Wednesday, September 25, 2002, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



Towards value-based education

SINCE the Punjab Government plans to effect certain changes in our education system, I would like to emphasise on glaring inadequacies in the system. In the fifties the matric, Faculty and Bachelor’s courses were replaced by higher secondary, pre-university and three-year degree courses.

Based on the Gandhian theory of education, multi-purpose higher secondary schools were also brought into existence. Then came our so-called modern system of 10+2+3, resulting in one year’s increase to the Bachelor’s degree. These structural changes did not show any perceivable qualitative enhancement of value-based education.

During the later part of the century, stress was on curriculum. Teachers and the taught were left at the back seat, thus making the system of education lose its sheen.

Today, 3,000 doctors, 8,000 engineers and about 60,000 trained technical hands, including engineering diploma holders, are without work. Given this scenario, do we need to open more engineering and medical colleges, polytechnics and ITIs? Have we examined whether the newly opened colleges possess quality infrastructure to impart world-class education?

The bug of privatisation has already started sucking the blood of poor students and it is amply visible from the face of the lower strata of society turning pale. Education has become so costly that even the students in government colleges have started feeling the pinch.


During the last 50 years, the village class room scene has not changed much (The same old rolling jute mats with a blackboard generally without a stand placed against the trunk of a tree). Only the number of students has grown manifold and teachers, leave aside paying individual attention, cannot even exert control over the students. The teacher-taught ratio is more than 1:50.

There is no denying the fact that today’s society badly needs broad-based literacy aimed at getting rid of social evils. Free and compulsory elementary education, adult education, introduction of evening classes in schools and moral education and national integration as subjects forming part of the curriculum may stem the rot in the first place. The concept of education, therefore, must be aimed at developing a personality with a broad horizon.

Pupil-centred, job-oriented and employment based education will bring in a sea change in our economic growth. A word of caution for the policy-makers that they should keep check at the fast-paced privatisation and leave it as a “debatable subject” till society is prepared to accept it as inevitable. At the moment, the socialistic angle of education should not be lost sight of. For heavens’ sake, do not open new professional colleges without being doubly sure that they are fully equipped with quality infrastructure. Of the five medical colleges, 22 engineering colleges and a number of IT institutions, those defaulting on infrastructure must be derecognised.

Col KULDIP SINGH GREWAL (retd), Patiala

Giani Kartar Singh

It was quite appropriate for The Tribune to have remembered the late Giani Kartar Singh on his birth centenary (“A fakir of Sikh politics”, Sept 11). The author’s comments concerning the circumstances of Partition of India in 1947 are not in accordance with the facts. While Gianiji’s role in seeking and securing partition of Punjab was important, it has to be stated that this was made possible due to the backing that this idea was given by the then leadership of the Congress.

It is also not true that the Sikhs were treated as the “third party” by the British. Even the very wording of the June 3 (1947) statement of the British Government makes it clear. No doubt the Sikh leaders were taking part in the negotiations for the transfer of power, but their case for a separate territory for the Sikhs was a lost case since the community did not have a majority of population anywhere except in two tehsils of the then Punjab province. And Partition was based on the principle of majority provinces.


Lt Teja Singh

This refers to the letter about Lt Teja Singh (Sept 10) by Wing Cdr S.C. Kapoor (retd). I am proud to state that Lt (now retd Col) Teja Singh, Vr C, is my father and is leading an active retired life after having served in the Army for almost 30 years. The sentiments expressed by Wing Cdr Kapoor are appreciable and the authorities should take note of these.

Dr B.S. DHADWAL, Jalandhar


Precision farming

APROPOS the article on “Precision farming” by P.P.S. Gill (Sept 2). I am very impressed with the quality and depth of the article. A lot of deep thinking seems to have gone into the report. I sincerely hope the Punjab Government will take necessary steps to improve the plight of Punjab agriculture.

Many reports on so-called “solutions” are gathering dust in government offices and probably in PAU’s offices as well. It is indeed refreshing to read some unique perspective on Punjab agriculture. The Punjabi farmer would benefit immensely if the likes of Dr Bajwa and Dr S. S. Johl are able to actually implement some of their ideas. P.P.S. Gill has always written well-researched articles, but his comments on precision agriculture are excellent.

It will be very sad if Dr Bajwa’s report is not used by the government or Punjab Agricultural University.

In my opinion, the need of the hour, is to utilise the immense experience of such thinkers/scientists and design a comprehensive solution plan for Punjab. Capt Amarinder Singh should take notice and initiate concrete action if he wants to make a difference. The politics and sad state of affairs in our universities will not foster revolutionary thought. This is the time to encourage a new Green Revolution in Punjab, but the present conditions don’t seem to be conducive for that.

I sincerely hope that Dr Bajwa’s report on precision agriculture gets due attention and we can benefit from it. I also hope it is made public for the farmers and agricultural scientists.

COL. A. S. GILL (retd), Chandigarh

Free power

Apropos the editorial “Making PSEB powerful” (Sept. 9), it is unfortunate that politicians play gimmicks with the people of the state for their whimsical ends. This has brought the state at the edge of bankruptcy. Free power has benefited only the rich farmers. Had the government acted wisely to invest the amount it had lost in free power in the installation of solar water pumps, rain water harvesting and watertable recharge, Punjab by now would have become a water and electricity surplus state. Will our government ever think in terms of prosperity of the state? Or will the people always remain pawns in the power game?

Dr A.K. THUKRAL, GND University, Amritsar

Postal delays

The working of the Posts and Telegraph (P&T) Department in the Gagret area of Himachal Pradesh has registered a steep deterioration over the past few months. The postal authorities say HRTC buses engaged for carrying mail ply in the accursed area are painfully erratic. May I request the authorities to come to the rescue of the harried people?

TARA CHAND, Ambota (Una)

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