Commendable commitment

As chairman, on behalf of Bhoomi Education Trust and Bhoomi Public School, I’d like to comment on your lead features in the May issue. The cover story (‘Azim Premji University: Exemplary gift to Indian education’) and special report (‘RTE Act, 2009: First anniversary status report’) were timely and well-presented. Both stories should serve as eye openers to the country’s narrow-minded autocrats and bureaucrats.

While we have seen Indian business-men donate generously to world renowned universities abroad, Azim Premji’s commitment to the cause of Indian education and his vision and philosophy are commendable. I hope this exemplary philanthropic gesture will set an example to those who are capable of doing but lack vision and motivation.

Re the first anniversary celebrations of the RTE Act, 2009, the only cause for celebration is the Act’s completion of one year! It’s a shame that a country, which once hosted the best university in the world (Nalanda), and despite more than a century-old campaign for quality elementary education for all initiated by leaders such as Gopal Krishna Gokhale, hasn’t achieved a breakthrough in this long pending issue. Unless there is a will to act at the top level and determination at the grassroots level, universal elementary education will remain a distant dream.

A determined effort by the Central, state and local governments, citizens and parents, is required to transform this elusive dream into reality.
D.M. Virupaksha Swamy
Chairman, Bhoomi Public School
Gubbi, Tumkur

Exam-oriented English

Re your news report ‘China challenge tremors’ (EW May), I agree with Hema-latha Raghupathi’s observation that it is belittling English at the school level that has caused a decline in English language proficiency in Tamil Nadu.

The English language syllabus is framed to “enable” pupils of Tamil medium schools in the remotest areas to pass public examinations. That is cutting feet to suit shoes! The teaching of English is wholly exam oriented rather than driven by proficiency objectives. Even in the higher secondary (Plus Two) exam, objective type questions are asked, for which no creativity is required.

All this may help the education depart-ment proudly declare statistics of English learners in the state but will not help in increasing English language proficiency of its citizens. Now it’s the turn of China to overtake us and in future, if this trend continues, it may even be Kazakhstan!

It’s not too late if eminent academi-cians take genuine measures to intro-duce proficiency oriented teaching-learning of English from kindergarten. But this will happen only if politicians keep their hands off the education system.
P. Alwarappan

Brilliant exposé

Your cover story ‘Mr. Bumble Mukherjee’s grudging provision for public education’ (EW April) is a brilliant exposé of government and intelligentsia hypocrisy on public education.

It’s shameful that the Central government’s outlay of 0.58 percent of GDP in Budget 2011-12 for education of over 500 million children and youth is being hailed as a huge commitment by the finance minister. Even the meagre sum aggregating Rs.350,000 crore per year is being thrown down the deep black hole of public education with nothing to show by way of improved learning outcomes. And the middle class, intellig-entsia and champions of the public interest stand idly by. EducationWorld is an exception. Kudos to you!
S. Raghunandan on e-mail

Middle class conspiracy

You deserve congratulations for exposing the 60-year-old middle class conspiracy to keep the poor in their place by imposing substandard and under-funded government school education upon them (EW May cover story ‘Mr. Bumble Mukherjee’s grud-ging provision for public education’). Never before has the true depths of this conspiracy against the poor been so clearly explained. EW has done the public a great service.
Pramit Chaudhuri

Additional recommendation

I would like to express my appreciation for the wonderful special report titled ‘Summer reading lists for parents/teachers’ published in the April issue of EducationWorld. I am a librarian in Welham Girls’ School, Dehradun and would like to add a few books — which I believe will prove informative and useful for teachers and parents — to the list.

They are: What is Worth Teaching by Krishna Kumar; 2000 Tips for Teachers by Nick Packard & Phil Race; Learning to Teach — Not just for Beginners (The Essential Guide for all Teachers) by Linda Shalaway; Cooperative Learning — Getting Started by Susan S. Ellis & Susan F. Whalen; The Mind Map Book by Tony and Barry Buzan; Teaching Your Children to Think by John Langreher; Effective Teaching Strat-egies and Innovation in Education by Dr. M.P. Chhaya; ABC of Human Mind (a Reader’s Digest compilation).
Paramjeet Kaur
Welham Girls’ School,

Premji’s example

Wipro chairman azim Premji must be applauded for promoting the Azim Premji Foundation — a non-profit initiative to improve elementary educa-tion at the grassroots level across the country — and the Azim Premji Univ-ersity (EW May). It is commendable that even if belatedly, India Inc is coming forward to help those unable to afford quality education.

Quite clearly the Central and state governments don’t have the resources to cater to the needs of the country’s millions of underprivileged children. Therefore business houses should contribute generously to upgrade and improve educational institutions in their own interest. Now that the Wipro chairman has acknowledged his social responsibility, other corporate leaders must follow suit.
Mahesh Kapasi