Not feeling so good about ‘feel good’

The visible positive economic indicators — like growth rate, overflowing forex reserves, record exports, scorching improvements in infrastructure, our transition from a developing to a respected industrialised nation with highly trained manpower — should all make us feel good. That even Tony Blair has to advise his people to emulate Indians in pursuing higher education should now enable us to shed our left-over slave mentality, if any, and feel better. Then our growing military strength making us at least a regional super-power should be a matter of great pride and we should be feeling much better.

On the debit side, the foremost is our continued poverty and existence of social evils like casteism flourishing even under the folds of secularism, gender discrimination, fundamentalism etc. That we have not been able to provide education and social security to our people even 56 years after independence is a matter of shame. Every one must get a right to work. The BPL has to go much beyond merely flouting statistics. Education up to matriculation should be made compulsory.

Not only the government, but also the posh public schools must come forward to fulfil their social obligation towards the poor by providing free education to say 25-30 per cent of the students.




Lastly, corruption that has broken all records needs to be fought even with greater vigour than we have taken on terrorism. The bureaucratic set-up needs to be substantially down-sized and the remnants of the inspector-quota-middle-man raaj be dismantled.

— Air Cmde Raghubir Singh (retd), Pune

Students as robots

This refers to the article “Johl owes everything to his guru” (Jan 29). It is true that today students work like robots but they don’t have many options. Due to globalisation and a competitive market, one has to work like that and this is more important in India where supply is always more than demand.

The education system in India is like a wild sea. You have to hunt for your share in this vast and unorganised society. Relationship has changed between the teacher and the student, and to this extent everybody cares for his or her comfort.

My wife has a niece in India and she is only four. Last week her sister was upset because she couldn’t pass the entrance test for admission in one of the best English medium schools in Patiala. I was astonished. How could you be so upset if a four-year-old couldn’t pass the entrance test? Upset not because she won’t be able to go to one of the best schools but because her parents would feel low in their friends circle.

Parents think only English medium schools can give modern education. So I think we don’t need government schools. Now who is at fault? Parents or children?

— Rajan, Sydney (Australia)

Inspection system

While reviewing the progress of different departments at Shahpur (Kangra) the other day, Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh is reported to have stated that the old system of carrying out inspection of educational institutions would be revived for bringing efficiency, punctuality and improvement in the standard of education. The step seems overdue.

There is no gainsaying the fact that discontinuance or non-implementation of the inspection system has played havoc with the working of educational institutions in the state. In fact, myriad ills — lack of punctuality, lackadaisical classroom teaching, growing indiscipline and absenteeism among unscrupulous teachers etc — afflicting the temples of learning with an ever-increasing fury may safely be ascribed to the derailed inspection system.

Consequently, academic standards have, over the years, registered steep deterioration. The products being churned out these days by the sick institutions are woefully substandard and their placement in the socio-economic set-up poses a problem for the simple reason that the products are ill-backed and thus virtually unemployable.

I do hope that the Chief Minister means business and that he would forthwith give his plan a practical shape in a bid to improve matters on the vital educational front.

— TARA CHAND, Ambota (Una)

Peace first

The Republic Day parade showed a lot of missiles, radars, anti-tank guns and other aspects of the military might of India. We should show a “jhanki” of something depicting peace first and then “jhankies” of military might, proving that we want peace but, if need be, we have the guns also.

— SATISH WASAN, Jalandhar


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