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Re: Manifesto



>> (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.

The centre operate a curriculum, each state has its own, and people move
between several systems. At least that's how it is now. I agree that
standardization will help, perhaps we should separate the curriculum
into courses specifically geared to be compatible with standardization,
and others geared towards local discretion. This is emotive, as we shall
see.

>> (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
> bodies like NCERT which continually iupdates the syllabuses and it
> should be mandatory for other state boards to follow these
> guidelines.

Who shall be appointed to the NCERT. Should the NCERT be a
representative body, if it is to set mandatory guidelines? Should there
be constraints on those guidelines. Can the NCERT require a student to
learn Hindi or Urdu, for example?

>> (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.

I think the +2 is not all that helpful. The trade school curriculum can
easily provide the little science or math or whatever that is needed in
trade school without forcing students through rigorous coursework in
stuff that is simply not handy. I've never had occasion to use any of
the chem or bio I learned in +2, for example.

>> (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.


Agree, except for the part about motivating everyone to go to college.
This is simply not necessary, even in the US, only 25% of people finish
college, and that is considered overkill. The Europeans have about 15%
who finish college, most other jobs don't need college, trade programs
are much better. We don't want to subsidize unproductive years.

>> (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.

On the face of it, this is self-defeating. Most of the guys from
tamil-language schools or kannada-language schools who were in college
with me had a huge handicap. This is something to think about. Also,
should the private schools be required to follow this line?

My preference is to have university education in all but the sciences
and business be in the local language too. I've said quite a bit about
this, and without repeating that, let me link

http://www.rediff.com/news/nov/10ash.htm

and provide the two paragraphs which, to me, are the essence of my
argument.

"People already know their local language. Why not teach them in it? We
must be careful that we teach not merely what we are able to teach, but
what the people need to learn." I might know English and may not know
how to teach in Hindi, but that is my limitation, not the learner's.

"Language does not merely portray our lives, it is the human experience.
Every word has a story behind it, and the stories collectively are the
history of the people in them. If our stories are to be preserved, we
must continue to tell them in ways that are unique to us."

One more question:

(a) Is the right to education limited to learning in a government
school, or can the people trade that in for money to go to a private
school?

Ash

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