The malaise afflicting govt schools

Hundreds of government middle, high and senior secondary schools have shown pass percentage ranging between zero and 15. Nearly three lakh boys and girls have failed. The share of government schools among meritorious students is less than 2 per cent. In qualitative and quantitative achievements, the government schools are at the lowest ebb. The village schools are the hardest hit.

Two contributory factors to this abysmal malaise are the absence of needed infrastructure including teachers and the government’s indifferent attitude. The National Sample Survey 2000-01 points out that eight out of 10 eligible children enrolled do not complete secondary levels. A recent government study shockingly points out that 70 per cent of children in the 6-14 age group fail to do even single digit additions. The alarmingly low grade of education provided in government schools has given rise to the phenomenon of teaching shops even in villages.

The government schools give free but shoddy education and private schools dispense poor education at a hefty price. Only a few elite city schools provide quality education, but being very costly it is beyond the reach of poor sections of society.

To ensure education of equitable quality, the government has to adopt a common school system recommended by the Kothari Commission and repeatedly endorsed by the Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE). One wonders why the government is sleeping over this important issue. Poor and rural children also need quality education as is being provided to their counterparts in elite schools. This is the minimum what the Constitution, particularly the Preamble, ordains.

Dr T.R. SHARMA, Patiala


Jolt to peace

This has reference to the news-item, “Top Lankan General assassinated” (June 27). The killing of the Deputy Chief of Sri Lankan Army, General Paramikulatunga, by a suspected LTTE suicide bomber is a great blow to the peace process. That the killing has come after President Mahinda Rajapakse’s message to the Tigers seeking talks indicates their attitude. They do not 
believe in peace.

Unless the LTTE gives up violence, there is no hope of a solution to the problem in the island nation. India and the international community must stand by the Sri Lankan government in its fight against terrorism. President Rajapakse should also mobilise the support of the international community and marginalise the outfit.


Narmada project

B.G. Verghese’s article “The large vision: Use Sardar Sarovar money to help oustees” misleads the public of the benefits of the project and the progress of rehabilitation. The Narmada Bachao Andolan completed 20 years of struggle last year with a massive rally in Barwani. This surprised all detractors of the NBA’s support. How can a movement continue for a long time without losing people’s support?

The project’s benefits are also overstated. The Gujarat government claims that the drinking water will reach some 8,100 villages. Mr Verghese now claims benefit to 9,000 villages. The CAG reports clearly stated that not more than 600 villages have received drinking water. The government has no money to build the system as it is outside the SSP project’s budget.

The power component of 1450 MW is also a myth because of the canal design and river bed power houses. The massive submergence being caused by the SSP and Narmada Sagar Project has no parallel in dam building history because of the flat area of Nimar behind the dam.


Consumer world

It’s all a consumer world today. Nobody knows how to earn but everyone knows how to spend. Actually, multinational companies want to change our dreams into needs. That’s why, they have spread their glamour trap around the whole world. We have forgotten about our actual needs. We are wasting money on things that are quite useless for us. This is a grave problem.

As ours is a developing country, it is very important to save public wealth. We should be aware about our actual needs so that we spend money judiciously and in the right direction.


Overcrowded coaches

I had a chance to travel by the Uchhar Express on June 10 in S-7 coach with reservation. I returned by the same train on June 11 in S-4 coach with reservation. During both journeys, I was shocked to note that the 75-berth compartment was occupied by almost 150 passengers! All the additional passengers were sleeping on the floor.

The TTE just paid a visit, checked the tickets and didn’t tackle the unauthorised passengers.

HARMEET KAUR, Tripuri (Patiala)


Diluting the concept of marriage

MARRIAGE under the Hindu law is sacrosanct as it is based on bilateral consent, mutual trust, love and respect. It is not a contract as under the Mohammadan law. So any monetary consideration, incentive or allurement for marriage of spouses of higher castes or inter-castes of dalits with upper castes, patronised either by individual, association or the government, is not only illegal but also unethical.

The Haryana government’s decision to award Rs 50,000 for Dalit-upper caste marriage is in contravention of the basic concept of marriage under the Hindu law. I am not against an inter-caste marriage if it is on mutual consent, trust, love and respect. Therefore, the government’s incentive is aimed at wooing the voters.

APARAJITA, Jalandhar



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