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India Education
Left pressure prompted change in education policy, says Yechury

Special Correspondent

Left tells Government to maintain an independent foreign policy

RED SPIRIT: West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee (second from right), CPI(M) Polit Bureau member Sitaram Yechury, Left party leader B.V. Raghavulu and other delegates at the 12th All India SFI conference in Hyderabad on Thursday. — Photo: D. Gopalakrishnan

HYDERABAD: The United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Government at the Centre has decided to bring in policy changes to make education affordable to the poor.

The Centre has promised to introduce a Bill to this effect in the winter session of Parliament, which is slated to start on November 23. It has also expressed its willingness to amend the Constitution to ensure that all sections of society can access education, CPI(M) MP and Polit Bureau member Sitaram Yechury said. Addressing a public meeting to mark the commencement of the 12th all- India conference of the Students' Federation of India (SFI) here on Thursday, Mr. Yechury said the continuous pressure mounted by the Left., which was extending outside support to the UPA Government, had forced it to adopt a proactive approach towards the education sector. He said the sector was facing a crisis owing to privatisation and commercialisation and the Left had favoured a social or Government control over it.

The Left was watching UPA's activities to ensure that it did not violate the Common Minimum Programme. "There is no threat to the stability of the UPA Government as long as it abides by the CMP," he said. Mr. Yechury said the Left was asking the Government to maintain an independent foreign policy, which was not dictated by the United States.

West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee said that his Government was trying to obtain loans from external agencies only if it did not involve any conditions. The Government was prepared to forego opportunities of securing loan rather than allowing external agencies such as the World Bank interfere in its fiscal, economic and budgetary matters, he said.

Blaming the Congress for ills such as poverty, unemployment and illiteracy, Mr. Bhattacharjee said the country could not achieve what China could as the Congress was giving relief to the rich who comprised only 12 per cent of the population at the expense of the poor. On the lines of the previous NDA regime, the UPA was adopting pro-US policies to become a "younger brother." CPI(M) State secretary B.V. Raghavulu and SFI general secretary Kallol Roy were among those who spoke. SFI all-India president K.K. Raagesh presided over the meeting.
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Students perform badly in their mother tongue

The trend is well evident in many States

# A study conducted by Gujarat Board shows nearly 30 per cent of the students taking Gujarati as one of the subjects in Class 10 were failing in the subject
# Students find grammar the most difficult area for answering
# Handwriting of most of the students was not legible
# Students are becoming more conscious about the emerging challenges and are not giving importance to their mother tongue

New Delhi: Students in State Board schools across the country are performing very badly in their mother tongue.

A recent survey conducted by Secondary Education Board (SEB) of Gujarat is a pointer in this direction.

The study shows that Gujarati is losing ground among the students at high school level, a dangerous trend for the language of the State.

The study indicates nearly 30 per cent of the students taking Gujarati as one of the subjects in standard-10 under SEB were failing in the subject.

The study analysed the results of three years from 2002 to 2004. Out of about five lakh students appearing in the Standard-10 exam with Gujarati as a subject, about 150,000 students were failing in the subject.

The Board analysed 1500 answer papers, randomly selected, to find out the areas of weakness of the students.

The exercise revealed that 30 per cent of the students did not attempt questions, while 60 per cent were faulty in content with regard to their answers to prose questions and essays. The handwriting of most of the students was not legible.

Besides, rampant errors were seen in composing various forms of writings. The students were too weak in writing skills committing numerous spelling mistakes, the study found.

Students find grammar the most difficult area for answering.

The analysis found about 18 per cent students did not score a single mark in this segment, while nearly 50 per cent scored between zero to five marks out of the possible total of 12 marks.

"The student's participation in the teaching process has to be ensured. Group discussion and quiz programmes could be arranged to help students get better grip on the subject," the study recommended.

The situation in other states is no different either. In Orissa more than 30 per cent of the students fail in Oriya in the high school examination conducted by Board of Secondary Education (BSE).

Even in South Indian states, West Bengal, Punjab and Maharashtra, this trend is well evident.

Linguist and editor of South Asian Language Review, Prof. Omkar N. Kaul says that now students attach more importance to English than their mother tongue.

"It is a bad trend. The State Boards are also responsible for this, as most of the boards have introduced English from an early stage - starting from Class I or II in many States,'' he says. "Mother tongue helps for concept formation and understanding," he says. "Students are becoming more conscious about the emerging challenges and are not giving importance to their mother tongue," says Dr Veena Bhalla of Association of Indian Universities. -- PTI
Equal access to education: the last chance

D. Raja

The amendment to ensure admission to educationally and socially backward classes in all educational institutions is a revolutionary step.

PARLIAMENT WILL have the last word on one more occasion. This time on a matter that will affect millions of poor and socially oppressed people. The ushering in of yet another Constitution amendment, necessitated by a judicial pronouncement, shows the alertness of the polity in protecting the rights of the under-privileged. The amendment to Article 15 of the Constitution, by insertion of clause 5 to ensure admission to Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, and educationally and socially backward classes in all educational institutions, both private and public (except minority run-institutions), is a revolutionary step more than five decades after we adopted the Constitution.

The first-ever amendment to the Constitution in 1951 was as a result of a Supreme Court judgment in the case of Champakam Dorairajan vs State of Madras, which set aside reservation of seats in educational institutions on the basis of caste and community. We had the insertion of Clause 4 to Article 15 moved by none other than Dr. B.R. Ambedkar himself.Probably this is the first move by the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Government, which has the support of the Left from outside, to check the forces of privatisation and globalisation at least in the area of access to education. The influence of the booming market forces and crass commercialisation of education has caused a great rift between the haves and have-nots with respect to quality education. One question that will haunt us is: would the amendment to throw open private educational institutions to all have been initiated but for the Supreme Court judgment in the P.A. Inamdar vs State of Maharashtra case? Should not governments have incorporated such a provision much earlier?

The unanimous judgment by a seven-judge Bench in the case in August 2005, declaring that the state cannot impose its reservation policy on minority and non-minority unaided private colleges, including professional colleges, was a severe blow to the concept of right to education. Even capitalistic countries, which are driven by the private sector, ensure that everyone has equal access to educational institutions. The winds of globalisation and privatisation of education in India seem to have influenced one and all, including the Judiciary.

Legislation enacted to enforce the provisions in the amendment should ensure that access to education in all institutions (aided and unaided), should be complete. The Delhi Government had a bad experience when it tried to implement the directions of the Delhi High Court order in January 2004, which ruled that 25 per cent of seats in all educational institutions should be provided to under-privileged children. The brazen violation and failure to implement the mandatory clause for providing 25 per cent seats to the poor by private schools, who were allotted land at concessional rates by the Delhi Development Authority, is another issue. Some schools hold separate classes after school hours for poor children to fulfil the norm, and refuse to admit them along with regular students.

Fee regulation is yet to become a reality, notwithstanding the Supreme Court's positive judgment in the case of Modern School versus Union of India & Others in April 2004. The middle-class dream of providing `quality' education to children in private institutions is yet to be fulfilled. Delhi private school commercialisation has assumed an abhorrent proportion, as the state machinery has failed to regulate the schools. Will the proposed amendment suffice? Can the States implement it effectively?

The case of the IITs

As the Government embarks upon legislating `freedom of access to education' in all educational institutions in the country, it is worth looking at the status of implementation of reservation for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in the Indian Institutes of Technology. M<b>ost of the time, the seats are not filled citing merit. The IITs have a strange practice. The SC and ST students are forced to undergo a five-year B. Tech programme whereas other students undergo the regular four-year course. The admission process to M. Tech in IITs is so skewed that SC and ST students lose most of the seats.</b> If the administration in government-run IITs can play such games to deny admission to the under-privileged, we can guess how private educational institutions will behave.

In 1944, Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, who benefited by scholarships for his education, created a scheme called `Post Matric- Scholarship.' Based on this model, several variant schemes were evolved. But these scholarships are inadequate to take care of a child's education in government-run schools and lack adequate funding. Successive governments failed to match the scholarship with the rising consumer price index. A landless labourer or an urban labourer should be compensated for the loss of income where all the family members work during agricultural season or construction activities in cities.

This would be the appropriate time to reassess the scholarship needs of the poor and socially oppressed. A massively-funded programme would be needed for the under-privileged in both government and private schools to continue. Bureaucratic exercises of revamping such schemes have severe limitations of vision and are often the reason for the failure of schemes and pilferage of funds.

The polity again needs to jump in, to carry on and continue this revolutionary step of equality in access to education, hitherto inconceivable, given the wave of globalised commerce of education that has hit India. No law will be of any help unless there is a punitive clause against erring educational institutions. Disaffiliation to bodies such as CBSE, ICSE, and State Boards through which schools get recognition and punishment for not fulfilling the constitutional mandate should be introduced.

We should all live to see the day when a child of the richest man in Delhi and the child of a Safai Karmachari of the Municipal Ccoporation of Delhi attend the same school.

(The Author is National Secretary, Communist Party of India.)
Why Chaos On IIMs Fee Hike?

The recent news media is covering the news of fee hike in IIMs and there is a huge show on this topic. Even NRN Murthy, Infosys Tech has made the thoughts as chairamam of IIM-A. This is not the new topic and has emerged in past sometimes in name of IIM, IIT or other reputed institutes. <!--emo&Big Grin--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/biggrin.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='biggrin.gif' /><!--endemo-->

Remember the cost of education and quality eduavation has been increasing and the institutes needs more capital to stand in the market. There demand of fee hike and more grants is geninune. Similarly the demand of students who are less privileged for cheaper education is also geniune and it as per constitution guideliness to the state and centre. <!--emo&:drool--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/drool.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='drool.gif' /><!--endemo-->

The question is "Are the folks who have been granted privileged and granted education do justice with it?" The money invested upon them by government comes from the contribution of the Indian massess. This money is collected from the Tata, Birla, Ambani to the road side begger in the form of direct or indirect taxes.

The idea behind these renowned institutes was to produce an educated generation which will directly help in curbing the problems and uplifting the nation. We all know the fate and choice of the alumuni of IITs and IIMs. Last year the average salary for IIM-A graduate was 10 lac per annum. It comes from the MNCs. Why should the government pay for those students who are going to pay them pack in really nothing except the taxes. There might be some exception but majority of IITs and IIMs students are aiming for huge salary.

Lets take a simple case a boy studies in renownd government funded institution and joins a firm in IT and other one from a private institute joins the same IT firm at the same position. Out of these two boys which was more benifited and what benifit does the nation gets from them. Its simple the one from the private firm has given taxes during education period and even in its working period while the other guys will benifit the nation with mere taxes in its working life. While does the government waste so much of the money it it.

I does not mean to say not to promote good institutions, but I would like for more than some few institutes as each should have posses good infrastrucrure and facilities. As we have democracy so we cannot restrict any one from choosing the job and field of working. There is really a need from the top class brain and talented students to rethink their choice and its impact on the nation. How many of these students are choosing the government, research, public benifit, social engineering, agriculture, health and defence sectors as career. They are more responsible for the current and future of the nation as they are capable and the nation looks to them with great hope!!

Even if there is no hope <!--emo&Sad--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/sad.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='sad.gif' /><!--endemo--> then I would suggest there should be professional and clear steps from the government. There should be bonded contract from the government if student want to take up the concessional seat otherwise be ready to opt for the management like seat as it happens in abroad. <!--emo&:ind--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/india.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='india.gif' /><!--endemo-->

I would like to get your views!!!

Amol Deep
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>KVs score over public schools </b>  <!--emo&:bcow--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/b_cowboy.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='b_cowboy.gif' /><!--endemo-->
Praveen Kumar & Veena Sunderam | New Delhi 
This is an eye-opener for all those seeking admission to swanky city schools. <b>Delhi's Kendriya Vidyalayas (KVs) have retained their reputation of excelling in the board exams registering an impressive pass rate of 93.59 per cent.</b> Compare this to a pass rate of 88.68 per cent for private schools and the picture becomes clear. <b>In an era of show-offs and freebies, is it the plain approach of KVs to academics that makes all the difference? </b>

<b>Lower fees and limited resources have never kept KV students from proving themselves if past records are any indication. Dr UN Singh, joint commissioner (academics), Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan believes systemic planning and constant round-the-year monitoring of students have contributed a lot in recent years.</b>

Dr Singh said, "Right from the starting of the session we figure out low, average and high achievers in every class and then accordingly guide each one of them. Frequent tests and accountability of teachers are the basic factors which have always brought a good name to our schools."

He gives equal credit to the strong will and hard work of students. The profile of the students - largely wards of the service class - also is a big factor, according to Singh.

Public schools with their high fees and emphasis on "all-round development" end up spoiling students' academic chances," said an observer.

"Lack of commitment and admission of students of affluent classes in these schools may be one of the reasons behind their low passing rate as compared to KVs," added Dr Singh.
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Low politics in higher education
Philip G. Altbach, June 15, 2006

Increasing the retirement age of medical professors, as has been reportedly promised by the government, is yet another official response to the quota debate; the aim here is to make easier larger intake in elite institutions. This once again shows up a fundamental misconception: every country needs elite institutions. It's the only way to ensure enough quality.

Consider this: 10,000 American expatriates are now working in India for high-tech companies. <span style='color:red'>Infosys and Tata Consultancy Services will together hire and train more than 50,000 college graduates from abroad, including more than 1,000 from the US, in the coming year. Why? Because Indian universities are not producing the quality graduates needed for the top end of the new economy.</span> (<span style='color:green'>thrown in the UPA  caste/reservation hubris, we'll see these numers go up)</span>

India producesmany university graduates — in 2004 there were almost 700,000 degrees granted in science and engineering alone. However, with few exceptions, the institutions themselves are not of high quality. According to recent international rankings, only the IITs are noted at all, and even these are not anywhere near the top of the charts.

<b>India does not spend enough on higher education — only 0.37 per cent of GDP. The US spends 1.41 and the UK 1.07 per cent. Only countries such as Japan and Korea, where more than 80 per cent of students are in largely unsubsidised private universities, approach India's low spending levels. China spends considerably more than India.</b> <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
Boy tops JEE, lacks money for admission
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Fighting all the odds, Deepak Das, the son of a roadside teashop owner, has topped the JEE medical entrance test in Orissa.

But that may be as far as Deepak can follow his dream. He now needs Rs 20,000 for admission to a medical college and is not sure he can take it from his family.


To Help Deepak, Contact
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Deepak Das,
Baradia Village, Balikuda
Jagatsinghpur district
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Organiser Special Report
<b>Save Education, Save India
By Dr  J.S. Rajput</b>
Lies as facts, bias as comments and left ideology as academic toxin 

Even the universally respected and  honoured academics and scholars were not  spared. The first and the most  prioritised innovation was thus being implemented as if the victimisation of  individuals and demoralisation of institutions  were the only priorities before  the education system of India.  Never before, education in India was put to such political  siege as during the last two years. The ruling combine of the political parties  diametrically opposed to each other emerged on the basis of the eternal  political principle of 'power at any cost'.

Those out of power for nearly six  years were impatient and had only one goal before them: to return back to the  coveted positions and towards that end, were willing to sacrifice not only the  professed principles but even their self-esteem. The entire nation now watches  how the stalwarts of the 'support from outside' arm-twist the present alliance  in power practically on daily basis. Education and culture stand totally  surrendered to the select group of ideologically trusted academics who follow  the 'party line'.

Revert back to May-June 2004. It appeared that  educational institutions were  managed 'only' by undesirable elements that had  spoiled all the  'progressive' accomplishments of the earlier 50 years when only  'saintly'  individuals were at the helm of the affairs and consequently, for all  those years the entire education system was under the control of right-minded  (like-minded) luminaries.

There were pronounced declarations that actions and  enquiries shall be instituted against the guilty and the system shall be  cleansed up without delay. True to the promises made, enquiries were instituted  regularly. Several of the retired yet committed bureaucrats were fruitfully and  gainfully re-employed to save (serve) the nation once again. Some of them are  functioning even now, practically on a regular basis.

There is no dearth of more  enquiries. If one enquiry did not result in the desired outcome, another and  more followed it. It generated a climate of demoralisation and apprehensions in  the institutions. On the other side, several of the top-level functionaries were  seen running helter-skelter to establish new 'loyalties'. Most of them were  successful and were duly rewarded through continuation, extension and other  rewards.

For the first time, change of government really 'stirred' the system,  as vendetta was visible all around. Governing bodies and other committees of  autonomous institutions were sacked without any reason and rhyme. Even the  universally respected and honoured academics and scholars were not spared.

The  first and the most prioritised innovation was thus being implemented as if the  victimisation of individuals and demoralisation of institutions were the only   priorities before the education system of India.

There was more to the  political agenda. <b>Secularism comes handy to most of  the Indian politicians in  their political machinations and manoeuvres.</b> The  earlier government was headed  by a political party, which was voted to power by  the people but remains an  anathema to the 'secularist' (not to be confused  with secular individuals) and  helps them to stick together. No matter whether  the previous government had  really given desired priority to educational  reforms or not, they attacked all  the changes of their predecessor government  as communal and anti-secular. <b>An  entirely new meaning was accorded to the terms saffron and toxification. The  frequency of the usage of the terms like  'de saffronisation', 'de-toxification'  and even 'de-talibanisatin' shot up  exponentially for a couple of months. It  came down after the common people  started asking questions: "What was toxified  or saffronised and by whom?" The query remains unanswered. </b>

Yours truly  was targeted for the curricular changes in school education and  the preparation  of the new generation of textbooks. Personally I am yet to  discover what could  be termed injurious to the next generations of the Indians  in the textbooks  prepared during the period concerned. Yes, the monopoly of  the 'established'  writers of textbooks, particularly history textbooks was  broken and for this, I  received no instructions from any one. As the head of  the national institution  mandated to update the curricula at regular intervals, I led a team of dedicated  academics from within the organisation and with outside inputs to initiate and  complete the process.

The protests should have come to an end after the Supreme  Court of India, in its judgment delivered on September 12, 2002, fully endorsed  the recommendations contained in the National Curriculum Framework for School  Eucation-2000. Without increasing the price of the textbooks, the sales  increased from about 44 crore per year to over 165 crore in three years. To me  this was one of the modes of assessing the national acceptance of the  initiative. Combined with the Supreme Court verdict, it constitutes the best of  rewards one can hope for in his professional career.

I assert the above  based on my lectures, tours and other widespread  interactions throughout the  country during the last two years. In addition, I  have regularly expressed my  views in media. Tremendous support comes from all the sections of the society  for two major aspects that are invariably dealt with in these lectures and media  contributions.

The first, educational endeavour, its content, process and  pedagogy must strive hard to inculcate the values of truth, peace, non-violence,  righteous conduct and love. The other: basics of all the religions of the people  of India must be made known to children. They must know the commonalities and  also learn to respect differences wherever these exist. All religions must be  treated on equal footing and towards this end, teachers need to be specifically  prepared. What is needed is education about the basics of all the regions and  not religious education in schools.'

Both of these were put forward only as a  reiteration of the recommendations of  the Chavan Committee Report on Value  Education submitted to the both Houses of the Parliament of India in February  1999.

Indian State is secular but the Indian society is religious and   traditionally secular. The game plan carried out under the garb of 'danger to  secularism' is fast losing its relevance. People in general and also teachers  and other professionals and enlightened individuals are asking each other: "Who  is communal? Those who unhesitatingly exploit religion and caste for political  purposes or those who wish to strive for social cohesion and religious harmony?" 

The projected achievements of the Ministry of Human Resources Development as   perceived by the masses is limited to the flair for minorityism and the recent  outburst of energy to implement the OBC's quota in 'one go'! Often, I feel  grateful to the MHRD for having created conditions, one after another, which  have made people sit up and question the 'hidden agenda'. It, however, is now  the most known secret of the current times: Education for Vote, Vote and Vote!

Education in India now faces a disastrous syndrome under the cover of  de-saffro-nisation, de-toxification, minorityism and finally, casteism, which  appear to be the most 'productive' of the ingredients towards educational  progress of India! Thankfully, people now understand the 'game plan' and are  ready to contribute their might to redress the situation. This certainly is one  positive achievement in education, resulting out of sincere efforts of the  concerned citizens and organisation to generate public awareness and place the  real facts before them.

I accept my role and responsibility for all that  was subsequently projected as saffronisation and toxification of education. I am  confident that some day, the views contained in the Supreme Court verdict shall  find currency and Indian education system shall be upgrading itself in quality  and credibility, with the support of academics and scholars, away from the  clutches of political aberrations.
<i>(The author is former director,  NCERT.) </i>
<b>IIT Bombay to set up campus in Gujarat</b> <!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--> <!--emo&:cool--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/specool.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='specool.gif' /><!--endemo--> Ahmedabad, July 26: After housing prestigious institutes like IIM, NID and National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFD), Gujarat is all set to get a satellite campus of the Indian Institute of Technology (Powai) Bombay.

The IIT delegation, headed by its Director Ashok Misra, met state officials last week to finalise the setting up of the campus, state officials said today, adding that Chief Minister Narendra Modi was also present at the meeting.

The move would boost research in engineering and industries will get quality manpower for direct recruitment from the campus, they said.

State Science and Technology Secretary Raj Kumar said IIT Powai has asked for 300 acres of land to start the satellite campus. "The state government is in the process of identifiying this big piece of land around Ahmedabad or Gandhinagar for setting up of the institute," he added.

The Gujarat government will provide the land and infrastructure, while the Union HRD ministry is expected to provide construction funding, the officials added.

The expansion plans of IIT Powai are part of the HRD Ministry's directive to set up one such institute in every state, they said.

The campus will start functioning by July next year, housed initially either in the L D Engineering college or R C Technical Institute, till the new campus comes up by 2007.

Raj Kumar, who had attended the meeting last week, said the state government has asked IIT to create specialized courses in ports, petrochemicals and marine and aeronautical engineering, which will benefit the industrial sector<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
<!--emo&:flush--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/Flush.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='Flush.gif' /><!--endemo--> Colleges asked to ban 'Indian' prefix
[ 29 Aug, 2006 1418hrs ISTPTI ]

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BHOPAL: Madhya Pradesh has banned use of prefixes such as "Indian" and "National" by private educational institutions.

"If the names are not changed the recognition of such colleges will be cancelled," commissioner, higher education, has warned.

"The government has asked colleges to drop such prefixes within 15 days. Twenty-one institutions are using these prefixes," an official said.

Such prefixes were banned by the central government long ago.

The Ministry of Human Resources Development (HRD) wrote to the Madhya Pradesh government in April expressing concern about the continued and indiscriminate use of prefixes such as "Indian", "Indian Institute", "National" and "National Institute" by private institutions offering higher and technical education.

"It misleads unsuspecting and gullible students and their parents into believing that these institutions enjoy the patronage of Government of India or the government of the State. This is in violation of the Emblems and Names Act, 1950," the ministry wrote.

Instructions have also been issued to all heads of government departments, divisional commissioners, district collectors and chief executives of zila panchayats in this regard.
<!--emo&<_<--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/dry.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='dry.gif' /><!--endemo--> Lalu Yadav

He may be the quintessentially rustic politician whose 15-year-rule in Bihar as chief minister was dubbed by critics as 'jungle raj' but RJD president Lalu Prasad is set for an image makeover when he dons the role of lecturer at the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad next month.

The turnaround in the financial health of Indian Railways, with Prasad in charge, has been a subject of discussion in IIMs and Prasad is already being looked upon as a 'management guru'.

On September 18 this year, Prasad would be delivering a lecture to management students and the faculty at IIM-A, explaining finer points of the Indian Railways "turnaround", which earned a profit of Rs 150 billion in 2005-06.

The invitation to deliver a lecture came after IIM Ahmedabad Professor G Raghuram conducted a detailed study on the Railways "turnaround" and decided to introduce the case study in its curriculum.

In the process, it has become the second largest PSU profit-earner after ONGC. Prasad has surprised many by emerging as one of the top performing ministers in Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's Cabinet So what Prasad has done to the Indian Railways which his predecessors could not? The answer lies in his own down-to- earth attitude and rustic wisdom.

Prasad puts it in his inimitable style: "My mother always told me not to handle a buffalo by its tail but always catch it by its horns. And I have used that lesson in everything in my life, including the Railways".

Report card on Indian Education
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->There is a steady decline in the proportion of students enrolling in Science stream from about 33% in 1971 to 23% in 1983 to just about 20% in 2003-04
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>Arjun set to spike entry of foreign universities </b>
Santanu Banerjee | New Delhi
Even as the HRD Ministry is drafting Foreign Education Providers (Regulatory) Bill (FEPB), Arjun Singh is all set to take on the pro-reform and pro-liberal lobby within the UPA Government headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

The Ministry insiders believe that though Arjun Singh may have to accept and incorporate some of the liberal views from another higher education think-tank, the National Knowledge Commission, he is not giving up without a fight and has managed to create sharp division within the UPA on the issue.

According to sources, FEPB has been drafted in accordance with stringent regulatory recommendations made by both CNR Rao Committee and AICTE views favouring a strict regulation regime on foreign universities that want to venture into India.

The draft bill seeks to bring the foreign universities under rigorous Government rules that would provide for a strict monitoring on their fee structure, inclusion of reservation for SC/ST and OBC groups and all other major do's and don'ts prescribed under rules. It has a financial penalty clause in case of violation by foreign universities.
The National Knowledge Commission (NKC) openly advocated a policy of massive private participation in higher education and suggested that well-known foreign universities willing to operate in India should be encouraged to cater for a large number of students aspiring for higher education abroad.

Speaking to reporters a few months back, NKC chairman <b>Sam Pitroda had argued that Government did not have adequate resources for a major expansion of higher education and private participation was a must for the growing demand.</b>

Recently, Commerce Ministry with the tacit approval of Finance Ministry had also advocated a similar approach.

It had pointed out that affluent parents were spending huge amounts of foreign currency to get their children educated abroad resulting in both brain and foreign exchange drain.  <!--emo&:roll--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/ROTFL.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='ROTFL.gif' /><!--endemo-->

"<b>The only way to stop this drain on human and financial resources is to allow reputed foreign universities to operate in India,'' </b>a senior Government official said.

The liberal lobby wants that the draft bill should reflect that the country is willing to encourage foreign universities willing to invest in India, said a Government official.

This is the issue over which the next battle between the Prime Minister's Office, pro-liberal lobby in UPA and Arjun Singh would take off.

<b>``There is no use going for regulations which will discourage them from making investment in India,'' </b>an official said, adding, ``<b>We should try to liberate education from a politically-driven agenda and try to make education a humane commercial activity which would offer equal opportunities to all.''</b>

According to sources, the <b>liberal lobby within UPA also fears that the HRD Ministry is planning to bring another bill for implementing 27 percent OBC quota in unaided private institutions and this might run into a conflict with the FEPB.</b>

<b>``After all the foreign universities will also be (in equal terms) private unaided institutions, unless a proper perspective is taken before hand there will be complications,'' </b>pointed out a senior Government official.

However, Arjun Singh has done his homework to take on the liberal lobby. He has persuaded some UPA allies to support his stand on regulation of the foreign universities in India.

<b>Singh also expects solid backing from UPA's Left supporters </b>who have already expressed their reservations about allowing the foreign universities' operation in India.
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>English, mathematics as optionals mooted</b>
J.S. Ifthekhar

<i>Survey done by the HRD Ministry finds that Muslim, ST and SC students are scoring poorly in these subjects </i>

<i>The proposal draws flak from educationists APSCHE Chairman says without a strong foundation of mathematics and English job prospects will be bleak Special coaching urged for weak students </i>


How about making mathematics and English optional at school level? Surely, a lot of students would jump at the idea of getting rid of these difficult-to-crack subjects. But would it be in their interest in the long run?

<b>While the question is debatable, the National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions (NCMEI) seems to be veering round the idea.</b>

The Commission is seriously examining the proposal to make mathematics and English optional for <b>Muslim students </b>and those belonging to weaker sections to check their dropout level in schools.  <!--emo&:blink:--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/blink.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='blink.gif' /><!--endemo-->

<b>NCMEI chief favours</b>

Justice M.S.A. Siddiqui, Chairman, NCMEI, who was in the city recently, said However, Justice Siddiqui personally favoured the idea. <b>"When you want to be a musician or an athlete why study maths and English." </b>

"It is better the child remains in the school rather than out of it," he said.


However, the proposal itself has attracted lot of flak from educationists and minority leaders. "It will be suicidal if these subjects are downgraded to the level of optionals in the formative stages of the school education ," said Mohd Ishaq, noted educationist .

Subjects like mathematics, English and science provide a firm base for higher studies. Making them optional would be a stigma on the Muslim community. Such students would be considered second-rate material. "What the Government should do is to streamline the administrative set up and create a healthy academic environment," Mr. Ishaq said.

Fakhruddin Mohammad, honorary secretary, MESCO, also opposed the move. Economic deprivation and lack of educational background in the family is the cause for dropout.

"Has reduction of qualifying marks for SCs and STs really empowered them," he asks. <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
<!--emo&:flush--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/Flush.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='Flush.gif' /><!--endemo-->
<!--emo&<_<--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/dry.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='dry.gif' /><!--endemo--> Quality in rural education-by Skpimparkar
Many a times, a question is asked in Infosys® or some other company interview, that whether the education system in India was appropriate. Or whether candidate would like to bring a change in education system in India. whatever may be the answer. But one thing everybody will accept. And it is all about the overall quality. I use word overall. Many institutions are there that are very good and doing excellent work. But how many are they in numbers? And how many of them are non-english medium. The number is very small compared to overall number. The school education given in Govt. schools is very poor compared to private institutes. But the education provided in the professional government colleges is excellent and better than most of its private counterparts. Can we do something to minimize this gap? Oh! forget about government doing something. We should craft future of our motherland. Why to depend on the government?

A day wasted in childhood can be equivalent to one complete year later. Hence, let's take the responsibility on our shoulders. Why to wait for others to initiate? Let's bring the change on our own. Any rural school will allow educated person to teach specific subject in different manner than what the school teacher teaches. I don't say that school teachers are not good. I have full faith on them. But there is a need of driving factor. And a different angle of perspective. It is not at all necessary to teach the school subjects only. Along with school subjects, other good knowledge also can be shared. For example, computers, sports, general awareness, satisfying them by answering unanswered questions of them. Just have a trial and think how do one feels when one takes up a free class and be with the children (primary or middleschool).

So, let's be with them. Let's inspire them to be like true child of nation. Let's answer the queries they put forward. May be we learn something from it. Just an hour in some weekend is sufficient. Instead of wandering here and there or seeing TV shows, lets put a step forward to bring quality in education.

It does not require monetory investment. But, yes, it is a huge national investment that one may not even imagine about the gain later. And for this imagination, there is an absolute requirement of action. We are the ones who will carry the faith, the glory, good customs, the heritage and our nation to future, to next generation.
U.S. homework outsourced as "e-tutoring" grows

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->A New Delhi tutoring company, Educomp Solutions Ltd., estimates the U.S. tutoring market at $8 billion and growing. Online companies, both from the United States and India, are looking to tap millions of dollars available to firms under the U.S. No Child Left Behind Act for remedial tutoring.

Teachers unions hope to stop that from happening.

"Tutoring providers must keep in frequent touch with not only parents but classroom teachers and we believe there is greater difficulty in an offshore tutor doing that," said Nancy Van Meter, a director at the American Federation of Teachers.

But No Child Left Behind, a signature Bush administration policy, encourages competition among tutoring agencies and leaves the door open for offshore tutors, said Diane Stark Rentner of the Center on Education Policy in Washington.

"The big test is whether the kids are actually learning. Until you answer that, I don't know if you can pass judgment on whether this is a good or bad way to go," she said.
What's wrong with these Teacher's union people?
<b>Bihar on a teacher-hiring overdrive </b><!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Patna: Bihar is witnessing the largest ever employment drive for teachers in the state, and aspirants are lining up for what they say is the best step taken by the state government in years.

For many like Raj Kishore Mehta - the sole bread earner in his family of his five - this employment drive has come as a much-aspired dream come true.

<b>“Every one in our family is filling up the forms and the one who is the best will get the job,”</b> Mehta says.

<b>The latest drive is aimed at improving the teacher-student ratio from the present 1:62 to the national average of 1:40.</b>

Under the ongoing drive, over two lakh teachers are to be appointed in the state and the interestingly there’s no specified upper age limit.

"This is a welcome step by Bihar government. It’s been 20 years since my mother graduated and she is still unemployed. Even we have completed our stiudeis. Now the two of us will apply together,” says an applicant Mani Lal.

<b>These enthusiastic responses are just a reflection of how starved the state had been of fresh recruitments in over 15 years. </b>

The challenge before the fresh recruits now is to live up to the expectations of millions of Bihar students, all of whom are banking their hopes and betting their futures on the would-be teachers.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
Finally some good news from Bihar.
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>Rebuilding Bihar, brick by brick </b>
Nitish Kumar has rightly made education the new engine of growth; but he must ensure that each project takes off, says Arun Srivastav

<b>Bihar defines its state of mind by the indifference with which it treats education. In the years when Mr Lalu Prasad Yadav was ruling the State,</b> first as Chief Minister and subsequently through conjugal proxy, education was an ignored sector. His regime worsened an already pathetic situation.

College teachers would not get their salaries on time while their promotions had become a scandal. Hundreds of colleges were affiliated to different universities but without any infrastructure or provision for salary bills. These had become an endless source of scams and ills plaguing the system.

University education in Bihar had truly become farcical. In a bid to escape from this mire, students soon swarmed the best universities and colleges in the country, competed with students from other States in entrance tests and did well for themselves in spite of the system, and not because of it.

Meanwhile, politicians of Bihar, who were primarily responsible for triggering this exodus, were earning infamy for their dishonesty, corruption, lack of knowledge and anything even remotely approaching vision. Rampant lawlessness instilled fear in every heart.

It was in such a backdrop that the initiatives taken by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar in the field of education began. That students from all over the country would vie for admission through entrance tests, and pay Rs 30,000 per annum as tuition fee in addition to the cost of living for a law degree from an institution in Bihar was certainly not a very saleable idea, till a year ago. Leave alone students, even ordinary travellers had begun to skip the Bihar en route to their destinations. Such was its past.

This year, the first academic session of the newly set-up Chanakya National Law University (CNLU) began on August 14. Founded by Bihar Government, CNLU promises to provide quality education on the lines of NALSAR Hyderabad, NLSIU Bangalore and other law universities of repute. And the 80 seats on offer have all been taken up by deserving candidates who took the entrance test at Patna, Delhi and Hyderabad. Known for his excellent understanding of the running and functioning of legal institutions of repute, Prof A Lakshminath, dean and registrar of NALSAR, has been appointed the Director of CNLU.

Another important initiative of the Government is proposed appointment of 2.36 lakh teachers at the primary, middle and high school levels. Bereft of any industrial foundation, the only source of income for most people is Government jobs. Educated men and women who never had an opportunity to find employment in recent years are queuing up in large numbers to submit their forms at collection counters. The number of applicants is believed to have crossed one crore.

Agriculture, the only source of livelihood for an average Bihari farmer, too is in poor condition. Roughly half of the State remains almost perenially flooded, while the other half is in the grips of drought. The Gangetic basin is otherwise fertile with alluvial soil being brought by the annual floods.

Taking a step towards addressing the problems of the agricultural sector, Mr Nitish Kumar inaugurated a MBA (Agri-Business) programme at the Rajendra Agriculture University (RAU), Pusa. Eleven new Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVK) affiliated to RAU, too, are being built. Education is finally getting the required impetus for a new generation to come up and work for the betterment of the State. What Mr Kumar must ensure is that all the education projects are implemented, and not restricted to the drawing board. Looking at his modest achievements so far, optimism about Bihar's future seems in order. <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
I dont know if this is the right thread or not.


<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Why Indians are learning Chinese

Ravi Teja Sharma in New Delhi | August 16, 2006

There was a time when students keen to pick up at least one foreign language headed to either Alliance Francaise to learn French or the Max Mueller Bhavan for German.

Today, students and professionals are waking up to economic realities and opting for the language of dragon country, China.

Actually, the need for Indians to learn Chinese couldn't have been greater than it is today. China could well emerge as India's largest trading partner, surpassing the US soon.

Bilateral trade has been growing at a healthy 35-40 per cent, and ahead of targets - bilateral trade is projected at $20-billion bilateral by 2007, a year in advance of the target year of 2008.

The Chinese Language Institute in New Delhi has been teaching a much in demand course for over a year now - conversational Chinese. Over 350 students have already benefited from their two-month training module.

At least 60 per cent of these "students" are working professionals in the software and the travel and tourism business - NIIT, for example, is a contract customer - while the rest are college students.

Founder Akshay Garg though feels that India is already late in trying to learn the language, which most nations had started to concentrate on a few years back.

For teachers, he has tied-up with a university in China which sends native teachers to the institute in Delhi. The institute has recently ventured into online language training through www.chinese.in. The three-month course can be paid for through a credit card and can be downloaded on to the laptop or iPods.

"We are getting a lot of enquires about the online course from Bangalore and Mumbai where there are not many Chinese language options. Corporates like Satyam have expressed interest in the course," says Garg.

Most of the leading Indian corporates like Infosys, Reliance, Tata Infotech, NIIT, Essar, Apollo Tyres and even Satyam, already have staff deputed from India to their China offices and have a need for such ready-to-use courses.

For the erudite however, the Jawaharlal Nehru University in Delhi has been offering graduate and masters programmes in Chinese language for over 30 years. In fact, last year, the Chinese Ministry of Education proposed setting up a Confucius Institute at JNU's School of Languages, an initiative that is currently under process.

Employment prospects for Chinese literates are on the rise as teachers and translators for IT, pharma and chemical companies, for movie titles and for scientific research projects.

There is also a demand for such experts as customer service executives in call centres, as interpreters and as tourist guides (Chinese are emerging as a travel-hungry populace).

Business schools across India too have started offering Chinese as a language option. The Institute for Integrated Learning in Management and the Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies, Mumbai, are among those who have already introduced Chinese as an option, and Symbiosis plans to introduce it soon.

Down south, the Great Lakes Institute of Management has gone a step further and made Chinese compulsory for its students of the one-year full-time post graduate management programme.

Interestingly, the opening of the Nathu La pass for trade last month has generated its own demand for the language. The head of Amity School of Foreign Languages, Anita Sahni, informs that eight students have joined its one-year Chinese course. All of them are from the area around Nathu La pass in Sikkim. And you thought that the dragon and the elephant can never shake hands...<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

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