Tenth anniversary kudos

Congratulations on completing 10 years of uninterrupted publishing! I am a regular subscriber of EducationWorld and believe it has played a pivotal role in focusing gover-nment and public attention on the grossly neglected education sector. You and your entire team must be thanked for relentlessly highlighting the shame and scandals in India’s public schools system, the strangulating grip of licence-permit quota raj in higher education, the machinations of successive Union HRD ministers, and the many scams which plague our education system.

Your anniversary cover story ‘10 Big Ideas Revolutionising Indian Education’ is a tribute to the country’s small minority of education leaders who are spear-heading the reform of Indian education. Indeed for people who are disheartened with the pathetic state of education in the country, your cover story offers hope and comfort that in the past decade there’s been positive progress in Indian education. While ICT has radically improved the classroom experience of students, edupreneurs have done the nation a great service by expanding capacity in school and higher education.

I’m happy that in your 10th anni-versary issue you chose to celebrate 10 big ideas positively changing Indian education, rather than lamenting the inequities of the system. It offers hope for the future of Indian education.

Suryanath Tripathi

Voice in wilderness

Congratulations for completing a decade of publication of EducationWorld. But while this is a notable achievement, I fear you will have to continue to “plough a lonely furrow” and remain a small voice in the wilderness of the sham democracy that is 21st century India. The Indian bourgeoisie — including Indian industry, particularly the IT industry — is utterly self-centred, greedy and avaricious. It will never get engaged with public education. It is committed to taking, never giving — “primitive capital accumulation”.

Best of luck!

Amit Gangopadhyay

Pathetic vanity

I was appalled to read the letter ‘Arbitrary survey’ by Dr. P.C. Thomas, principal of Good Shepherd Inter-national School, Oota-camund in your 10th Anniversary issue (EW November). It smacks of gross intolerance and pathetic vanity. I wonder why the principal of a reputable school should be worried about the 5th or 6th ranking if he is satisfied with the processes and products of his school. One gets uneasy only if one’s moorings are on publicity and exhibitionism. As a principal it hardly matters to me if I am not even considered for a survey, let alone being ranked 5th, 6th or 7th.

Many schools live on past glory, thriving on the vanity of the emerging noveaux riche with snobbish flambo-yance and show biz. Education should refine our minds and hearts and display the fine qualities of tolerance, poise and grace, and above all a sense of humour which enables one to take criticism and discouraging words with a pinch of salt.

If the principal of an international school cannot exhibit such great qualities, I wonder what kind of cultivation of minds and refinement of sensibility take place in such schools. Unfortunately many parents overlook these invisible values, and are misled by glittering uniforms, breathtaking parades and mesmerising public func-tions of such institutions. Little do parents know that behind all that glitter there are skeletons in the school cupboard, which might come tumbling out if a real HR audit is conducted.

Can I also contemplate legal action for not including my school in the list? Let us spread more sunshine rather than clouds of insecurity, intolerance and fury.

Chacko M. on e-mail

Needless controversies

I would like to comment on the reaction of Dr. P.C. Thomas, principal of Good Shepherd International School, Ootacamund to your EW-C fore Survey of India’s Most Respected Schools 2009 (EW November).

It is really surprising that you conduct surveys of schools without visiting them. No one would blame you if you didn’t publish a list of most respected schools. Instead of ranking them, you could highlight the good things about the schools you intend to write, rather than creating needless controversies by rating and ranking them. You need to understand that all schools (whether offering international or national curriculums), are contri-buting to the good of society.

You have been doing a wonderful job in the past decade. Therefore I hope you will take my advice in good letter and spirit.

Moreover I was disheartened to read about the sorry state of affairs at Visva-Bharati University, Santiniketan (EW November). It is a real shame that after existing for more than a century, VBU is fighting for petty causes. It’s high time that the teachers and staff of VBU became aware of the meaning of value-based education and service to mankind.

This is the least that Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore deserves.

D.M. Virupaksha Swamy, Chairman
Bhoomi Public School
Gubbi, Tumkur

Words of praise

I just received the latest issue of EducationWorld and must commend the incredible work of your team. What I like most about EW is that apart from the regular articles about Indian educa-tion, it contains news updates from most states of the country. A reader becomes involved when she receives news of her immediate environment.

I shall do my best to help your endeavour.

Jyoti Kala on e-mail

Travel benefits

EducationWorld  is a very informative magazine on the subject of Indian education. It is very useful for school students and should be placed in all school libraries. I particularly like your leisure & travel features. They have prompted me to advocate compulsory tours for students.

Students traveling around the country is good for national integration and broadens the knowledge and outlook of children.

Mahesh Kapasi
New Delhi

See the light!

Although educationworld is held in high esteem in many circles, yet in the field of public schools, I wonder why many of your indices go totally awry? Your EW-C fore Survey 2009 of India’s most respected schools (EW Septem-ber) falls grossly short on many a parameter.

For instance your rating on the academic reputation of public/boarding schools. RIMC notched up successive all-India firsts in NDA Entrance Merit, in all three services (Army-Navy-Air Force) in December 2008 and yet again in June 2009. I wonder which school can look at cracking competitive all-India exams with toppers in successive years? This was highlighted last year too after your September 2008 issue.

Moreover for co-curricular education, not only are we organising several all-India inter-school events, our cadets also participate all over the country. Though we have only 250 students in RIMC, our participation and perfor-mance would outshine many of the schools that you have rated above us. I am enclosing an extract depicting the range of our co-curricular and extra-curricular activities conducted over the last two semesters for all our 250 students. Every single cadet is multi-tasked and invariably becomes multi-skilled.

I am addressing only two of your several parameters here. Although our perspective of judging public schools may be different, I thought it prudent to feed you with inputs in instalments in a gradual manner.

Hoping you will see the light with these inputs.

K.S.Ahlawat, vice-principal
Rashtriya Indian Military College Dehradun

Invalid outcomes

I have recently had my first interaction with EducationWorld. I found it a rewarding experience and hopefully will be seeing more of it in the future.

Having been involved in different capacities in the area of school education, I find that a publication like yours can play a very significant role in opening the eyes of people that matter in an area of enormous need for the nation. I am sure this is your focus and I would be happy to lend support to this venture.

Re your EW-C fore Survey 2009 of India’s most respected schools (EW September), I wish to constructively comment on it. Since the survey is based on “perceptions” I feel that a sample of just over 2,000 to cover the entire country is unreasonably small.

As mentioned in your cover story, there are sharp differences in percep-tions across the country. Also you will find very skewed opinions in the larger cities from different parts of the city (e.g East Delhi and South Delhi or Bandra and the Fort area of Mumbai).

Since these highly differentiated perceptions are eventually collated into a standardised point system, the outcomes are not truly valid. Moreover since parameters have not been defined there is uncertainty over the import of some of them. For example does ‘infrastructure’ relate to facilities for computer education or the number and cleanliness of toilets?

I am also concerned about the parameter of ‘quality of alumni’. For instance the age of the school, the number of alumni and knowledge about their positions in various fields may not be known to many respondents. Secondly there is obviously something questionable about a major variation in the quality of alumni year on year.

Please take this letter in the spirit in which it is intended, since the objective is to help schools continuously improve and help parents learn about the schools their children attend.

Ashok P. Singh
Honorary Secretary, Board of Trustees
Junior Modern School, New Delhi

Great dream

It’s great that EducationWorld is celebrating its 10th anniversary year. You have done a great job of high-lighting India’s education challenges, opportunities and needs.

The nation owes you and your team a debt of gratitude. I hope and pray EW will continue to argue for the right of every citizen to expect and provide education, and the right to education for all will become a reality.

Some day this dream will come true in its fullness.

K.V. Simon

Perilous ignorance

Congratulations to EducationWorld for completing ten years of uninter-rupted publication in the cause of social justice through education. Yet the frustration expressed by you in your letter from the editor (November) is because you are fighting the disease, rather than the cause of mass literacy.

How can a society allow beggars and destitutes to produce babies when they don’t have right to adopt them? Even if they are given this right as human beings, how many lives should they be allowed to ruin? India’s poorest tend to have more children than average Indians as the kids are put to work as beggars from an early age.

Population control has become an unpopular subject after the Emergency of 1975-76. But we ignore it at our peril.

Sandeep Verma on e-mail

Greetings from Shillong

Congratulations on your 10th anniversary issue. It’s a big accomp-lishment and hats off to you. The contents of EducationWorld have always been interesting and compelling, and I am proud to be a part of the EW family.

In this issue I liked the essay by Pratap Bhanu Mehta from the Centre for Policy Research. I was once a senior fellow at CPR in 1996.

Glenn Christo

Dr. Glenn Christo is vice chancellor of the Martin Luther Christian University, Meghalaya and one of the first individual investors of EducationWorld Editor