Saturday, December 28, 2002, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



Five-star universities: so many?

APROPOS the news item (Dec 23) that universities in Chandigarh and Punjab get five-star status, I have to submit as follows:

The National Assessment and Accreditation Council has been established to monitor and bring about qualitative changes in educational institutions of higher learning. The procedure includes preparation of self-appraisal report on a seven-point criteria, the validation of the report by the peers visiting the institution and then the final accreditation by the NAAC on the basis of the above two.

It is surprising that universities and colleges are getting five and four star ratings in a big way. There is now a growing scepticism about the way the self-appraisal reports are manipulated and the manner in which a review is conducted at the superficial level. It is not uncommon to hear that five-star treatment and expensive gifts are doled out to the visiting peers. As the time of inspection approaches, classroom teaching is given a good-bye and many “innovations” are introduced overnight to the surprise of the faculty and students.

It is also being generally heard that the NAAC is a placement body for retired university professors and teachers. The so-called presentation before the peer group is being cultivated as the high art of appeasement to overlook the loopholes. Even the students are tutored to speak very favourably for their institution and the faculty.

Instead of the university being rated as a whole, the individual departments should be accredited. Well meaning and above board teachers should be appointed as peers so that we know about the true state of affairs of our institutions and the academic world.’



1984 riots

“Sajjan acquitted in ‘84 riot case” made a remorseful headline in The Tribune (Dec 24). Justice is eventually based on the quality of evidence — which has so well been destroyed by the system.

Surely in a free country none can simply get away with cold blooded murder of more than 5,000 people — even if the tracks had been so well covered or traces have become faint after 18 years. The new commission would do well to identify the officials who conspired to hide the blood stains or those who instigated the lumpen elements and those who only failed to protect human lives that they were duty bound to do so. For example, it would not be too late even now to expose the inspiration behind DD to openly air “khoon ka badla khoon”.

The Sikh leadership of those days also cannot escape blame in failing to foresee the fallout of terrorism being run from the precinct of the holy shrines. They should have grasped clear signals emanating right in the early eighties of the ensuing game plan to polarise voting by using the community as pawn. The leadership must unite and show maturity at least now to separate religion from politics — since the latter has become too dirty to remain anywhere too close to the nobility of religion in the present times. They must also address to the acute problem of identity confusion in the post-11/9 world .

Communal killings should never get condoned or get time barred under any circumstances. Burning of innocent people in the Sabarmati express or in the post-Godhra riots or killing of Dalits are all equally heinous. The only way to prevent recurrence is to identify the rioters, their leadership, accomplices in the system and bring them to speedy justice through special courts. The suggestion of trial by an international dispensation for such killings by the new Nobel laureate for peace only highlights the growing impatience all over the world about pogroms and communal massacres.


Justice by choice?

THE swiftness and efficiency with which the December 13 Parliament attack case has been solved and the verdict (death penalty) of the court delivered upon the culprits really calls for a pat on the back of Delhi Police personnel.

There are numerous other cases which have been lingering for years to see the light of the day. The 1984 riots case, the tandoor case, the Jessica Lal murder case are just a few to name.

Will the Delhi Police come up to show the same efficiency and swiftness to get such cases to their final verdict in the days to come?

Hope, it won’t be a case of “justice by choice”.




Teachers’ plight

This refers to the letter, “Handover govt schools to private parties (Dec 12) by Mr Ram Pal Mahal and others from Amritsar district. There is no denying the fact that many schools in rural areas of the border districts don’t have even a single regular teacher and the maintenance of these schools is very poor. But, I don’t agree with them on their remarks that teachers do not come to schools on more than 50 working days. It seems that they have made such remarks without examining the true facts.

Primarily the job of the teacher is to impart education. Unfortunately, now a days they are being entrusted to carry out various incongruous jobs other than teaching work, which they are bound to do as government servants. In the current year alone, they had performed enumeration work throughout the state, besides preparing a supplementary voters’ list. Currently, science and math teachers are doing a survey of small-scale industries.

This grave misuse of government teachers in the past few years has badly affected the education process in government-run schools as compared to private schools. Hence, the dropout rate has increased considerably in this period.

In the current scenario, the state government’s claims for the last couple of years of introduction of English at the primary level or starting of computer education look ridiculous.


Modi and media

For the last many weeks all dailies of the country, leading magazines and radio and television news channels have been making Mr Modi as their main news item. He is splashed all over the media and has acquired the status of a demi-god who has slained some Ravana by winning the election. It is high time our media starts focusing on other issues of more relevance.

M.S. ANAND, Amritsar

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