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Ineffective ad campaign

Congratulations for introducing the TCS-Education World Teachers Awards, 2005. As far as I am aware, this is the first award offered to the teachers’ community in India. Tata Consul-tancy Services, IL&FS ETS and EducationWorld deserve the gratitude of teachers for showing appreciation to this long-neglected community.

Moreover your cover story outlining the contributions and innovations made by ‘India’s best teachers’ was informative and encouraging for teachers like me who are underpaid and over-worked.

However I was surprised that your all-India advertising campaign inviting nominations for the awards received only 175 entries, and that too from small non-metro towns. This indicates that your ad campaign was ineffective and/ or as the author of the story, Summiya Yasmeen observes, parents and principals in metros can’t be bothered to appreciate the contribution of teachers to the growth and development of their children.

Nevertheless kudos for this new initiative. I’m sure there will be a much better response to the TCS-Education-World Teachers Awards 2006.

Christine Rozario
Mumbai

Worthy beginning

The June 2005 issue of EducationWorld looks bright and cheerful. And the cover story is really heartwarming. I am glad that at last someone has decided to honour people in perhaps the most underpaid profession, especially in the Indian context.

However it’s surprising that you received only 175 nominations in a country of 1.2 billion people and 5 million teachers. I am sure there must be thousands of unsung heroes in the teaching profession. But I don’t think the low number is because students and parents in metros are unappreciative of teachers. It’s probably because there was no news coverage of the awards in the mainstream newspapers and magazines. Moreover even post event there was hardly any news coverage about the winners or the awards ceremony per se.

To sum up I feel that even with 175 nominations, a good and worthy beginning has been made. Our teachers, though overworked and underpaid are still discharging their duties with diligence and dedication and they need to be recognised and honoured at every opportunity. I hope there will be many more entries and more teachers will be rewarded in the coming years.

Sunil Thekekara
Kochi (Kerala)

Visionary edupreneurs wanted

The June issue of EducationWorld is indeed power packed. I was greatly encouraged to read about the TCS-EducationWorld Teachers Awards 2005, your special report on Indian industry’s foolish divorce from academia, Prof. Ramaswamy’s proposal for creating an India Development Service, and Dr. Maroof Raza’s analysis of the dilemma in higher education.

The tragedy of India is that private entrepreneurs are anathema to the politician-bureaucrat nexus, and to the public at large, most private entrepreneurs are cheats of the first order. In education we need entrepreneurs with vision, values and voice. This is the most critical challenge confronting the country.

I hope EducationWorld will inspire entrepreneurs with wisdom, values and vision to contemporise Indian education which is in bad shape.

K.V. Simon
Mumbai

Private varsity panacea

Your special report titled ‘Why is Indian industry divorced from academia?’ (EW June) was well researched and interesting. The fact that 73 percent of all higher education institutions in Japan are private is particularly revealing. While India has a mere 311 universities for a population of 1.2 billion, Japan has 604 universities for 100 million. Therefore in terms of higher education access Indian youth are at a big disadvantage compared to their Japanese counterparts. Unless a larger number of universities and colleges are established, India will never be able to achieve the dream of becoming a fully developed nation by the year 2020.

The best way ahead is for Parliament to quickly pass the Private Universities Bill pending since 1995 and multiply the number of private universities on the Indian School of Business, Hyderabad model. Private varsities will also offer better quality education than India’s run-down and obsolete state universities. Given the shocking statistic that only 6-7 percent of India’s youth have access to tertiary education, the Union and state govern-ments should welcome edupreneurs with open arms and encourage them to partner with reputed global varsities such as Harvard, Yale, Cambridge etc.

J. Fernandes
Mangalore (Karnataka)

Amazing curriculum

I read with disbelief the newsreport from Uttar Pradesh titled ‘Anything goes’ (EW June). It’s difficult to believe that 10 million children enrolled in the state’s madrasas and schools affiliated with the RSS learn the regressive nonsense the story highlights. It’s an outright encouragement of fascism, communalism and violence. I’m amazed how these schools can teach students to hate other religions.

Saanjhi Duniya, the NGO which has surveyed these schools and their curriculums has done the nation a great service by alerting us to this hate bomb waiting to explode. It’s time the state and Central governments woke up and regulated the textbooks prescribed in RSS affiliated schools and Islamic madrasas. Because if India is to achieve success in a rapidly globalising world, tolerance and appreciation of other religions and minority groups is a necessary prerequisite.

Dhruv Bhati
Delhi

Corrigendum

Joycillin Shermila

Mini John
The photographs of Dr. Mini John and Dr. Joycillin Shermila, south zone finalists in the TCS-EducationWorld Teachers Awards 2005 were inter-changed.

We regret this error — Editor