I READ THE latest edition of EducationWorld with great interest. In particular, I enjoyed reading your impressive cover story ‘Why the RTE Act should be scrapped’ (EW April) which offered rich food for thought.
I am hoping the issues of university autonomy and lightening children’s school bags are covered in your future editions. Well done!
Prof. M.R. Dua
Kerala’s contrary example
EVEN AS YOUR APRIL cover story holds overt and covert Left ideologues and the Congress party responsible for the country’s pathetic education system, I would like to bring to your attention the success story of public education in Kerala, a Communist bastion.
Today, there is a growing movement among people here in favour of state-run schools, contrary to the sentiment in the rest of India. Government and government-aided schools in the state have recorded increased enrolment of 12,000 in LKG and 16,000 in other classes in 2017-18. Around 5,000 government schools are IT-enabled, English is taught from pre-primary classes and infrastructure is robust with monetary contributions from the Centre’s Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (Education for All Programme), local civic bodies and the Local Area Development Funds of MPs and MLAs.
While until circa 2000, the situation wasn’t good with 17 percent of government schools functioning under thatched roofs, successive governments of Kerala, especially the incumbent communist government, have revitalised the public school system. Other state governments need to learn from Kerala’s high quality public education system.
THE SPECIAL REPORT feature on Bangalore University (EW April) was very revealing. It is disheartening to know that BU, my alma mater, is not ranked among the country’s Top 100 universities by the Union HRD ministry’s National Institutional Rankings Framework 2017.
I applaud the author for examining in detail the causes for its plight. I agree there is urgent need for a genuine road map and substantial financial support. Hope the powers-that-be take the trouble to read your deeply researched feature.
CAN THE RUMP Bangalore University (after trifurcation), suffering traffic snarls on its Jnana Bharati campus in Kengeri, regain its earlier reputation? ‘No way’, I say. But its offshoot Bangalore Central University (BCU), sited on the Central College campus, has a good chance of achieving some level of academic excellence given that some of Bangalore’s best colleges are affiliated with it. It won’t be a cakewalk for BCU given that Bangalore’s relatively new private universities have impressive facilities, committed faculty and offer numerous streams and courses.
There’s a lot that big bro BU can learn from Bangalore’s National Law School of India University (estb.1986), which was initially housed in a couple of backrooms of BU’s physics department in Central College and moved to its present campus in a corner of the Jnana Bharati campus in 1991. Along the way, the institution has evolved excellent academic traditions and practices that have transformed it into the country’s #1 law school in all media rankings. Moral of the story: it’s easier for diminutive institutions guided by professional academics — and free of bumbling babus and politicos — to develop credible academic ecosystems.
RE YOUR EDITORIAL ‘Evil consequences of bank nationalisation’ (EW March). To check frauds and scams in nationalised banks, privatisation is not the solution. In fact, public sector banks are most needed in rural India. The government’s goal to provide banking services to all citizens and create a cashless economy can never be met by private banks as they run on a purely commercial basis. The hefty charges for various services offered by private banks make lower and middle class people shun them. The broader social objectives of banking can never be met by private banks.
Agreed, public sector banks must not incur losses but at the same time, they are not meant to make huge profits. A self-sustaining model is acceptable. In my opinion, nationalised banks must be managed on the lines of private banks and adhere to stringent business management norms, rules compliance and tight accountability. That’s the need of the hour.