Wednesday, July 2, 2003, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


Vocational courses bereft of challenge and direction

Dr Amrik Singh's views regarding vocationalisation of courses are educative and thought-provoking (June 13). Some of the vocational courses initiated by the University Grants Commission during the past decade have proved futile. These were suggested, laid down and processed through perhaps by arm-chair reformers and were bereft of the challenges and prospects.

The fanfare with which these were started did not serve the purpose. Crores of rupees went down the drain because of the poor and shabby output. Notable was the vocational course in seed technology. After graduation, the opening for the students for higher studies or admission to MA/ M.Sc in any faculty was not possible, for the minimum requisite qualification was the completion of all the three traditional compulsory papers of graduation with merit score. No credit for the opted for UGC-sponsored vocational paper on seed technology was provided.

Being unable to seek admission to M.A/ M.Sc, the students of the vocational course, even after the attainment of proficiency in the paper, cursed the institutions which prompted them to opt for the vocational paper. Repeated requests to the UGC by the principals of the colleges to issue tacit guidelines to the universities for admission of such students to higher courses were of no avail.



A thorough review of the problem by experts, a clear-cut avenue for higher studies with due credit for the vocational papers, close rapport with the universities directing them to earmark a few seats in the higher courses for those completing the vocational course, periodic rescheduling of the syllabi in consultation with the teachers of repute of the respective faculties, regular guidance by experts and meeting the cost of maintenance of infrastructure and establishment will make the vocational courses realistic and meaningful.

Hopefully, the current vocational courses of Bachelor of Business Administration and Bachelor of Computer Application do not meet the fate of seed technology course.



Dr Amrik Singh has rightly pointed out that our colleges function like “youth clubs” these days (June 13). However, he has not given any concrete suggestions for their improvement. Call it “baby sitting” or give it any other name, our colleges and universities are still providing education to those few who are really interested. We are unable to provide jobs to the youth for various reasons.

I remember when we were young, while watching even a worst movie, we never would leave the hall, though would keep grumbling, even if the AC is put off. We would continue sitting in sweltering heat till the end of the show to have our full “paisa wasool”! Similarly, while having a “thali” at a restaurant, most of us would eat everything served on the platter, irrespective of its taste or needs of the tummy! In today’s highly competitive commercial world, while buying any product, one always looks for some scheme that provides an additional gift or at least a rebate.

At the educational shops, however, things are different. Here students pay hefty fee for being taught and then protest vociferously against attending classes. Things will change only when students would also ask not only for the deliverance of 100 per cent lectures, for which they pay, but also for some additional teaching hours as a bonus. However, this will not happen till the fee is paid by their ignorant, over ambitious and overprotective parents.

Till then, educational institutions should also wear a complete commercial look; they should strike off names of only those erring students who do not pay dues in time, and forget about compulsive attendance in this regard. Thus, they would at least be free from the headache of facing meaningless student agitations.

This will not last long as things are changing for the better. A rather long voyage of educational means, from traditional learning through a well-regarded guru-shishya-prampara to the present on-net-on-payment instant/distant education well illustrates the changing ‘fundas’ of our education.

But before thinking of improvements at the college and university level, we have to make our school education not only better but also available to all. Even though India’s first education policy was passed in 1968, over 100 million children in the country are yet to go to school.

BALVINDER, Principal, Government College for Boys, Chandigarh

Making Punjab Police effective

In his report “Punjab Police gets top heavy” (June 23), Mr Prabhjot Singh has drawn attention to the fact that the police administration in Punjab is top heavy. Corruption in this department has also increased at all levels.

Before Partition, there was only one IGP for the whole of old and undivided Punjab. The area of population was almost double that of today’s Punjab in India. On August 1, 2003, there will be five DGPs, 14 ADGPs and 20 IGPs besides a large number of DIGs. The senior officers have a genuine concern that they hardly have any work to do.

The working of this department needs to be streamlined. The DGP should head every police division in Punjab, IGP every district and DIG cities with a population of 5 lakh and above. The ADGPs should be made controllers of traffic. The security of ministers, VIPs and top police officers may be entrusted to Superintendents of Police and Senior Superintendents of Police. This arrangement will solve the problem of the police department and of officers who have no work to do.


Writing on the wall

Apropos of Mr Subash Khanna's letter "Death-knell for clubs" (June 20), the writer has marshalled feather-weight arguments on an issue which is heavy-weight in its social significance and also in view of the historicity it has come to acquire under the Act of 1964 as mentioned. The question raised as to the object sought to be achieved by the contemplated order has an elementary answer that every enactment has a preamble incorporating the statement of objects which in turn will mutatis mutandis form part of the consequential notification issued thereunder.

As to the salient features enumerated by the writer that the presence of these clubs within Ram bagh precincts keeps away the drug addicts and anti-social elements and about augmenting the flora and fauna of the area look specious when counterbalanced by the quantum of toxic fumes emitted by hundreds of cars of members, copious smoke and carbon coming out of their kitchen chimneys and tonnes of garbage thrown out by them. The less said about the public perception on the club life of the members, the better. I am also a member of one city club. The days when such clubs had tennis and badminton courts and other outdoor games are remembrances of the nostalgic lanes of the past.

All these clubs have the local Deputy Commissioner as ex-officio chief. So all the correspondence and replications to notices have to be done by his express or implied consent. Moreover, the matter now falls within the domain of both the Central and state governments, particularly after the statement of Union Minister for Culture Jagmohan during a visit to the city where he approved the shifting of these clubs. In the existing circumstances, the best thing these clubs can do is to read the writing on the wall and to arrive at a modus vivendi with the government in order to evolve a respectable and acceptable solution out of this imbroglio.

It may interest The Tribune readers to know that all the Freemasonry Lodges of Amritsar were tenants in Maharaja Ranjit Singh Hall for more than 70 years and were regularly holding their meetings there. About 30 years ago, when they were asked to shift under similar circumstances, they vacated the premises without a demur.

R.C. KHANNA, Amritsar

Security contract

The tender opening for security contract at the Snow and Avalanche Study Establishment (SASE), Sector 37, Chandigarh, was a rude shock to the bidders. Though this is a defence related organisation, the individual tenders were not opened in the presence of all the bidders. The tenders were opened in camera and the lowest bidders were also decided in camera. When asked what was the lowest bid, they were categorically told that this was highly confidential. What a farce!

Why were the bidders called for a "public tender opening"? The organisation could have simply asked for quotations and decided on the lowest quotation. If this is the case with a defence related organisation, god save others.

P.R. BAKSHI, Eagle Hunter Solution Ltd, Panchkula


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