What ails our educational institutions

The article “Towards knowledge society: Merit must guide academic selection” (Nov 28) was timely. The focus in engineering colleges is on quantity, not on quality. Earlier, there were only two or three engineering colleges, namely, Punjab Engineering College, Chandigarh, Guru Nanak Engineering College, Ludhiana and Thaper Engineering College, Patiala. Now, there are 42 engineering colleges!

Worse, there is no qualified and experienced staff in most of these colleges. The staff must be selected through a selection committee, not on individual basis. Moreover, the internal assessment marks given to the students are not based on any scientific criteria.

ASHOK BHANOT, Jalandhar Cantonment



The writer has rightly said that after Independence, the Indian education system is deteriorating despite various committees, commissions and mushrooming of engineering, medical and business colleges. These institutions don’t have adequate infrastructure and they admit students with low percentage of marks.

An integrated social science module should be introduced as no Indian institution is figuring in the top 20 worldwide. We don’t have technical job-oriented institutions. Schools, colleges and universities produce students with bookish knowledge.

Our students are far behind in research and education. As a result, our scholars could not win even a single Noble Prize in the last 60 years. On the contrary, a small country like the Netherlands has won 20 noble prizes and the US over 250 noble prizes so far.


Warning ignored

Please refer to your news item, “Witness says Air India warning ignored” (Dec 9). The Justice John Major Commission of enquiry into the unfortunate Kanishka disaster should be more broad based and not confined to Canada only.

When Prof William Leiss, a risk analysis expert of University of Ottawa, has confirmed that the Canadian government was receiving important tips about an impending disaster why wasn’t it taken seriously?

The ghost of Kanishka will not evaporate till the Major Commission enquires into the Canadian Intelligence files of the communication traffic emanating from the Indian diplomats in Canada and what instructions they were receiving from New Delhi or their masters back home.

SIMRANJIT SINGH MANN, President, Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar), Patiala

Education and politics

Dr Jaspal Singh’s appointment as the Vice-Chancellor of Punjabi University, Patiala, raises a few questions. Is he a nominee of Punjab’s ruling coalition that we have half a dozen of its leaders felicitating him on his assumption of office? Is this show at all necessary when a similar new appointee abroad quietly walks into his office, signing the “assumption of office” register and then getting on with the job entrusted to him?

Is it necessary for the SGPC President, whose main job is the stewardship of the Gurudwaras, to be honouring a VC with a saropa? The Chancellor can compliment a VC by all means, but why the president of a body like the SGPC?

No offence meant to Dr Jaspal Singh, but the Sikhs should be more selective with their saropas, keeping it down to exceptional figures in contemporary times and history for excellence in community service and self-sacrifice. Should not saropas be presented within the precincts of a Gurudwara rather than on each and every platform?

Maj-Gen HIMMAT SINGH GILL (retd), Chandigarh 

Only on merit

I read the report “Varsity registrar posts politicised” (Nov 30). The Haryana Governor is duty bound to act in accordance with law. The university is bound by the rule of law and cannot be a law unto itself.

The state universities should have followed and applied the minimum norms prescribed by the UGC in the matter of appointment of Registrar who must be selected and appointed on merit and not on extraneous considerations. However, the Haryana Governor seems to have succumbed to political pressure.

In a leading case, the Supreme Court ruled, “when the Act prescribes a particular body to exercise a power, it must be exercised only by that body. It cannot be exercised by others unless it is delegated. The law must also provide for such delegation”.

The apex court in the case State Inspectors of Police Vishakhapatnam vs Surya Sankaram has held that any order without jurisdiction is a nullity. All subsequent proceedings are also a nullity.

Dr SHALINI SINGH, University College, Kurukshetra

Promote Urdu

I am an avid Urdu fan. Sadly, this beautiful language is gradually dying. No efforts are being made to promote it though it has contributed as much as any other language to Indian culture, society and history.

The Urdu literature represents centuries of history and culture of the land. No serious work can be undertaken on India without a firm knowledge of Urdu. Many of India’s greatest thinkers wrote exclusively in Urdu. It is, therefore, essential that scholars were trained in the language to study their thoughts more deeply. Bollywood and many literary pursuits have their foundations in Urdu.

India has a vast native Urdu-speaking population which has the basic right to sound education in its own language, The secret to Urdu’s survival or revival in India lies in education. It must be given an equal status by official bodies and educational institutions. Ample awareness needs to be created in Indian society.

SWATANTER DEV ARIF, Rampura Phul (Bathinda)

Underweight bags

Underweight paddy bags are too common in Bathinda. True, though reputed companies declare the weight of their products, it never matches the real weight. Most often, goods are underweight and are passed on to customers. We should have an effective enforcement machinery to ensure correct weights.

P. K. GUPTA, Bathinda



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