure of animals” (Nov 15). The Government of India has banned the exhibition and training of performing animals such as bears, monkeys, tigers, panthers and lions.

It is a pity that even after a lapse of two years of the ban, the government has not come out with a concrete rehabilitation plan for kalandars.

There cannot be two opinions that those involved in this profession should be given grants for finding some other employment. This is no less important than the implementation of the ban. Keeping in view the age-old bond between kalandars and performing animals, their skill and knowledge can be best utilised by giving them employment in various zoos and allied institutions.



Mishandling economy

Higher inflation rate in India is mainly due to our economy being run by political necessities rather than economic principles!

Subsidies are usually misused. Subsidy on postcards is misused by business firms, while the poor people may be using just a postcard or two per month! Likewise subsidy on newsprint is causing national wastage by selling newspapers/magazines at prices even lower than their waste-value. Subsidies may be gradually phased out to strengthen economy. Surcharges cause tax evasions. Surcharge on income tax gave a jolt to voluntary tax compliance by honest tax payers.


Window on Pakistan

Syed Nooruzaman in his “Window on Pakistan” gave a description of Amarkot in its historical perspective. The place was well known in medieval times since it happened to be the birthplace of Akbar, the great Mughal sovereign, who by his innovative nature, large heartedness and policy of tolerance changed the course of Indian history and put it on the world map. Akbar was born on October 15, 1542, at Amarkot in Parkar district of Sind. Akbar’s parents Hamida Banu Begham and Humayun, fleeing from the vicinity of Jodhpur, had taken shelter with the Rajput chief of the place, Rana Virsal at Amarkot. Humayun was encamped on the margin of a large pond, more than 20 miles distant from Rana’s town, when Tardi Beg Khan brought the joyful news of the birth of a child. The discrowned king, being in destitute conditions, called for a China plate and broke on it a pod of musk, and distributing it among his men said: “This is all the present I can afford to make you on the birth of my son, whose fame will, I trust, be one day expanded all over the world, as the perfume of the musk now fills the tent”. His prophecy came true.


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