Pitfalls of higher education

Apropos of Mr Balraj Puri’s article “What is wrong with higher education?” (Oct 17), higher education is losing its relevance in the true sense of imparting knowledge. The present system is highly compartmentalised. In developed countries, a graduating student can chose many subjects of his/her interest irrespective of specialisation.

There ought to be infusion of interdisciplinarity at all levels of learning. A student should be given the liberty to chose any combination of subjects across streams.

Secondly, the present system acknowledges the failure of a student rather than his success. A student’s success should be rated on the basis of the credit hours (or number of papers) he has cleared out of the total required for a degree.

Thirdly, the practical component of the courses should be strengthened. School and college students rarely perform practicals either due to lack of facilities or no responsibility on the part of institutions. At the PG level, this lacuna could be filled through interaction between universities, industry and research bodies.

And finally, we should tell our young minds that they can shine well in any profession, not just in Civil Services. The Press and the polity have made the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) a role model. This attitude has to change. Didn’t great people like Sir C.V. Raman and Subhash Chandra Bose shun Civil Services?

Dr A.K. Thukral, Professor, GND University, Amritsar



The University Grants Commission has failed to check the haphazard growth of colleges and universities. While the politically appointed Vice-Chancellors run universities as their fiefdom, the teachers are neither knowledgeable nor committed to their profession.

In the present system, the teacher goes on lecturing to the students who simply listen to him/her. Instead of interaction and cross-fertilisation of ideas, the teacher issues communiques which the students receive, memorise and repeat. Let literacy and other programmes call for critical thinking and evaluation so that the quality of the responses change for the better. The universities should have a permanent planning and evaluation machinery, detached from the day-to-day administration. If we have to make realistic progress, we need a new strategy in higher education.

Anil Bhatia, DN College, Hisar

DD News: Revert to old timings

The Prasar Bharti has recently changed Doordarshan’s Metro Channel into DD News Channel. Metro Channel used to provide entertainment bereft of news and views. In its place, now DD News Channel beams news round the clock. Previously, the programmes telecast on Metro Channel were not visible without a cable connection in most areas of the country. So is the case of DD News Channel now.

With the advent of DD News Channel, the time duration of news bulletins of DD’s National Channel has been halved. The news bulletins at 8 pm in English and 8.30 pm in Hindi, each of 30 minutes earlier, have been reduced to 15 minutes each. These bulletins provided news and views of eminent journalists and experts in different areas. Whenever the one-dayer cricket matches are played between our national team and others, these bulletins are only telecast from DD News Channel. The viewers of those areas, where DD News Channel is not visible, have to go without news.

Doordarshan authorities should note that like Metro Channel in the past, DD News Channel programmes are not visible in most areas. So the duration of news-bulletins telecast from DD’s National Channel should not be reduced. Otherwise, many viewers will be at a loss to watch news and views. In the interest of the viewers, for news bulletins on DD’s National Channel, the authorities should revert to old timings.

Iqbal Singh, Kothuwan (Mandi)

Saudi-Pak N-deal

Apropos of the editorial “Saudi-Pak N-deal” (Oct 27), I think this piece of news garnered from established journalists in Pakistan could have a grain of truth. But to be fair it is mere speculation. In the early 1990’s, there were strong rumours that India was aiding Iran in acquiring nuclear status capability. The reason is that since Iran was a Shia country, India was aiding Iran to balance the growing nuclear might of Pakistan which was a Sunni country.

I am sure, Pakistan must be doing the same, as the editorial suggests, to counter an anti-Muslim axis between India and Israel by building a Muslim front against these two by aiding Saudi Arabia. I, however, feel that India’s security is best taken care of by not building an axis against Islam, or against any power. Germany and Japan in the past have completely destroyed themselves by creating military alliances. In a secular country like India, it would be best for our defence and foreign policymakers not to build alliances on religious grounds. Such a policy will weaken and eventually destroy India from within.

The editorial suggests that Pakistan got its missile technology from North Korea by giving it nuclear know-how. This may be true. It is also true that Pakistani nuclear scientists stole nuclear secrets from Holland to create a nuclear arsenal. However, I would like to confess that both India and Pakistan, being third world countries and former oppressed colonies, do not have a genius for invention.

Simranjit Singh Mann, MP (Lok Sabha) and President, Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar), Quilla (Fatehgarh Sahib)

Disposal of cases

This refers to Union Law Minister Arun Jaitley’s statement appreciating the performance of the Punjab and Haryana High Court in quick disposal of cases (Oct 31). It is said that each judge disposed of over 2,900 cases last year — a performance second only to Kerala High Court.

Looking to this impressive rate of disposal, may I request the Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court to inform as to whom the Regular Second Appeal No: 709 of 1986 pending in this court will be given the actual (date of) hearing? Since May 2000, this appeal has been placed on a fast track for senior citizens. The plaintiff-appellant and respondent No. 1 connected with this case, which is more than 28 years old, died awaiting hearing.

V.K. KAURA, Panchkula

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