Evidence lacunae

The cover story on alternative education (EW July) was a great read and inspired me to search for an alternative school for my toddler. 

However, I wish you had given names of prominent alumni from established alternative schools such as Rishi Valley, or their board examination results to show how well their students perform in conventional exam assessment systems and the competitive jobs market. 

Ashwini Muthiah


Shocking inclusion

Congratulations for staging the successful EW India Higher Education Rankings 2018-19 Awards seminar-cum-awards nite (EW July). All the keynote addresses were excellent. In particular, Nitin Pai’s essay ‘Explaining India’s higher education decline’ was illuminating. I agree with his argument that government funding is flowing into wrong institutions of higher education. 

A classic example to prove this point is the BJP government’s recent ‘Institute of Eminence’ award tag and a Rs.1, 000-crore grant to selected higher ed institutions. Although the intent of the government’s expert committee was to select 20 institutions, it said it could only find six worthy (IIT-B, IIT-D, IISc, MAHE, BITS and Jio) institutions. 

While the first five are unexceptional choices, selection of the Jio Institute — which exists only on paper — of the Reliance Foundation, is a shocking example of crony capitalism. Instead, the committee could have included Hyderabad Central University, well-known for delivering high quality social sciences education, and exemplary private institutions such as Ashoka, O.P. Jindal and Azim Premji universities and the greenfield KREA University endorsed by Raghuram Rajan. 

Meera Saigal


In the works

Thanks for your well-written cover story on alternative school education (EW July). However, you have wrongly stated that the Inodai Waldorf School, Mumbai is affiliated with the UK-based Cambridge Assessment International Education (CAIE). 

Though we plan to apply for affiliation with CAIE, we are not yet formally affiliated with it.

Bindu Chowdary
Trustee, Inodai Waldorf School

We regret the error — Editor 


Absurd argument

Re your editorial ‘Disappointing four years of BJP rule’ (EW July). Those who were taken in by noise bytes — which caused UPA II to slide into listlessness and torpor in media res — into expecting far-right economic reforms, must indeed be sorely disappointed.

To Nobel laureate Amartya Sen and all others who perceive no visible or palpable progress, NITI Aayog vice chairman Rajiv Kumar holds out the assurance that the NDA has initiated “deep structural reforms” whose impact will be manifested later. Kumar’s remark that Sen is unaware of the “cleaner… inclusive and more caring economy” that this dispensation has ushered in because he hasn’t spent “some time within India and actually looked at conditions on the ground” is absurd. One doesn’t have to be inside the country to know what’s happening in India.

Shyam Narasimha


Graphic Era displeasure

Re the EW India Higher Education Rankings 2018-19 published in your May issue, we are displeased with Graphic Era Deemed University being ranked #2 in Uttarakhand. 

Established by the Graphic Era Educational Society in 1997, we have the distinction of being the first self-financed higher education institution in north India, accorded deemed-to-be university status under s. 3 of the UGC Act, and accredited grade A by NAAC in 2015 with a total score of 3.23 on a 4-point scale, the highest of all government and private universities in Uttarakhand.

Moreover, we have received encomiums and awards from numerous international organisations for our contributions to education and research. Among them: ESQR Quality Choice Prize 2016 (Berlin), BID International Quality Summit Award 2016 (New York) and Best Regional University of Europe Business Assembly (Oxford). 

In the circumstances, please advise us on what basis/criteria you have ranked the Graphic Era Deemed University #2 in Uttarakhand.

Dr. Pankaj Rana
Registrar, Graphic Era Deemed-to-be University, Dehradun

The ratings and ranking methodology is extensively detailed on pp.38-40 of EW May, 2018 issue — Editor