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Re: Manifesto



> Please volunteer for whatever task or topic you think you can do
> best. Who is interested in sifting through the archives at
> indiapolicy? And who wants to put it in English (Ash? What about
> you, do you have the time?)

Between the university, Rediff and India Together, I probably shouldn't.
But I'm a fool for my causes. So I'll give it a shot, using the first
topic as a trial run.

> 1. Education - Will cover Literacy, Primary and secondary Education,
> Higher Education and research, Involvement of private sector

We may as well get going.

(a) who shall teach, the centre or the states?
(b) who shall be taught, all students compulsorily or only those who
choose to attend state schools? Does the state nevertheless incur an
obligation to fund others (as through voucher programs)
(c) how much education shall be compulsorily required?
(d) shall there be more than one system of education?
(e) what should the curriculum include as a rule, and what can be
discretionary?
(f) shall formal schooling be equated with trade schools?
(g) what fraction of the population should ideally go to college?
(h) what shall be the language of instruction?

I'm sure there are many more questions, and we'll get to those. May I
propose something else, an understanding of the value of education and
the obligations that the educated acquire.

In the process of being educated, students need to be taught to think
that their education is not merely a passport to privilege, as
Schumacher put it. Instead, they must realize that the education is
accompanied by obligations incurred on behalf of society, and that the
true measure of an educated person lies in fulfulling this obligation.
Without punishing those who walk away from the obligation, it must still
be possible to encourage others to fulfill it.

For example, college science majors could be offered an incentive to
teach science in the schools for a year or two. Maybe an Honors degree
can be awarded not for being very good with the grades, but for doing
honorable things instead! Like helping with literacy efforts,
contributing to program development at junior levels, etc. I don't offer
these examples necessarily as the ones I want to see, but I want to give
you the flavor of my thinking, that the educational process is
simultaneously an investment by society in the student being educated,
and that the repayment of that investment be considered "respectable" or
"honorable". We need to re-grasp the value of honor, shame, integrity,
and other "old-fashioned" notions in our society. The
each-man-for-himself model is highly successful in economic terms, but
not very alluring ultimately.

Regards,

Ash

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