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Re: Manifesto

Dear Ash:

I hope that more people will share their views. I think we have 100 people in 
this group. I hope we at least get 100 mails by next friday on education. 
Please see my sugssetions below.


On Thu, 10 Sep 1998 19:12:09   Ash Mahesh wrote:
(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.
Utkarsh: Actually NCERT prints books for each subject for every class. I think 
we should take that make an standard for boards to follow as text books.

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

NCERT can be the answer to this question.

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?

Utkarsh: I am not sure how NCERT is run today but I would think that the a 
board of teachers, policy makers and parents appointed by the education 
minister will be a good way to start.

(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. 

Ash: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.

Utkarsh: I realized that for joining a polytechnique you just need a class X 
certificate completed. I am not so sure if we should not teach bio in class Xth.
I think the key is the syllabus and the teaching methods. UP board teaches 
chemistry with an awful syllabus which has not been revised since my father 
went to his high school. Delhi board books make it fun. I would rather suggest 
a student to be knowledgebale some things about
more subjects than deeper on few subjects. 

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 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.

Utkarsh: I would say we still encourage everyone to go.

(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


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."

Utkarsh: I went to Hindi medium schools till class 12th and know how difficult 
it is move to a University which uses Enlish as medium of instruction. But I am 
not sure  if we can wait till all the literature of every subject is translated 
in regional languages. May be we can introduce English Terminology more than 
what we have today in the 10+2 instruction.

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?

Utkarsh: With the situtation today, we should be concerned to srpead the money 
to have nots than paying Rs. 25 per month to a kid whose parents can afford 
him/her to send to Scindhia.

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