Unwarranted personal attack

Your cover story ‘Licence-permit-quota blitzkrieg dismays Indian academia’ (EW February) is an unwarranted personal attack on HRD minister Arjun Singh. Although the minister may not have given you an interview as you complain on page 66, where you predict the "end of the road" for him, this is hardly a valid cause to blame him entirely for the policies of the UPA government at the Centre. Under the principles of the cabinet system of government, the policy diktats of the ministry are decisions of the government as a whole.

Your targeting Arjun Singh in the cover story is particularly reprehensible because you yourself admit that Singh has done a lot for Indian education by repairing much of the damage caused by his predecessor-in-office, Dr. Murli Manohar Joshi. Therefore it’s fairly obvious that your criticism of the minister is rooted in his refusal to grant you access. Nor should you be surprised. After all — let’s face it — EducationWorld is not a well-known magazine.

A serious publication such as EW should not stoop to personal attacks.

Ram Agarwal

Great damage

Thanks for your cover story ‘Licence-permit-quota blitzkrieg dismays Indian academia’ (EW February). You are right on target with your contention that Union HRD minister Arjun Singh is doing great damage to the cause of education by playing minority politics. There is no doubt that minorities need higher levels of support, but the approach taken by the HRD minister serves their needs only symbolically and not in a sustainable manner. Good work!

Parth Shah
Centre for Civil Society, Delhi

Wrong focus

Kudos to your Chennai-based correspondent Hemalatha Raghupathi for the special report ‘Creeping talibanisation of campus India’ (EW February). It was timely coverage of the issue of harassment of students in institutions of higher education, and boldly stated the liberal position on this issue.

At a time when the country’s colleges and universities are going from bad to worse, it’s astonishing that instead of focusing upon vital issues like curriculum upgradation, financial viability and attracting research funding, managements are devoting so much time to trivia such as dress code and campus romances.

The bottom line is that university students are different from school kids, and should be treated as mature adults capable of taking their own decisions in matters of dress and deportment. If they are treated like children, they will remain immature.

Vasanthi Ranganathan

Erroneous picture

I am a regular reader of your highly useful and beneficial magazine. However I was surprised to see a wrong photograph published in the Leisure and Travel section titled ‘Other attractions of Rajasthan’. The picture published above the caption ‘Dargah Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti: venerated monument’ is not the dargah of this great saint but of Hazrat Meeran Syed, whose mausoleum is on Taragarh hills. Please publish the correct picture.

Pooja Ahmed on e-mail

We sourced the photograph from the Rajasthan Tourism Development Board — Editor

Committed teachers needed

The education news item ‘Severe indictment’ (EW February) revealed some shocking statistics. It is disturbing that so many young children are not learning anything in school. If this is the state of the majority of students, what is the future of our country? India is being perceived by the rest of the world as a provider of quality manpower, but the way things are moving, nobody will want to employ our uneducated millions.

In my opinion, the only solution to this problem is to employ well-qualified and trained teachers in all government schools. Since the majority of children are first generation learners with both parents illiterate, committed teachers are vital to ensure good learning outcomes in schools. To ensure commitment from teachers, they should be well paid, an environment of respect and dignity should be created, schools should be equipped with basic infrastructure such as spacious classrooms, drinking water, clean toilets etc.

I also strongly feel that your magazine should have accorded more space and detailed coverage to this issue. I’d appreciate a cover story with solid recommendations on the way forward, rather than a two-and-half column education news.

Sushil Kumar Bhanot

See cover story in this issue — Editor

Creating champions

The new column Sports Education (EW February) is interesting. I totally agree with Saumil Majmudar when he says that a billion strong nation should produce more than a handful of champions. Unfortunately there are hardly any play-grounds in our teeming, overcrowded cities to enthuse youngsters to play neighbourhood sports.

Moreover once an individual gets settled in a career, he/ she hardly makes time for sports or other physical activities. I hope your column suitably enthuses the academic and parent communities to take sports more seriously, and slowly inculcates a strong sporting culture in our nation. Once this culture is entrenched, nobody can stop Indian champions from mopp-ing up gold medals in the Olympics.

S.S. Divakaran
Kannur, Kerala