Fight illiteracy with zeal
Jasvinder Sharma

EDUCATION is an essential component of human resource development and an indispensable tool for learning and communication. It is a precondition for the growth of an individual as well for a nation. However, in the 21st century, overcoming the problem of illiteracy is one of the most pressing challenges facing the world because nearly one-third of the world’s population still can’t read and write.

‘Groom kids for future career’
Raman Mohan

SOLDIER-turned-leading career counsellor Maj Gen P. K. Saighal (retd) says there is a need to inculcate the spirit of entrepreneurship in schoolchildren to change the mindset from working for an organisation to setting up their own businesses.

Campus NoteS




Fight illiteracy with zeal
Jasvinder Sharma

EDUCATION is an essential component of human resource development and an indispensable tool for learning and communication. It is a precondition for the growth of an individual as well for a nation. However, in the 21st century, overcoming the problem of illiteracy is one of the most pressing challenges facing the world because nearly one-third of the world’s population still can’t read and write.

Photo by Kuldip Dhiman

According to a UNESCO report, 98 per cent of illiterate people live in the Third World. Africa has the highest rate of illiteracy at 54 per cent of the adult population as compared to 36 per cent in Asia and 17 per cent in Latin America. The majority of adults who are illiterates are women. A research has shown that there is a close relationship between adult illiteracy and other indicators of quality of life.

Countries with high illiteracy rates have high infant mortality rate, undernourishment, low life expectancy and less per capita income. Though literacy is not the final remedy for all these ills, it does foster a spirit of enquiry and provides an opportunity to move in the right direction. In spite of significant growth in the educational infrastructure network and enhanced enrolments at the school level, the goal of universalisation of elementary education in most of these regions still remains a distant dream.

This is primarily due to the rapid increase in the number of children in the schooling age group. On the one hand, the percentage of literates is growing but on the other, the absolute size of illiterate population is also increasing. Education tends to have an inverse relationship with the population growth rate. It may influence fertility directly or indirectly. There may be a direct influence in the form of altering behaviour pattern and attitude towards small family norms. Indirect influences may be in the form of urbanisation, rate of female employment and age of marriage. Formal education is widely accepted as one of the social instruments to help solve problems of population growth.

Progress in education and differential changes in the state of development across and within a region are a function of complex interplay between a large number of socio-economic and geo-political variables. Therefore, for each and every stage of educational progress and development transition, there is a need to understand and explore a package of interacting variables. These are compatible with the existing and prospective social, economic and political environment.

Recently, efforts were made to link the rise of mass literacy with economic development during the industrial revolution in Europe. It has been accepted that the rise in literacy and educational level was the basic cause of economic growth. Current research seems to contradict such an assertion by showing the same countries like Sweden had a high rate of literacy well before the industrial revolution.

On the contrary, the UK had a rather low rate of literacy during the period of rapid economic growth. Increased education and literacy in the UK were made possible by the growth of technology which allowed more time for schooling of children.

There is definite correlation between poverty and literacy. There is a reason to believe that poverty reinforces illiteracy by forcing parents and children to work full time, earning their living at low-level unskilled jobs and thus forgoing schooling and other forms of education.

Illiteracy in turn reinforces poverty, forming part of the complex of deprivation and discrimination called the “culture of poverty”. This is important because illiteracy is taken as being lack of education or more specifically the lack of reading and writing. It is related with poverty and causes low share of assets and high illiteracy rate. As poverty declines, asset shares increase and illiteracy rate declines.

The essence of literacy is the skill to read and write. Literacy brings the reader in touch with modern, scientific and non-traditional knowledge. It sharpens consciousness and adds potential to the individual’s capacity for participation. In Kenya, hundreds of people die each year because they cannot read the labels on chemical fertilisers and poisonous pesticides they routinely use in their fields.

Literacy is an important tool for economic survival. It increases the effectiveness of all transactions made by the literate in his/her environment. The newly literate farmers have learnt entrepreneurship and management skills.

Literacy has changed the social psychology of the family, for its literate member are not vulnerable to the outsider as they can read their letters, bills, deeds and contracts on their own. However, the question is if literacy is such a virtue, then why do we refuse to recognise it? Maybe we always look up to political leaders to catalyse social demands and social needs.

According to UNESCO estimates, women form 63 per cent of illiterate population. Quite rightly, the Algerian reformer Ibn Badis observed, “Educate a boy and you educate one person. Educate a girl and you educate a nation.”

‘Groom kids for future career’
Raman Mohan

SOLDIER-turned-leading career counsellor Maj Gen P. K. Saighal (retd) says there is a need to inculcate the spirit of entrepreneurship in schoolchildren to change the mindset from working for an organisation to setting up their own businesses.

Maj-Gen P. K. Saighal (retd)
Maj-Gen P. K. Saighal (retd)

The General who has so far held workshops in more than 300 schools after his retirement from the Army said the Indian mindset still inclined towards securing a job after completing studies. That was why there was so much demand for new jobs in every field. It was time the young chose to set up their own enterprises and follow the examples set by the likes of Dhirubhai Ambani, Om Parkash Jindal and Ram Nath Goenka to name a few.

He says children can rise to any level provided they remain focused and develop a strong character. He says they should develop special attributes that help turn ordinary children into Amitabh Bachchan, Ratan Tata, Indira Nooyi, Vishwanathan Anand and the likes.

Maj Gen Saighal says the education system still did not make students aware of newer opportunities available to them in these modern times. That’s why they remained unfocused in so far as choice of career was concerned. He finds the college students too facing the same dilemma.

He thinks that the parental and teacher mindsets remained mired in their own times. They too are not aware of the sea of new careers awaiting the young in the country in the post-globalisation era. There was therefore a need to create awareness among students, especially at the school level, which is the right age to harness a child’s interests for his future career, he says.

Important sectors like hospitality, civil aviation, maritime operations and other tourist related sectors are expected to throw open millions of jobs over the next few years. The tourism sector alone will require around a million skilled people in the next few years when tourism traffic in India grows.

Likewise insurance, retail, business process outsourcing and knowledge process outsourcing were fields that would keep opening new avenues for the young Indians nearing completion of their schooling. Textiles are another growing field which is growing rapidly. There has been a 350 per cent growth in the industry after the quota system was scrapped by the WTO three years ago. India will be a big player in this sector in the future. Future engineers, designers and other professionals can look forward to joining this field.

The armed forces offer the young a rewarding and fulfilling career. He said the forces offered great working environment and challenging assignments. Though salaries were not as good as that in the private sector, the working environment compensated for all that. The next pay panel is expected to solve the problem of low salaries in the forces and this will make soldiering a doubly rewarding profession.

Maj Gen Saighal says students should not yield to peer pressure when choosing their careers. They should choose a career depending upon their interest. Only then one can ensure a happy future, he adds.


Campus NoteS
CCS Haryana Agricultural University, Hisar

70 scientists honoured

As many as 70 scientists of Haryana Agricultural University were honoured for their contribution to evolving new crop varieties. They were given citations by Vice-Chancellor J. C. Katyal during a one-day seminar on ‘Genetic Improvement of Crops for Higher Production’, held here recently.

Katyal said university scientists had new challenges before them as population was rising and they had to develop better varieties to feed the future population. As such scientists would have to refine and fine-tune their research strategies. 

He said at the same time they would also have to find solutions to problems posed by global warming and new plant diseases and pest infestation.

Katyal also felicitated 14 scientists who have been awarded research projects. Several members of the non-teaching staff were also given citations for their good work.

Guru Jambheshwar University of Science and Technology, Hisar

Civic reception for Vice-Chancellor

Dr R. P. Bajpai who has been shifted as Vice-Chancellor of Kurukshetra University was accorded a civic reception here in a joint function organised by Haryana Progress Initiative, Humanist Movement, Vishwa Bharti Kisan Jagriti Shikshan Sansthan and Hisar Citizens’ Forum among others.

The citation awarded to Bajpai lauded his role in taking GJU further and establishing it as a first-rate university. He was also presented with a shawl and a turban as a mark of respect and honour.

In his address, Bajpai said the 21st century would be the century of knowledge. The society would have to take up new knowledge initiatives to give itself a new direction. To achieve this, it was necessary to inculcate a spirit of discipline and unity.

He said he remained emotionally attached to the city and thanked the people for their love and cooperation.

Contributed by Raman Mohan 



Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore 560012 (Kar)

1) Research Programmes (PhD & MSc (Engg) 2) Course Programmes (ME / MTech / MDesign) 3) Integrated PhD 4) External Registration Program (PhD & MSc / PhD only)

Selection: IISc Entrance Test: 27 April 2008

Application Form: Send Rs 700/- (For 1 – 3) Rs 1500/- (For 4) by DD favouring “Registrar, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore” to the Deputy Registrar (Academic) at the above address by 19 March 2008. (Also available at designated branches of Canara Bank) / download from website.

Details: Employment News (26 January – 01 February 2008) / Website

Application Deadline: 24 March 2008

Indian Institution of Industrial Engineering, NHQ, IIIE Bhavan, Sector 15, Plot No 103, CBD Belapur, Navi Mumbai 400614 (Mah)

Graduateship in Industrial Engineering (as external student) (AIU / GoI recognized as equivalent to BE / BTech in Industrial Engg)

Eligibility: 10+2 / equivalent with 2 years work ex / BA / BCom / BSc with 1 year work ex / BE / BTech / Diploma in Engg / Tech with 1 year work ex / passed 2 years of BE / BTech (AICTE approved)

Application Form: Send Rs 300/- by DD favouring “IIIE,” payable at Mumbai to the above address / Download from website.

Details: Website

Application Deadline: 15 March 2008


National Law School of India University, Nagarbhavi, Bangalore 560242 (Kar)

Common Law Admission Test (CLAT) (For UG & PG Programs at 7 law schools)

Eligibility: For UG Programs: 10+2 (50%) Age: 20 years (On 01 July ’08)

Test: 11 May ‘08

Application Form: Send Rs 2000/- by DD favouring “Convener, CLAT” payable at Bangalore at the above address / download from website.

Details: Website

Application Deadline: 10 April 2008


Institute of Public Enterprise, Osmania University Campus, Hyderabad 500007 (AP)

PG Diploma in Business Mgmt (2 years)

Selection: CAT 2007 scores

Application Form: Download from website.

Details: Website

Application Deadline: 15 February 2008

ICFAI School of Information Technology, HQ, 45, Nagarjuna Hills, Punjagutta, Hyderabad 500082 (AP)

MCA (3 years, FT)

Eligibility: Bachelors degree (50%)

Selection: IMCAT 2008: 04 May 2008 (48 centres)

Details: Website.


Tata Memorial Hospital, Tata Memorial Centre, Parel, Mumbai 400012 (Mah) /

Post Certificate Diploma in Oncology Nursing (1 year) (recognized by Maharashtra Nursing Council & INC)

Eligibility: Diploma in General Nursing & Midwifery / BSc Nursing with 2 years work exp.

Application Form & Details: Website


Staff Selection Commission, Block No 12, CGO Complex, Lodhi Road, New Delhi 110504

Statistical Investigators Grade IV of Subordinate Statistical Service Exam 2008

Eligibility: Bachelors Degree in Statistics / Maths / Economics / Commerce (with Statistics as one of the subjects). Age Limit: 26 years (On 29 February ‘08)

Exam: 25 May 2008

Details: Employment News (26 January – 01 February 2008)

Application Deadline: 29 February 2008


London School of Economics, Houghton Street, London WC2A 2AE

LSE PhD Scholarship 2008

Eligibility: Students undertaking research (in any LSE discipline) students with good record

Selection: Academic merit & research potential

Scholarship: £13,000 p.a. for 3 years covering fees and living expenses.

Application Form & Details: Website.

Application Deadline: 08 February 2008

National University of Singapore, Block E3A, Level 1, 7 Engineering Drive 1, Singapore 117574

SIA-NOL Scholarships 2008 (For studies at National University of Singapore (NUS), School of Computing / Faculty of Engg / Faculty of Science (except Pharma)

Eligibility: Indian nationals, completed Class 12 (Science stream) or completing in 2008, with an outstanding academic track record (minimum average: 80%) with English (80%)

Scholarship: Tuition fees, boarding & lodging allowance, air passage.

Application Form & Details: Website

Application Deadline: 28 February 2008