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Education, industry go hand in hand

President BaraCk Obama, following in the footsteps of John F.Kennedy, invited fellow politicians as partners for progress in national development rather than ‘rivals for power’ in his February 12  State of the Union Address, excerpts of which were reproduced in the Oped article ‘Revitalising economy, improving education’, February 14).

Emphasising on economic prosperity in different areas, he called for purposeful quality pre-nursery education. According to Obama “every dollar we invest in high-quality early childhood education can save more than seven dollars later on by boosting graduation rate”.

Not satisfied with the present position, he intends to make every American a catalyst agent in the growing high-tech economy. In India, the National Curriculum Framework 2005 was the first serious attempt to link education with economic development. But we have not pushed too hard, but have done some patch work like corporate partnership in education and introduction of vocational education in high schools.

More ground work needs to be attempted to understand the pulse of changing industrial demands and subsequent changes in curriculum. We can grow stronger if  behavioural values become a part of work culture in education and industries.

Dr S KUMAR, Panchkula

Punjab economy

The once vibrant economy, which immensely contributed to the Green Revolution in the late sixties and is the largest contributor of foodgrains to the central pool, is in dire straits, if the report ‘Economic Freedom of the States of India 2012 is to be believed. Punjab is placed in a much better a situation in water resources, rich soil, NRI income.

If Punjab has to compete with similarly placed states to restore its past glory, it will have to bring efficiency in its revenue collections, tax realisation, and fiscal management besides prudence in spending. The Punjab government will have to control drug menace prevalent among its youth to check the drain of resources. The political leadership of Punjab will have to overcome its parochial thinking of accusing the Centre of  discrimination and will have to show political will to take hard decisions for improving its fiscal health with control on unproductive and extravagant spending. The electricity subsidies will have to be restricted to small and marginal farmers only.

Dr PURAN SINGH, Nilokheri

Higher education

The quantitative expansion of higher education has contracted the quality of education (Ravia Gupta’s article ‘Higher education needs to meet higher expectations’, February 12). Teachers are the growth engine of quality education. A complete generation is affected by their conduct.

Though stringent measures are taken in the selection of a good teacher but monitoring at different intervals is important for quality teaching. Unethical practices in education and professional dishonesty should be strictly dealt with. Prevailing good practices should be encouraged. Students at graduate and intermediate levels should do innovative project works so as to acquire interest in research work. These days a major chunk of research degree holders end up in colleges to take up teaching as a career. Only few are able to carry out research work.

Research work needs a lot of hard work, focused attention and good remunerations by government of private industries. Various funding agencies like UGC, DBT, DST, etc are quite liberal in granting financial assistance. Such funds should be properly monitored and regulated. We can create world class institutions of higher education and research but a strong will is needed for its execution.

Dr RAMESH DOGRA, Chandigarh


The mushroom growth of higher educational institutes in Haryana and Punjab under self-finance schemes initiated by the governments is a matter of serious concern (news report ‘Higher education on decline, must reverse trend: President’, February 6). The quantity seems to be overlapping the quality in an urge to match supply with demand. The political bosses at the helm of education affairs seem to be dangerously involved in the number game only without giving regard to the effectiveness of these institutions.

The President is right in showing concern at the deteriorating condition of this most important sector. The deterioration is primarily because the persons at the helm of these institutions lack academic acumen and therefore falter at fixing priorities. The human capital in the form of able teachers is being totally neglected. The infrastructure in the form of concrete structures, sophisticated looking laboratories, sprawling campus is given undue preference over the human resource infrastructure which in fact is the soul and spirit of any educational institution.

Incompetent teachers are very conveniently hired by these institutions at meager salaries which very naturally suits their short term plans. The competent and able persons are evaluated on the same parameters which downgrades them psychologically and breeds inefficiency, distrust and detachment with the institution and students.

Lack of proper and effective monitoring and checks by the regulating bodies like AICTE, PTU, and UGC is worsening things in alarming proportions. Brazenly following the practices adopted by western countries would not serve the desired purpose. If one closely monitors the present state of affairs in education we can very easily visualise that this sector is being considered as the safest bet to dump one’s unaccounted wealth.

The need of the hour is to give importance to the development of analytic capabilities of the students. The academic ambience in colleges and universities must encourage research programmes and innovative thinking instead of moulding students in stereotyped grooves. That would be possible only when the policy makers start realising that there can be no substitute to an effective and dedicated faculty.




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