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Foreign institutes will fulfil educational needs

The editorial, “Education providers” (August 8), rightly says that the fear that foreign universities might poach on our teaching faculty, underestimates India’s large pool of talent. In fact, the Foreign Educational Institutions (Regulation of Entry and Operation) Bill is a step taken in the right direction. There will not be any improvement in our quality of education if we do not compete with foreign educational institutions. Most of the institutions in India, barring a few top ones, are not providing quality education to students. Isn’t it better if we get quality education without the need to go abroad?

Our teachers do not need to fear that they will not get jobs. If teachers get a favourable atmosphere to teach, they will also do well. That’s why Indian teachers are doing well abroad. Moreover, I do not see what is wrong in accepting the fact that education is also like any other service that is sold in markets for money. What counts is the best bargain in terms of cost incurred and quality of service received. I am sure Indian students will get quality education and the cost will also be affordable. Many students, who would have gone abroad for higher studies, would stay in India for studies.



I doubt if the Foreign Educational Institutions (Regulation of Entry and Operation) Bill is in the interest of Indian students and teachers (editorial, “Education providers”, August 8). In India, we have seen a recent trend to import coaches and technical staff from abroad. Now, we doubt our own educational institutions instead of supporting them. It is really unfortunate. No attempt has been made to study why there is the paucity of qualified teachers.

Moreover, the recent observation of the Parliamentary standing Committee on HRD that foreign education providers must bring 50 per cent faculty with them is not in the interest of Indian teachers. The issue of brain drain, as discussed in the editorial is significant. But asking foreign education providers to establish institutions in India cannot stop brain drain. There is a need to revamp the education system in India. This can be done by involving our own educational experts, scientists, social scientists, economists and other scholars to frame an education policy that caters to the needs of Indian students. Foreign universities will only come here with the aim of selling their services. It will not benefit Indian students. Moreover, foreign institutions will not respect Indian values.


The Ganga

This refers to the news, “Oz radio host apologises for calling Ganga ‘junkyard’” (August 6). But has this apology altered the facts about India and the Ganga? I think it has rather exposed our rank hypocrisy. The Ganga is today among the top five most polluted rivers in the world. Her water is not only unfit for drinking for humans and animals, but also harmful for agricultural purposes. Toxic waste from hospitals and tanneries is dumped into it. The river is also used for post-cremation rituals. What then is this entire hullabaloo about? The proper response is to clean up our national river.

It is universally acknowledged that we Indians lack basic civic sense and social niceties. We treat public places like no man’s land and think nothing of littering, spitting, urinating and defecating in open spaces. As many people in India do not have toilet facility, the morning hours in India are a community “shitting-time” in the outdoors. One look outside from the window of a train anywhere at these hours is pathetically nauseating. VS Naipaul in his book, “An Area of Darkness”, succinctly sums up this facet of our national life saying: “Indians defecate everywhere.

They defecate, mostly, by the railway tracks. But they also defecate on the beaches; they defecate on the hills; they defecate by the river banks; they defecate on the streets; they never look for cover.” Isn’t it time now that we shed our false notions and learn to look inside so as to catch up a bit with the rest of the civilized world.

Prof SUBHASH SHARMA, Chandigarh

Settlers & immigrants

The report, “English ‘rule’ may spell trouble for UK” (August 5), refers to Indians living in Leicester as immigrants. In fact, they are settlers, not immigrants. The distinction is important, for it is this distinction that lies behind the British Government’s decision to introduce an English test for new immigrants.

Settlers differ fundamentally from immigrants. The former insist on creating a new community in the country of their adoption — a parallel universe, where they create their own religious institutions and social system. Since they carry a sense of collective purpose, they resist integration. The latter, by contrast, do not create a new society in ghettos, but tend to melt away into the mainstream within a couple of generations.

Most Indians in Britain are settlers. They have no intention of integrating into the British mainstream — one of the reasons why they want dual nationality. They want the best of both worlds. Though some of them have lived here for more than 50 years, have British passports, they cannot utter even a few words in English. Britain welcomes immigrants because they bring diversity to the country, which in turn gives coherence to British state institutions, and helps this country to remain a global economic power. It is difficult to see how one can possibly say the same about settlers.


Breaking rules

This refers to the middle, “Rules are not for me” (August 1). I agree with the writer that there are some rule-breakers who think that they are “above mere humans”, and that rules are not for them. This can be seen anywhere in India. We Indians do not have patience to wait for our turn. We also do not have respect for others, be it an elderly person or a pregnant lady. It shows that as a social being Indians have not grown enough.

In fact, sometimes I meet people who tell tales of how they outwitted traffic policemen. We forget that if everyone starts wantonly breaking rules, there will be anarchy. No legal system in the world can ensure that rules are followed. Those who break rules may be punished, but even that cannot change the scenario. It must be taught in schools and at home that rules are for our own convenience, and some are for our welfare. Therefore, we should not break them. We should also criticise those who break rules. By listening to their antics, we only encourage them.

MANJU SHARMA, Chandigarh



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