Skip to main content

One of Gujarat Children’s University jobs is to send a functionary to the house of a pregnant woman to read out scriptures!

By Prof Rohit Shukla*
Gujarat is one of the fastest urbanising states. With increase in population and rising aspirations, a large number of young people are in search of good education. But this whole process is nipped in the bud with wrong policy set up, poor administration and prejudiced behaviour.
At the primary level there is a very high drop out rate. The infrastructure is poor and even many centrally sponsored schemes are not fully and properly utilised. According to a survey undertaken by the State Government, it is found that hardly 10 percent of the schools qualify for quality education.
There are ill‐conceived efforts at privatisation at all levels of education. The schools run by the private and ‘only for profit’ individuals or institutions charge exorbitant fees. There are many agitations by the parents, which remain unfruitful. The rumour has it that many of such institutions are run by the people who are in close proximity to the seats of power.
Higher education, which is to be viewed as a harbinger of the future of the country is under stress and is a worst victim of short‐sightedness and antipathy. Some of the main symptoms are as follows: o In most of the grant‐in‐colleges, the staff recruitment is under suspended animation for almost two decades. This has resulted in loss of quality education.
The mindset of the government is not forward looking as, in schools as well as colleges very little encouragement is provided for scientific way of thinking. There is an effort to homogenise the thought and disagreement or discourse is disallowed. Orthodoxy and exclusivity are used to divide the society.
While education is privatised and exorbitant fees are charged, appointment of faculty with good and commensurate salary is a day dream. There are many bright careers which are lingering either as part timers or daily wagers, despite possessing degrees and qualifications prescribed by the Universities Grant Commission (UGC).
While old and established colleges are feeling suffocated, the Government keeps on establishing newer universities. It is even hard to decipher the purpose of some such universities. For example, there is Children’s University, which is perhaps the only one of its kind in the entire world. Under the scheme of the things, a functionary of the university goes to the house of a pregnant woman and reads out from the scriptures! Such process of giving “Sanskaras” is continued till the child reaches the age of 18. Is this a process of creating some super race?
We also have yoga, petroleum and Sanskrit universities. Does one require special universities subject‐wise? This is an avoidable waste of resources. Function of the education is to equip the society and its members to become more productive. Education is expected to provide a framework and a perspective for future and balanced development of society. That way this sector is expected to generate externalities such that the dreams of our constitution are realised.
There is a feeling of nostalgia when one thinks of the decades of sixties and seventies. Education atmosphere was more democratic and progressive. Control of feudal mind set and influence of money bags was on the wane. A very large number of poor and deprived class students could take advantage of the inexpensive education.
Gujarat has lost the trail. It has become less and less democratic and more and more monolithic. People who work very closely in this field and have a long trail of experience behind them find that it requires an immediate course correction. Future of an entire generation is under siege.
---
*President, Save Education, Gujarat Chapter; Editor, “Abhidrashti”, a monthly journal devoted to education for the past almost 50 years; President, Gujarat Economic Association; formerly with the Sardar Patel Institute of Social and Economic Research, Ahmedabad

Comments

TRENDING

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

'Anti-poor stand': Even British wouldn't reduce Railways' sleeper and general coaches

By Anandi Pandey, Sandeep Pandey*  Probably even the British, who introduced railways in India, would not have done what the Bhartiya Janata Party government is doing. The number of Sleeper and General class coaches in various trains are surreptitiously and ominously disappearing accompanied by a simultaneous increase in Air Conditioned coaches. In the characteristic style of BJP government there was no discussion or debate on this move by the Indian Railways either in the Parliament or outside of it. 

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Why convert growing badminton popularity into an 'inclusive sports opportunity'

By Sudhansu R Das  Over the years badminton has become the second most popular game in the world after soccer.  Today, nearly 220 million people across the world play badminton.  The game has become very popular in urban India after India won medals in various international badminton tournaments.  One will come across a badminton court in every one kilometer radius of Hyderabad.  

Faith leaders agree: All religious places should display ‘anti-child marriage’ messages

By Jitendra Parmar*  As many as 17 faith leaders, together for an interfaith dialogue on child marriage in New Delhi, unanimously have agreed that no faith allows or endorses child marriage. The faith leaders advocated that all religious places should display information on child marriage.

How embracing diversity enriched my life, brought profound sense of joy

By Mike Ghouse*  If you can shed the bias towards others, you'll love the connections with every human that God or his systems have created. This gives a sense of freedom and brings meaning and joy to life. Embracing and respecting how people dress, eat, and practice their beliefs becomes an enriching experience.

Ayurveda, Sidda, and knowledge: Three-day workshop begins in Pala town

By Rosamma Thomas*  Pala town in Kottayam district of Kerala is about 25 km from the district headquarters. St Thomas College in Pala is currently hosting a three-day workshop on knowledge systems, and gathered together are philosophers, sociologists, medical practitioners in homeopathy and Ayurveda, one of them from Nepal, and a few guests from Europe. The discussions on the first day focused on knowledge systems, power structures, and epistemic diversity. French researcher Jacquiline Descarpentries, who represents a unique cooperative of researchers, some of whom have no formal institutional affiliation, laid the ground, addressing the audience over the Internet.

Hindutva economics? 12% decline in manufacturing enterprises, 22.5% fall in employment

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*  The messiah of Hindutva politics, Narendra Modi, assumed office as the Prime Minister of India on May 26, 2014. He pledged to transform the Indian economy and deliver a developed nation with prosperous citizens. However, despite Modi's continued tenure as the Prime Minister, his ambitious electoral promises seem increasingly elusive. 

Banned Maoist party protests in Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, claims support across globe

By Harsh Thakor*  Despite being a banned and designated as terrorist organisation under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act since 2009, the Communist Party of India (Maoist) is said to have successfully implemented a one-day bandh across Kolhan division in Jharkhand on July 10th, with repurcussions in the neighbouring Chhattisgarh. The bandh was called to protest against alleged police brutality in the Kolhan-Saranda region.