Shooting in the dark?

Anil Wilson’s article, “Education and freedom” (Perspective, Feb 11) is a voyage to know the self. He has beautifully highlighted how our system of education should start with “survival learning” taking one to “creative learning”.

However, does the writer know how creative learning can ever be imagined where even survival learning is at stake? In his own university - the Himachal Pradesh University - the survival learning of students is put at stake!

The undergraduate students who have applied for the revaluation of their scripts in July, August and September 2006 are still waiting for their results. Should such students prepare for the same class whose revaluation result is still awaited? Or should they prepare for the next higher class for which they have yet to apply due to negligence on the part of the university officials?

The final examinations are to start from March 15. The practical exams have already started. When would such students apply for the university exams? When would they prepare for the exam? Who is responsible for their loss, the psychological tension and stress which they have been undergoing? And the Vice-Chancellor is talking of “creative learning” and “self”! Is he not just shooting in the dark?


Nagrota Bagwan (Kangra)


It was a thought-provoking article. It is a matter of grave concern that little has been done to reform and improve the education system for many decades. The education system is out of sync with the present-day society. Not a single university has shown courage to change the syllabus and make it job-oriented.

The writer has aptly pointed out that some of our skills that jobs today increasingly require are the ability to be think critically and effectively to know alternative forms of problem solving, to have cross-culture understanding and to have capability in authentic appreciation and expression. Hence, our experts and educationists must change the old and outdated syllabus to meet today’s requirements.



Deplorable conduct

Lt-Gen Baljit Singh’s write-up “Soldiers’ misconduct” (Perspective, Feb 4) was timely. The conduct of a few Army officers in Kolkata on the New Year eve 2007 is deplorable; it brought disgrace to the Army.

The cause of indiscipline in the defence officers’ cadre is not so much of their being overstretched in a war-like situation as the General would like us to believe but due to the faulty intake of the officers. The brats of senior defence officers get selected to the cadre, irrespective of their merit, to the ever-obliging brother officers.

To stem the rot, the selection through SSBs must be made more transparent. Due weightage should be accorded to IQ, EQ and SQ (Intelligent, Emotional and Spiritual quotient) rather than OLQ (Officer-like-qualities). The latter, it is felt, is possessed only by the senior officers’ children.


Forgotten PoWs

This refers to the heart-rending write-up “War of memory, Dead or Alive” by Simmi Waraich.

Pakistan deliberately did not declare the captured Indian soldiers as prisoners of war (PoWs) to bypass the Geneva Convention. Technically thus, they may be right when they deny holding any Indian PoWs, but that is unfair.

Our government should, therefore, stop using the nomenclature PoWs and seek return of our soldiers under whatever category they are being held. When they recall the haste shown by India in returning 93,000 Pakistani PoWs without ensuring reciprocal release of just 54 Indian soldiers, it adds to the agony of the affected families.

They are also sore that the Army and Air Force too seem to have forgotten their valiant men. n

C.L. SEHGAL,Jalandhar

Making RTI effective

I have read with interest Dr Raj Kumar Siwach’s article, “Making best use of RTI to empower people” (Sunday Oped, Feb 4). The Right to Information Act can play an important role in checking delays, inefficiency, corruption and self-aggrandisement which are corroding the governance and delivery systems in the country.

However, the bureaucracy has, by and large, taken this piece of legislation as another routine grievance redressal mechanism meant for societal satisfaction with cosmetic overtones. One does not find the names, designations and other information about the Public Information Officers and appellate authorities as well as basic information about the RTI displayed in each office or other public funded organisations covered by the RTI Act mandate despite the Haryana government’s notification in Feb 2006.

The Central and State Information Commissioners are not empowered to do anything as it is left to the sweet will of the authorities concerned to implement. The fee for providing information in Haryana is Rs 50 as against Rs 10 fixed by the Centre. The Haryana government must cut the fee.

Appointment of Information Commissioners should not be confined to superannuated bureaucrats alone but they should be drawn from all walks of life.




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