Wednesday, July 10, 2002, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



Need to reduce weight of school bag

I was quite curious to read Mr Amrik Singh’s “Remodelling school education” (July 3) but the contents belied the headline. For me, remodelling school education is to solve problems like: 1. a very heavy school bag 2. insensitive syllabus, particularly of social sciences 3. mugging culture and emphasis on marks scored 4. too much importance to English over mother tongue and 5. no industry-education partnership as to what they need and what we are teaching.

There is too much dependence on the CBSE. A school affiliated to any state board is considered an inferior school fit for the hoi polloi. On the other hand, the CBSE has grown much too large for it to handle the quantum of work of over 6,500 schools.

Therefore, it is high time that the state boards are strengthened and if possible “student friendly” regional inter-board co-ordination councils be set up to compete with the CBSE and to address some of the following suggestions:

  • Weight of the school bag must be reduced. Can’t we move from the existing system of educating too little of too many subjects?
  • Emphasis be on year long classroom work and only 50 per cent marks be reserved for the annual examination. Much importance may have to be given to project work and attending classes, whereby an average student having say 90 per cent attendance should be able to attain B grade without any private coaching.

  • Drastic reorientation in the syllabus of history and geography be taken up to inculcate interest in the subjects. At present students try to study these subjects as if on gun-point.
  • For a job-oriented syllabus, there has got to be industry-education partnership.
  • English cannot be wished away but due importance be given to mother-tongue.

Suggestions of chambers of commerce, IITs, IIMs and established NGOs should also be invited.



IT institutes

The news-item “Varsity axe falls on two IT institutes” came as a shock to the 500-odd students of Maharaja Ranjit Singh Institute of Info. Tech, Patiala, and Guru Gobind Singh Institute of Info. Tech, Talwandi Sabo, and their parents. The students have completed one year of their studies and their parents have shelled out from their meagre income not less than Rs 1.5 lakh in a year. These on-campus courses were advertised with terms and conditions duly approved by the Syndicate. Everything done “legally” with the Syndicate’s approval yesterday has been adjudged as “illegal” today by the new dispensation in Punjabi University.



School board chief

Mr Nirbhai Singh in his letter “School board chief” (July 2) has failed to make a distinction between an individual and an issue. The so-called affectionate pat from the CM, calling Dr Kehar Singh to be an upright and honest man, is a testimony to the fact that Capt Amarinder Singh is fighting the battle of issues rather than individuals to win over the war of corruption and this fight by no means be construed as an exercise of political vendetta against the Akalis and the persons appointed by them (Dr Kehar Singh was appointed by Mr Badal).

Mr Nirbhai’s ill-conceived personal biases against the board Chairman have resulted in an amusing logic that if the minister at the top is culprit so is the officer down the line and, therefore, such an officer must be sent to the gallows. He has even jumped to the conclusion that since an FIR has been registered against the chief, he should immediately be nabbed, conveniently overlooking or being ignorant of the fact that mere registration of an FIR does not make one criminal before the law and Dr Kehar Singh has been found worthy of getting an anticipatory bail by the court in this case.


At the mercy of govt

The public faces problems due to the deficiency in service in government departments. (1) Telephone bills for March 2 were not delivered till the end of May, and the date of payment was extended till June 5. But in my case the bill was delivered on May 31 with the last date of May 30. Why are bills not issued bimonthly?

(2) The PSEB also takes more than 30 days to complete the process of billing, but never gives enough time to consumers. The consumer has to stand in long queues. Despite power cuts and weekly offs, the condition of minimum bill amount based on sanctioned load is never waived. Thus in case the bill amount falls short, why should one mind wasting power?

(3) The new vehicle number plate is also without any logic. What benefit will be drawn by a change in the colour system? When will the high security plates be issued by the government?

(4) In rail reservations charts why is the coach number and position from the engine not mentioned as it used to be in the past? Why are not all doors of the reserved coaches marked?


Toll tax collection

On the national highway barricades are erected to help private parties collect toll tax. This causes inconvenience to commuters. The behaviour of tax collectors is rude and even violent. There are newspaper reports of vehicles being hit by iron rods and stones.


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