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Higher education in mess in Punjab

At present, higher education in Punjab is in a mess. The adoption of the ad-hoc arrangement in the appointment of teachers in colleges/universities is playing havoc with the quality in education. Also, most colleges/universities face chaotic conditions. It is particularly true about the so-called aided colleges. They are now only partially aided, as they have to follow the government instructions.

We are living in a country where two things were always free, that is, education and medicine. In the olden days, teachers and vaids never charged a fee from the students and patients. Society took care of their economic needs and also gave them a lot of respect. With the passage of time, successive governments took up the responsibility of opening schools, colleges and hospitals to give education and medical care to all citizens. It was because education and medicine need to be kept away from commercial considerations otherwise they get polluted by the profit motive.

When government institutions started failing in providing quality education, some social organisations came forward and opened schools and colleges. In this way, they started sharing the responsibility and duty of the state. The government also appreciated their valuable contribution and introduced the grant-in-aid scheme for them.

But then came the monster of commercialisation in education. The government, now it seems, has given a licence to private players to loot, plunder and fleece students. Private institutions are free to flout all the rules and regulations. They pay only peanuts as salaries to teachers and extort hefty fees from students. In such a situation, the worst affected are those colleges, which were started with the pious intention of giving quality education to poor and deserving students. They cannot increase the fees arbitrarily, as they are bound by university conditions. The government has announced revised pay-scales and DA instalments without extending the financial aid. As a result, poor students are deprived of the opportunity of education. The government must own the responsibility of  providing education by giving financial grants to these colleges, otherwise they will get deeper into the whirlwind of a financial crisis. One hopes that the government will do something in this regard. 


Research activities

Delivering the convocation address at the Himachal Pradesh University in Shimla the other day, President Pranab Mukherjee is reported to have urged the vice-chancellors to play a “pro-active role” in promoting quality education and focus on research activities for enriching higher education, stressing that education plays a vital role in the life of a student. I fully subscribe to the President’s views on the role of universities/ vice-chancellors in nation-building.

A university should not only preserve and promote knowledge but also create it by undertaking extensive research in areas unexplored so far. This way the “temples of higher learning” can help enrich knowledge/education and make the world a better place to live in.

TARA CHAND, Ambota (Una)

MPs’ unruly conduct

Most of our elected representatives are functioning against public expectations in Parliament and legislatures. So, our country is facing chaotic conditions on every front. Even the Speaker has also failed to rein in their bad conduct in Parliament. The common man is unhappy with the frequent disruptions of House proceedings by so-called public servants. Also, such disruptions mean crores of rupees went down the drain. The editorial ‘Parliament’s functioning’ (May 27) has rightly asked for recalling the resolution moved by the Speaker and adopted by MPs on the occasion of 60th anniversary of Parliament. The resolution was to uphold and maintain the dignity, sanctity and supremacy of Parliament. The conduct of MPs should be civilised and awe-inspiring.

PROF BM RAWLLEY (Retd), Zirakpur

Writing poetry

I agree with Faiyyaz Farooqui’s remarks in his middle ‘Literature as a safety valve’ (May 16). Poetry is an elevated expression of lofty and powerful thought in rhythmical and metrical form. It is said that poetry preceded prose in all languages. In fact, it is the honour of literature. While according to Coleridge, poetry consisted of the best words in the best order. Wordsworth described it as the spontaneous overflow of powerful feeling.

A poet may be endowed with great imaginative and creative powers, but he cannot write verses eruditely unless he has a wide and accurate knowledge of language, literature, prosody, etc. Only then can he acquire the knack of selecting beautiful words, well-turned phrases and graceful similes and metaphors to express his splendid ideas in a dignified, free from ornate style.

Poetry must deal with life in its finer aspects and please and stimulate the imagination of readers and listeners, so that they can relish it and give vent to their feelings through appropriate verses. A poet has rightly said: “Jo sab kee samajh mein aa na sakein bekaar hain sab voh she’r-o-ghazal/Janta kee zubaan mein kaihna hai janta ko sunana hai saathi.”




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