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Re: Manifesto

[mderator's comments: It's good to see the education topic getting 
started on. To keep the discussion focussed, starting now I will not
be forwarding mail related to other issues to IP. I will 'release' that
only on Sunday. So those of you who have other things to say please
hold on to your views till that time. If you do want to send them 
right away, please wait for a while to see them posted on IP. If 
anyone has any objection to this, please write directly to me. My 
email address is: premkumar@tamu.edu. Thanks,     Prem.] 

> 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? 

My answer will be decentralize. Put 6% of GDP in primary and secondary 
education. Give the money to states and put systems to audit every 
penny of it. Give powers to states. But put national standards. 
Similarly, let states govern the appointment of teachers but have 
national standards for teachers to join the profession.

> (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)

At this point, India having limited resources and huge population 
under 15, all children should have a right to attend government schools. 
If one can afford to send their kids to Private schools, they should 
on their own.

> (c) how much education shall be compulsorily required?

We did have some debate on this issue before. At this point we were 
not sure if you can make it compulsory. 

> (d) shall there be more than one system of education?

I don't understand the question as what you mean by "one system". But 
I would say standardize the system. 

> (e) what should the curriculum include as a rule, and what can be discretionary?

This is where I think standardization comes in. We should have bodie 
like NCERT which continually iupdates the syllabuses and it should be 
mandatory for other state boards to follow these guidelines.

> (f) shall formal schooling be equated with trade schools?

I think we have a good system of everyone have a 10+2 education and 
then have trade schools like present Polytechniqes. I am not sure but 
they could be equal to a two years of college education. I think it is 
so today. 

> (g) what fraction of the population should ideally go to college?

We should motivate every one to go to college. But let every one earn 
a college degree. Governement should provide low interest loans rather 
than a free ride. Let every one make a decision as what they want to do
with their lives. If someone qualifies to go to college, he or she must
but they should earn it.

> (h) what shall be the language of instruction?

With the diversity in India, I would suggest that governement should 
fund the local language as language of instruction. But at the 
university level, it must be english. We have a good thing here, let's 
not throw it away.

> Ash: 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. 

I couldn't agree more. In one of the earlier discussion I had suggested
that government could use this knowledge in exchange of tuition for 
these kids to teach in small villages to teach elderly education 
programs, close to their university. 

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