Expanding higher education

This refers to Dr. Manmohan Singh’s article “Expanding higher education” (June25). The education system is failing to produce wealth creators and creative, intellectual leaders who are much needed in all sectors of society. The government needs to increase the number of quality institutes for higher education. All regulatory and bureaucratic hurdles that one faces in order to set up a new institute should be removed.

Qualitative improvement will require a three-fold attack on inputs, the processes and the output. The inputs are students, the admission procedure, the fee structure and infrastructure available. The processes are teaching methods employed by the institute, the curriculum, faculty and evaluation methods.


The output is the total number of graduates and the quality of these graduates, their analytical, reasoning and problem-solving skills, their communication and leadership skills. A serious attempt to improve these three variables will help in getting rid of some of the ills that grip our higher education system.

Dr.Mandeep Singh, Yamunanagar


This refers to the news item “30 new varsities, college in each dist planned” (June 23). Time has come for the government to invest in higher education, given the country’s 8 per cent growth rate. In academics, research is the way to go. India contributes to less than 2 per cent of world research.

Our education system has failed to the extent bright students do not opt for “pure subjects” which shape a citizenry’s mind and intellect. Students prefer “career-oriented” courses.

With this scenario how can India come up with cutting-edge research or even meet the demands of a balanced society? After all, society needs good journalists, social workers, psychologists, social scientists, and not just engineers and managers.

Private funding for pure science research or the arts will not be forthcoming. Unlike the IT revolution, the impending “innovation revolution” requires a strong government backing for the pure knowledge sector.

The onus lies on the government. Its initiative to allow pockets of excellence to emerge will surely alter the moribund academic landscape of India.



Affirmative action

This refers to the report “Equal opportunities, not quota: Ratan Tata” (June15). The suggestion made by Ratan Tata to enhance the employability and sharpening of entrepreneurial skills of SCs/STs/ OBCs in place of reservations in jobs carries weight. It is an affirmative action. The suggestion will utlitimately achieve the objective of uplift of the disadvantageous sections of society.

Business houses as part of their social responsibility should establish institutions of science, technology and management and manage them properly and admit students from the weaker sections.

PURAN SINGH, Nilokheri B.M.Singh, Amritsar 

Crusader with a cause

Two years ago on June 28 India lost a dynamic crusader who worked till his dying moment for the concerns of the common man. Multifarious difficulties that crores of Indians faced in day-to-day living troubled Mr H.D. Shourie, Director, Common Cause, bringing him into action to fight battles in courts for decades.

Notable on the list of issues he fought successfully were pensions, property tax, unauthorised colonies, iodised salt, strikes by banks and lawyers, railway accidents and MPs’ allowances. One cause that had its origin in Chandigarh, but had its impact on the entire country was the unsatisfactory functioning of blood banks.

Chandigarh’s Blood Bank Society had set a precedent in India of obtaining blood for transfusion from safe sources i.e. voluntary donors only. The society approached Mr Shourie to take up the issue of safe blood under the wings of Common Cause. His reaction was immediate and, of course, positive.

But he wanted us to provide material to show malpractices prevalent in the functioning of blood banks. It took Dr Man Mohan Kaur and me one year to gather reports from blood banks in various parts of India. A distressing picture emerged of poor and diseased people selling their blood every week instead of every three months, outdated blood being issued to patients and dilution of blood with water.

Mr Shourie moved the Supreme Court. At the age of 80 plus, he personally argued the case, the outcome of which was a judgement banning professional blood sellers and commercial blood banks in the country.


Sunita Williams

We often get irrational while performing mass prayers on special occasions like for saving the life of Kalpana Chawla or Pramod Mahajan or for a win in the World Cup. Consider the case of Sunita Williams. She is an American-born naval pilot whose mother is a Slovenian and father a Gujarati, now a U.S. citizen like his daughter. Sunita has total loyalty for her country of birth with an appreciable regard for her Indian roots.

Our prayers woefully narrowed down to the wishful safe landing for Sunita only, negating the importance and moral obligation towards her other colleagues, equally exposed to risk and danger.



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