Your concern for the migration of licence-permit-quota raj into the education sector, especially into the private secondary school system is well-founded and justified. Unlike the university and higher education system which has been destroyed by Central and state government interference, India still offers independent schools which are world class. But as you have chillingly recounted in your cover story â€˜Supreme Courtâ€™s double whammy for elite schoolsâ€™ (EW June), government interference in the administration of independent schools is progressively being encouraged by the Supreme Court.
This is a truly deplorable development. It is very unlikely that any of the misguided judges of the apex court will read your excellent cover story highlighting the dangers of government interference in independent schools. Therefore I request you to mail all judges of the court a copy of the June issue of EducationWorld and bill me for the expense incurred. I will happily settle the bill.
A regular reader of EducationWorld, I especially appreciate Bittu Sahgalâ€™s column on environment education. Truly, he writes from the heart and his passion for nature, conservation and wildlife protection is reflected in every sentence. I fully agree with him when he says that the adults of today are compromising the future of the next generation.
Iâ€™m glad that you have earmarked a special page to spread the message of environmental protection and conservation.
Review petition needed
Thank you for drawing public attention to the condemnable manner in which smaller benches of the Supreme Court are systematically diluting the charter of freedom given to unaided, privately-funded education institutions by the judgement of the 11-strong full bench of the Supreme Court in the TMA Pai Foundation Case of 2002 (EW cover story, June).
In the Islamic Academy Case of 2003 a five-judge bench decreed the setting up of committees headed by retired high court judges to regulate admissions and fees of private medical and engineering colleges. The result is a huge mess here in Karnataka with the state government having committed contempt of the Supreme Court over government and management admission quotas. Now in the Modern School Case the court has permitted the director of education in the Delhi state government to fix â€˜reasonableâ€™ fees in private schools. As you have correctly said, the result will be more corruption in the directorate of education.
I read with interest your rather long and detailed cover story â€˜Supreme Courtâ€™s double whammy for elite schoolsâ€™ (EW June). Evidently you have taken the trouble to research the several judgements of the Supreme Court and examine their fallout on elite schools. But I think you have given excessive focus in your story to these judgements. Too much legalese makes it difficult reading for lay people like myself. Since my children study in an â€˜eliteâ€™ school Iâ€™m more interested in reading about the reaction of school principals to this judgement, not in reading lengthy observations made by Justice Sinha and Justice Kapadia.
Moreover you have not mentioned the names of the Delhi schools that have been ordered by the court to reserve 25 percent seats for disadvantaged children. As parents we want to know what principals of these schools are going to do about implementing the high court order, not excerpts of the Modern School Case judgement. I suggest you do another lead story featuring this information.
Syllabus revision committee needed
The special report titled â€˜New stimulus for collegiate educationâ€™ (EW June) made good reading. Itâ€™s heartening to note that several universities and even individual colleges are going out of their way to introduce vocational and job-oriented degree courses. This will ensure that their graduates do not join the ranks of the unemployed millions in the country. But in a country where university syllabuses are rarely updated ("revised very infrequently" as rightly observed by Fr. Pinto, principal, St. Josephâ€™s College, Bangalore), these initiatives are inadequate. In my opinion the UGC should set up a separate committee to monitor syllabus revision. Alternatively the government could promote an education body solely dedicated to syllabus enrichment and upgradation.
I was surprised to read the views of Chandra Iyengar, principal secretary of higher and technical education in Maharashtra, in your special report â€˜New stimulus for collegiate educationâ€™ (EW June). According to her, university education should "aim at in-depth training of the mind rather than merely preparing students for employment." This is an out-of-date definition of the objective of undergraduate education.
Today students want to be ready for the job market when they graduate. They donâ€™t want to spend three years acquiring theoretical knowledge. Moreover with companies cutting down in-house training costs, students have to learn the practical aspects of their chosen careers in college and university.
The special report titled â€˜Wiproâ€™s school reforms initiativeâ€™ (EW May) was informative. I have always wondered what big corporations do with their billions. Therefore I was happy to read that Indiaâ€™s richest man â€” Azim Premji â€” is investing some of his billions in improving the education sector. But is he the only one? I donâ€™t think soâ€¦ I feel you should have covered the initiatives of some other corporate leaders which would have made the story much more interesting.