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Allow teachers to teach properly

Gurbaj Singh’s article “Let ’em teach, make ’em teach” (Aug 7) was an eye-opener. But perhaps not for the authorities who are involved in pursuing schemes like Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan. They think of these schemes as an end in themselves and not as the means to an end i.e. to raise the standard of education. Their only focus is to force the teachers to follow their dictates.

While some teachers enjoy the patronage of the administration, others are harassed and are assigned clerical jobs, deputation duties and election duties. They are made to provide for midday meals, prepare for inspections and maintain accounting records. In fact, a large part of their time and energy is frittered away in unproductive activities.

The administration constantly resorts to experimentation and tries to imitate private schools. Monthly tests are taken but without involving proper planning. The writer has aptly stated that those who themselves have never taught are instructing teachers. The standard of education in the state-run schools is deteriorating. In fact no abhiyans, models, seminars or inspections are required to achieve the quality of education comparable to private schools. Only one simple thing is needed – just let the teachers teach.



Very ably and pertinently, the writer has revealed the harsh truths of primary education in Punjab. Indeed, many teachers are forced to do a host of unnecessary tasks. The second category of teachers as described by the writer are not the well-wishers of society and can do little to promote our children's future.


Buta and corruption

Nothing more can be added to Inder Malhotra’s article “Buta Singh and son ‘Sweety’: A case of protesting too much” (Aug 7) that boldly underlined corruption in constitutional posts. Invariably, governors and chairmen of commissions and public undertakings are the favourites and cronies of politicians of the ruling party.

Instead of carrying out their official duties efficiently, they indulge in dubious ways and use their position for promoting their kith and kin as also to serve the interests of their political patrons. Mr Malhotra’s parting shot “Will someone please explain what compelled the Manmohan Singh government to appoint Mr Buta Singh as chairman of a constitutional commission?” is the million dollar question.


Tackle malnutrition

There are many reasons (editorial, “Underfed India”, July 18) as to why India is unable to tackle malnutrition. Firstly there is confusion between hunger and malnutrition. The two require different strategies, as malnutrition exists even in food-sufficient states with high per capita incomes like Punjab and Haryana. Despite prosperity, these states have failed to combat malnutrition.

Then the midday meal programme is not meant to correct malnutrition but is a school retaining programme to attract poor parents to send their wards to school. Child mortality is often linked to malnutrition. Malnourishment among children needs to be tackled on a priority basis.


TV’s erroneous English

The article “TV channels are getting away with bad pronunciation” (Aug 4) by S Nihal Singh has correctly pointed out the declining standards of English usage on the small screen. The author's angst is best epitomised by his mention of the iconic Post-Impressionist French painter, Eugène Henri Paul Gauguin, being pronounced by a breathless TV anchor as “our very own Gagan!”

I am sure listeners have equally been dismayed by the affected American accents of some anchors. In fact, the medley of nasal twangs, exaggerated drawls and burrs sound more like a commonwealth of disparate, untutored communication and sound effects by the supposedly upper class public school or Ivy League products.

The dress sense of some anchors is, to put it mildly, highly questionable and adds to the litany of woes of TV audiences who have no recourse other than to surf channels in desperation or in hope. A media ombudsman should take note of these gross violations and invoke corrections before we lose our language edge, as Mr Singh has sagely pointed out.

Maj-Gen RAJ MEHTA, (Retd), SAS Nagar



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