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Education: State must do its duty

In his article, “Privatisation is not the cure” (April 1), Dr H.K. Manmohan Singh rightly pointed out the drawbacks of the move. He has addressed the plight of underprivileged sections. In the early years of Independence, large sections progressed because of two reasons: affordable higher education and good health care managed by the state, both of which are in a deplorable condition today.

From 1993, the private sector set up many educational institutions in almost all disciplines. Do they impart quality education or just help students get degrees? Till 1994-95, admission to engineering colleges in Chandigarh UT and Punjab was done through CET.

Panjab University, Punjabi  University and the GNDU used to conduct this by rotation. At a  Joint Admission Committee  consisting of persons from the  participating colleges and university concerned in 1992 and chaired by the Secretary, Technical Education, Punjab, when the levy of test fee was being discussed, a top university officer said: “No university will conduct CET for fun.” The message was loud and clear.

When this is the attitude of state-funded varsities, it will be wrong to believe that private institutions will not make undue profit. The IIMs have raised the fee and the IITs will follow suit. Then, where are the facilities for higher education for bright and poor students?

The writer aptly said that privatisation is not the cure. The state should not shirk its responsibility.

H.S. NIGAH, Former Professor, PEC, Chandigarh



Promoting Punjabi language is welcome, but the way the Punjab government wants to implement it is full of pitfalls. One, the already high education cost will increase further, denting the parents’ pocket. The private schools or the business shops will hike the fee further. They will hire pseudo teachers and the students will be the losers.

Two, the students, already under heavy stress of homework, will be pressurised to read one more subject. How will Punjabi help shape their
career? Three, as Punjabi University has stopped offering Hindi as the medium of instruction for B.Ed students, others will follow suit though this is against national interest. How can a university deprive the students of their fundamental right?

Fourth, Education Minister Dr Upinderjit Kaur is impractical in rendering computer science and other science subjects into Punjabi. How one can teach and understand chemistry, computer science and other subjects in Punjabi medium? The rural students, schooled in Punjabi medium, will face problems when they move to the college for studying medical and non-medical streams. Making Punjabi compulsory will exacerbate the problem.


Unborn daughters

Though sex determination goes on clandestinely, it is heartening to learn that the government’s efforts and public enlightenment have started bearing fruit to stop this nefarious practice. This being a social evil, it will take time to eliminate it. What is required is determination and strong public will.

One reason of this despicable practice is the money to be spent on the girl’s marriage. The marriage must be simplified, if necessary, by law. If a poor person is unable to hold gorgeous marriage, he feels degraded in society. If a law is passed against such ostentation, both the rich and the poor will hold simple marriages.

If the perpetrators of female foeticide were to succeed fully in their mission, the consequences will be serious. Needless to say, the human race will end.



The economics of farming

After 30 years of farming, the hue and cry about food shortages amuses me. This was coming and the governments — both the Centre and the state — are to blame. Family divisions have fragmented land holdings below viable limits. There are no soft loans or credit to allow enterprising young farmers increase land holdings.

Why go into business which is doomed to shrink due to division? The best Indian farmer boys would rather move to cities and look for jobs. Farming falls into the hands of the unimaginative older generation or the no achieving youngsters. Canada gives immigration and credit to any farmer with $500000 to buy and farm there.

Real estate, the farmer’s only asset, has become the target of the politician, land mafia, industrialist nexus. About 20 per cent of Punjab’s fertile land is already built upon and Haryana is a close second. Vertical expansion is a must.

The economics of farming is the same for all farmers. The waiver of defaulting loans helps just a few who are encouraged to further default. The government should give a waiver of the same percentage to all standing agriculture loans. Let’s stop going for cosmetic changes. Make farming an enterprise for the young and innovative, and see the change.

RANA P.S. MAHAL, Hangoli, Yamunanagar 



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