High time to reform education

A J. PHILIP’s article, “Educating India: Free schools from the stifling law” (June 27) is dedicated towards the promotion of education but the arguments raise many questions to ponder over the consequences of scrapping the state education Acts.

For a good educational environment, the schools will have to conform to specified standards. No one can be allowed to open any school in unsafe, unhygienic and spatially inadequate conditions. In the absence of any legal authority, how can it be trusted that the new school will sustain to get students’ education completed up to the required level? Who will take the undertaking that fees will be charged reasonably? And who will check that the school imparts education quantitatively and qualitatively on democratic and secular lines?

The topic should be further debated. It is better if we check and control bureaucracy and corruption and do our best to implement the Education Act in its true spirit. Clearly, government schools are not up to the mark and we must put pressure on the government to improve quality through all democratic agencies.




Government schools are the last resort of the poor students. As the government cares two hoots about these schools, standards are falling and there is no quality education. And who are the policymakers? Political cronies and retired headmasters are appointed as chairmen of the Board of School Education and various other committees.

They always feed wrong information to the Chief Minister and the result is there for all to see. Highly qualified teachers are paid just Rs 1,000 as salary. One can well understand the standard of education! Politics has vitiated the educational system. If education should improve in government schools, we must check political interference first.



I doubt whether philanthropists would be able to reform education. There may be notable exceptions, but if a group of philanthropists get together and set up a school with the purpose of educating the poor, I don’t know whether the experiment will succeed.

In many cases, the so-called philanthropists are hardcore businessmen. How can they understand the values of education? Their sole motive is to make money through their business venture, call it school or college.

Examples galore, in Delhi (as in other places), these philanthropists hoodwink the government and hijack the State Education Acts. They assign the posts of school chairman, manager and principal to their kith and kin, manage to get government land at highly concessional rates and set up schools by hook or by crook.

Lt-Col ONKAR CHOPRA (retd), New Delhi


Honestly speaking, I abhor periodic protests by teachers for salary hike. It does not go with their archetypal image, which shuns the material pursuit. Historically (remember Socrates) as well as in literature, great teachers have practiced austerity, their sole motto being, ‘learn and teach happily’.

It, however, needs to be emphasised that the teacher should be given enough financial support to make both ends meet. I don’t know whether the writer is aware of the fact that in most schools, especially in rural areas, teachers are paid a pittance - a monthly salary of Rs 500 or even less. In such a scenario, how can one improve standards in the schools and reform the education system?

AKHILESH, Birampur (Hoshiarpur)


I endorse the writer’s view that the Education Act, instead of promoting literacy and education, is making schools dens of corruption, politics, gossip and sleaze. Government school teachers don’t work. Absenteeism is the order of the day in most rural schools. There is virtually no monitoring and it is a free for all.

As poor students cannot afford to study in convent schools, drastic reforms are needed to improve the quality of teaching in government schools. Admittedly, the government schools should emulate the standards set by the Kendriya Vidyalayas in faculty recruitment, infrastructure building, academic discipline and quality of teaching.


Upgrade railway hospital

Despite several appeals, the railway authorities have not yet upgraded Ludhiana’s Railway Hospital. Upgradation is a must to cater to the health needs of 36,000 railway employees and pensioners.

There is no provision in this hospital for TMT, heart, ultrasound, lipid profile, MRI and CT scanning tests. The medicines supplied are also inferior. The railways sends patients to its hospitals in New Delhi or Ferozepur even for minor tests. The cost of the railway passes issued to the patients on medical grounds is much more than the cost of the treatment and tests. Why cannot these tests be arranged at the Ludhiana hospital itself?

The hospital should be fully equipped with specialists in medicine, surgery and heart diseases. The services of visiting doctors from local recognised hospitals can also be requisitioned. The Railway Minister, the Railway Board Chairman and the Northern Railway GM should intervene.

SHER SINGH, Ludhiana 



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