|EDUCATION TRIBUNE||Tuesday, July 30, 2002, Chandigarh, India|
‘Need to re-orient primary studies’
‘Shiksha Kosh’ a right step: experts
‘Need to re-orient primary studies’
It is wrong to say that the autonomy of universities has been eroded and there is greater political interference in their functioning. I do not want that their entity should be eroded. Rather, I would want that the rules governing the universities are upheld. These observations were made by Mr Khushal Behl, Minister for Education, Punjab in an exclusive interview.
Mr Behl wants that the academic atmosphere in educational institutions should improve and there should be a better relationship between the teacher and student and parent-teacher associations strengthened, especially in rural areas. Following are the excerpts of his interview.
Q: What is the present state of affairs of education in Punjab.
A: Unfortunately, it is not very healthy. The process of education from the primary to higher level is a continuous one. The way we should have developed the primary education, we have not been able to do it. It has affected the overall education system of the state. Now the country is not confided within its shores, it is an era of globalisation and we have to conceive things accordingly.
Q: What steps are being taken by the government to bring about the necessary changes?
A: We are taking measures at two levels-first, improve the quality of education, especially at the lower level. For this we are adopting the pattern of the NCERT except for the changes in the history books. Second, English was introduced as a compulsory subject from primary, but we are changing it to Class III. Computer education will be introduced from Class VI onwards. For students of Class IX and X, the medium of instructions will be English for science subjects and arithmetic and passing these subjects would be compulsory. These instructions would be implemented from the current academic session.
Extracurricular activities and sports will also receive the maximum attention. The habit of going to libraries would be inculcated.
Administratively too, we have taken some steps. We have set up a monitoring-cum-quality cell in the education department at the headquarters to watch the progress in every sphere.
Q: How would the government tackle the problem of dropouts and absenteeism by the teachers in schools.
A: We have decided to have a cluster of middle and primary schools in a radius of 5 km and the head of a senior secondary school of the cluster would be in charge. He would make regular checks on dropouts and the presence of teachers. Besides, the District Education Officer (DEO) would make 10 visits in a month to the cluster. Parent-teacher associations would be strengthened in rural areas. Regular reorientation programmes would be organised for teachers at the in-service training institute at the state level. It has been made compulsory for the teachers to undergo such refresher courses.
The government is also considering enhancing the basic qualifications of teachers. For example for EET teachers, the basic qualifications would be graduation and for B.Ed, it would be MA and even higher studies.
Mass copying is a slur. This has to go.
Q: What steps are proposed for university and college education.
A: The university dons should have a probing mind. The functioning of the university should not see interference. The concept of university education is higher morality and this vision should be protected.
We are introducing specialisation in colleges and 10 to 20 best colleges would be selected for this purpose.
Q: The colleges are facing financial problems. How would the government help them?
A: We want that a college should function as a self-contained unit. Government aided colleges are facing some problems and the state government has released Rs 18 crore for them.
Q: Some aided colleges are being run by family trusts and they consider the colleges as their fiefdom. They do not bother about government instructions, despite getting grants.
A: We are seized of the matter and the government would take the necessary steps.
Q: A number of private colleges managements have started professional and technical institutes and are charging hefty fee from students. Funds are being misused and teachers not paid according to the government norms. What steps are being taken to stem the rot?
A: We are aware of the situation and are looking into the same.
Q: Of late, there has been more political interference in the selections at the university level and the academic environs of the university is getting politicalised.
A: We are against any political interference. We have set up a search committee for the appointment of Vice-Chancellor for Punjabi University and the sanctity of the office would be maintained.
Q: Teachers working in the aided colleges have been agitating for the pension-cum-gratuity scheme for the past many years. What....
A: The Punjab Cabinet has approved of the scheme and it would be implemented soon. The government would clear the arrears of the teachers.
‘Shiksha Kosh’ a right step: experts
"Bharat Shiksha Kosh" is no doubt a laudable step in the face of the financial constraints being faced by central and state governments. It is also thought to be a step towards privatisation of education, especially higher education.
Educationists feel that the concept should be given a fair trial so that the yawning gap between requirements and availability of resources is reduced.
Vice-Chancellor of Panjab University, Prof K.N. Pathak, is of the view that the Centre should create a corpus of at least Rs 100 crore for the proposed "Kosh". Others feel that donations contributions to be made for the "Kosh" should be exempted from income tax. Even religious bodies should be persuaded to help in this direction.
The Central Government admits that state funding of the education sector, despite best efforts, has been inadequate. The Annual Report of the Union Ministry of Human Resource Development pertaining to elementary, secondary and higher education says that it is proposed to enlist the support of all concerned and mobilise extra-budgetary resources to fill in the gap in actual requirements and the available budgetary support.
This "Kosh" is proposed to be constituted to receive donations/contributions/endowments from individuals and corporates, central and state governments, NRIs and PIOs for various educational purposes.
The report says it would also permit sponsorship under which any organisation or individual can sponsor a particular village, town, city, school, college or even a child on payment of a specific amount.
Prof Pathak says the proposed "Kosh" has become necessary in order to narrow the gap in requirements and availability of funds. He cautioned that the money so collected should be utilised for well-defined purposes alone for which modalities should be worked out in advance.
The "Kosh", he said, could be utilised for the creation of necessary infrastructure. It could also help the University Grants Commission in discharging its responsibilities effectively.
Mr M.M. Sharma, Fellow and retired university teacher of Political Science, Panjab University, says since the dawn of liberalisation and economic reforms, the Centre and state governments were squeezing funds for education in general and higher education in particular.
The government on its own admission had not been successful in mobilising resources for education. Moreover, India was a signatory to the W.T.O., which lists education as service sector. Sooner or later education along with banking and insurance was in for privatisation.
The "Bharat Siksha Kosh", Mr Sharma, who is also former PUTA president, says is a first subtle step towards privatisation of education. It is a positive proposal as the regulatory power of the "kosh" would remain with the government. To make this proposal attractive the government must offer income tax concession.
He, however, regrets that the proposal has ignored the role of NGOs and other voluntary organisations in this direction.
Dr Satya P. Gautam, Professor of Philosophy, Panjab University, says the idea of setting up the "Kosh" is a good one. "Since independence, despite all slogans, education has never been a priority for our governments, political parties, bureaucracy and middle classes. No wonder, only the elite have had access to quality education. However, the middle class has been beneficiaries of state subsidies meant for the downtrodden sections of society".
Surprisingly it needed "representations’’ of two colleges of the university, the local Mohindra College and the Government College, Faridkot, to stir the members of the Board of the Studies of the department to take this decision.
The poetry of Ahluwalia was discussed in the meeting at length. One such gem which forms part of another anthology of Ahluwalia which has the following lines. Some members of the Board, who were dealt a rough hand by Mr Ahluwalia, including former Punjabi University Teachers Association (PUTA) president, took up the matter at the meeting.
The members took up the issue of the eulogy written by former department Head, Dr Jaswinder Singh, in the form of a lengthy article running into pages in the same book. This, they, felt made the book toll the readers more about Mr Ahluwalia than what he wanted to tell them about his poems, only seven of which were included in the book.
Though Dr Jaswinder Singh was not present as he is abroad to defend himself, another teacher, Dr G.S. Arshi, was targeted on the occasion for allegedly calling Mr Ahluwalia a poet of low standards and one who was in essence a non-poet when he was not Vice-Chancellor and then going on to call him a "maha kavi’’ when he became VC. Mr Arshi, when contacted, however, said a note written by him had been taken out of context. He said he stood by his earlier stand on Mr Ahluwalia and that he was not part of the team which had included his book in the syllabus.
* * *
This university session is starting soon. However, this will be one session which will start without any advanced planning. As the Acting Vice-Chancellor, Dr N.S. Rattan, is also functioning as Principal Secretary, Education. He cannot give his undivided attention to the University. Routine work is delayed as he comes after long intervals to the campus and there is no hope of any blueprint being made or introduction of new courses or syllabi revision on a large scale as had been planned earlier.
Though teachers have been reticent on this front, as many as seven student Unions have got together to demand a full-time Vice-Chancellor. They have also castigated the government for dilly-dallying on the appointment of a regular VC, even though a search committee has been formed for the purpose.
* * *
Mr Ahluwalia may have gone but the administration is finding it difficult to do away with all his decisions. This includes the issue of two information technology institutes opened by Mr Ahluwalia on the campus here and at the Regional Centre at Damdama Sahib, Bathinda.
Aug 5: Indian Coast Guard
Recruitment of Matriculates as Naviks (General Duty)
Elig: Indian males pass in Class 12 (55%). Age: Born bet Jul 1’81- Jul 1 ’86.
Selectn: Written test, interview & physical fitness exam.
Appln F: Send in prescribed format, with self-add envelope (22 x 10 cm) to the Commander/Director HRD of the respective zones. Superscribe "Application for Navik (GD) 02/2003 Batch" on envelope.
Details: See Employment News (20-26 Jul).
Aug 12: Indian Navy, DE (DH), Post Box No. 10929, R.K. Puram Main Post Office, New Delhi 110066. Website: www.nausena-bharati.nil.in
Matric Entry Recruits (MER)
Elig: Unmarried males, pass in Class 12 (55% with Sc & Maths). Age: Born between Feb 1 ’83 & Jan 31’86.
Selectn: Written, Physical & Medical exam.
Appln F: Send in prescribed format with requisite docs and 2 self-add, stamped (Rs 8/-) envelope (22 x 10 cms) to the above add. Superscribe type of Entry & Choice of Exam Centre on the envelope or download from website.
Elig: See Employment News (20-26 Jul).
Aug 12: Indian Air Force HQ, Western Air Command, Subroto Park, New Delhi 110010. Website: www.careerairforce.nic.in
Recruitment of Male Officers in Permanent & Short Service Commission and Female Officers in SSC for Ground Duty Officer’s Course
(Branches: Admin; Accounts; Educn; Meteorological)
Details & Appln F: See Employment News (20-26 Jul).
Aug 31: Indian Airforce HQs, Western Air Command, Subroto Park, New Delhi 110010. Website: www.careerairforce.nic.in
Male & Female Engineers for SSC and PC in Tech and Aero Engg Br Selectn: Engg Knowledge Test; Personality Test; & Medical Fitness Test.
Elig & Appln F: See website or Employment News 20-26 Jul.
Sep 15 TA Group HQ, Western Command, Bldg No 750, Sec 8B, Ch’grh
Officer in Territorial Army
Elig: Employed Indian males and Ex-Service Officers with Bachelor’s degree. Age: 18-42 yrs (on Sep 15)
Appln F: See Employment News (20-26 Jul).
Aug 31: Indian Institute of Ceramics, Central Glass & Ceramic Research Institute, PO Jadavpur University, Kolkata 700032 Ph: 4138879.
Associate Membership Examination-2002 (recog by GoI as equiv to Bachelor degree in Ceramic Tech)
Elig: BSc (PCM & Geology)/ Dip in Ceramics - 2 yrs professional ex in relev field.
Exam: 19-25 Oct (Theoretical Papers) and 30 Oct - 2 Nov (Practical & Viva-Voice) at Chennai, Gudur, Delhi & Kolkata.
Appln F: Send Rs 100/- by DD favouring "Indian Institute of Ceramics", payable at Kolkata to the above add.
Aug 5: Indian Institute of Information Technology (IIIT), Kolkata Website: www.iiitc.org
PGDIT 2002-03 (4-yr)
Elig: 10+2 (PCM) & AIEEE-2002 rank.
AppIn F: Send in prescribed format with Rs 500/- by DD favouring "Indian Institute of Information Technology" payable at Kolkata to the Project Manager (IIIT-C-2002), Educational Consultants India Ltd, DN-61, Sector-V, Salt Lake City, Kolkata 700091.
Dec 7: T.A. Pai Management Institute (TAPMI), Manipal 576119, (Kar) Ph: (08252) 571359/ 570162/ 573162/571358. Website: www.tapmi.org
PG Dip in Mgt and Entrepreneurship & Mgt
Elig: Bachelor’s degree (50%).
Selectn: CAT Scores, GD, Interview.
Appln F: Send Rs 1,000/- by DD favouring "T.A. Pai Management Institute" payable either at Manipal/Udupi at the above add by Nov 30 or download from website.
At designated SBI/ICICI/Syndicate Bank’s: Rs 1,000/- (cash).
Dec 7 BHU, Faculty of Management Studies, Varanasi 221005 (UP) Ph: (0542) 307430/31
MBA (Mktg/HRD/Finance/Intn’l Bus, 2-yr)
Elig: Bachelor’s degree (Agri/ Tech/Med/Educn)/LLB/Master’s degree (50%).
Selectn: CAT 2002 Scores.
Appln F: Send Rs 550/- by crossed SBI DD favouring the "Registrar, BHU", payable at SBI BHU Main Branch (Code 0211) with self-add env (32 x 26 cm) at the above add.
At counter: Rs 500/- (crossed DD).
Nov 23: Indian Institute of Forest Management, Post Box No. 357, Nehru Nagar, Bhopal-462003 (MP) Ph: (0755) 775716 Website: www.iifm.org/ admission.html
PG Programme in Forestry Management (2-yr)
Elig: Bachelor’s degree.
Selectn: CAT 2002 Scores, GD, Interview.
Appln F: Send Rs 600/- by DD favouring "Director, IIFM", payable at Bhopal, to the above add or download from website.
Oct 3: IIM-Bangalore, Bannerghatta Rd, Bangalore 560076. Website: www.iimb.ernet.in
Fellow Programmes in Management (FPM)
Elig: (i) Masters degree (55%) /BE or BTech with 2 yrs wk ex/CA (55%). (ii) Score in CAT 2002.
Appln F: Send a stamped (Rs 57/), self-add envelope (9" x 12") with self-add slip to the above add by Sep 30 or download from website.
Nov 29: Indian School of Mines, Dhanbad 826004 (Jhar) (Deemed Univ)
Elig: Bachelor’s degree.
Selectn: CAT (Nov 24), GD, and Interview.
Appln F: Send Rs 800/- by DD favouring "Registrar, Indian School of Mines" payable at Dhanbad with a self-add, unstamped envelope (25 x 12 cms) to the Assistant Registrar (Academic) at the above add.
Aug 30: National Board for Higher Mathematics, D/o Atomic Energy, Anushakti Bhavan, C.S.M. Marg, Mumbai 400039
Scholarships for Pursuing PG Studies MA/MSc in Maths
Elig: BA/BSc (Maths). Age: Below 22 yrs (on 1 Jan ‘02).
Selectn: Written test, interviews.
Appln F: Send in prescribed format (2 copies) with a self-add Post Card/ stamped envelope to Prof IBS Passi, Harish-Chandra Research Institute, Chhatnag Rd, Jhunsi, All’bad 211019. Superscribe "NBHM MA/MSc Scholarships" on envelope.
Details: See Employment News (20-26 Jul).
Sep 2: Nehru Trust for Cambridge University, Teen Murti House, New Delhi 110011
Cambridge Nehru Scholarships 2003
(For 3 yrs to pursue research upto PhD at the University of Cambridge).
Elig: Bachelor’s degree. Age: Below 30 yrs (on Oct 1’03).
Selectn: Interview (June ’03).
Appln F: Send stamped, self-add envelope (25 x 10 cm) by Aug 16.
Sep 15 Rhodes Scholarships (India), PO Box 2108, Aruna Asaf Ali Marg, Delhi 110007. Website: www.icgeb.res.in/~rhodes
Rhodes Scholarships India-2003
(For study leading to degree from University of Oxford)
Elig: Honours degree (1st Div) in Pure/Appl Sc; Humanities; Law; Medicine.
Age: Below 25 yrs (on 1 Oct).
Appln F: Send stamped (Rs 4/), self-add envelope (10 x 23 cm) to the Secretary, at the above add.
RED ALERT !!