Education must get highest priority

Apropos the article “State of education in Punjab”, undoubtedly education has been the most neglected field in Punjab. Politician’s children do not require good education to be politiciansand bureaucrats children study in Chandigarh and abroad. If we want to improve matters, mere tinkering here and there will not do. What is needed is a wholesale transformation to face the overarching challenges of future.

In a technologically advanced and globalsociety, education requirements will only grow more rigorous. The first and foremost is the quality of teachers — not so much the academic qualifications as teaching skills or demonstrated effectiveness in the classrooms. To that end they should be appointed on probation and only after assessment of their performance be confirmed.   To give all children and not only of the elite a fair chance for a rewarding life over the coming decades, we need to give them government schools which meet the future needs. Education must get the highest priority and adequate funds. Education and skills will bring prosperity.




In his article on the state of education in Punjab, Lt-Gen Harwant Singh (retd) has rightly exposed the “true” state of affairs in the “best state” of India after 60 years of Independence.

It has been rightly observed that to be an education minister you need not be educated. I would like to add that to be a minister in any field, or for that matter even to be an MP, no minimum qualification has been laid down in the Constitution.

In my opinion education should be handed over to the military. New teachers should be employed on contract forone year and their contract should be renewed for another year only if they show results.



BPO workers’ health

The Health Ministry’s concern over the health hazards faced by BPO workers and NASSCOM’s objections to the singling out of BPO workers are both valid. There is growing evidence of health hazards that afflict shift workers, but shift work is not limited to the BPO units alone.

Many road traffic and industrial accidents are believed to be due to individual drowsiness and fatigue, which could result from lack of adequate rest, drug abuse etc. These issues should be addressed by a combination of legislative and educative measures.

Individual health concerns of shift workers can be and should be addressed by the employers as a part of the duty to care and as a measure to enhance performance and productivity. Measures like improved ergonomics of the work place, intelligent rostering, a provision for short naps and pre-employment checks to identify individual susceptibility are being used by employers to counter these hazards.

Dr Himanshu Garg, Melbourne (Australia) 


We often read about court-martials in the media these days. These involve mostly officers of Colonel’s rank and above. The charges in most cases pertain to moral turpitude, corruption or outright misuse of power and authority. Undoubtedly, the accused officers deserve severest possible punishment for having brought a bad name to the defence services in the public eye.

There was a time when the public had a high regard for a soldier. A cadet, when he passed out from the military academy, was not only looked upon as a polished officer but also as a thorough gentleman. No longer.

My civilian friends now jokingly say that seeing the calibre of some of the present-day officers, we are inclined to think that it is easier to become an officer but difficult to be a gentleman.



In Punjab the RTI Act is not being implemented in letter and spirit by the State Information Commission. The SIC has become a rehabilitation centre for retired bureaucrats.

To ensure proper implementation of the RTI Act, it is necessary to make changes regarding the appointment of State Information Commissioners. Instead of bureaucrats (retired/serving) and political appointees, the SICs should have retired judges or officers from the defence forces.

A committee consisting of the President, the Vice-President, the Chief Justice of India and the Governor of the state concerned should be authorised to select persons of their choice from these categories.


Anand’s victory

Hats off to Viswanathan Anand. It is a historic moment for every Indian. He has made Indians proud across the world. India has been on a roll, and this is in line with the Nehru Cup football, the Asia Cup hockey, the world billiards title, T20  and now chess.

After his victory, Anand said: “Let’s see what kind of reception I get”. Anand must remember that in India people can go mad about cricket because it’s a simple business and the money involved is huge. Hence the countrymen would not give Anand the same grand reception as they had extended to the Twenty20 World Cup winning cricketers.

Yes, sports lovers hope that the government recognises his achievement in a proper way. Also it is high time that Indians overcome their obsession with cricket and give other sports and sportspersons the respect and importance they deserve.

Bidyut Kumar Chatterjee, Faridabad



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