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Re: Manifesto

> NCERT can be the answer to this question.
> Who shall be appointed to the NCERT. Should the NCERT be a representative
> if it is to set mandatory guidelines? Should there be constraints on
> guidelines.

The idea of a central body that makes decisions about curriculum etc is
But does the same board set curriculum for all levels of education? 
What influence will the government have on this body? 
If multiple bodies are involved in deciding educational policies for
different levels of education, how will they co-ordinate with each other?
Should they collaborate with institutions outside the country as well?

IMO, a primer to an educational policy is a vision for India ( I am sure
that our 'Five  year plans' were supposed to be based on some vision.) .
Based on this,  we caneate an economic model - which projects growth of
each sector of our economy over  a period of time - say 10 years,  this can
be translated into human capital required in each sector, over that period.
 Such a model will help us answers such as' what percentage of students
should be encouraged to go for higher education' , vocational training etc.
In the absence of this we'll have bus conductors with post grad degrees and
software engineers with Bcom etc. ( Unproductive education) The question
is, who should create this economic model.  Private agencies whose services
are bought by the govt. or the govt. itself?  For those familiar with GMAT,
GRE etc, this is a typical example of a private sector initiate to setting 
standards for education.

> Can the NCERT require a student to 
> learn Hindi or Urdu, for example?

IMO , The issue of learning languages cannot be forced on anyone. It has to
be an individual's choice. But how can we create an incentive for it? Ash's
link to his article in rediff was excellent. Here are some thoughts on this
issue, primarily based on his article.

a) The use of patriotism as an incentive for promoting the native language.

While this has worked well for Europe, it is not as easy for India
considering that we have many languages.  Should I be more proud of being a
 malayali or an Indian?  Would the fact that I do not speak Hindi as
fluently as someone else in the Hindi speaking belt make me less of an
Indian?  IMO, if we need to use patriotism as an incentive, we should
replace Hindi with Sanskrit, the mother of all Indian languages, as the
national language .  ( Frankly, I know very little about Sanskrit and its
limitations, and so my argument may be flawed in that respect). With
Sanskrit, I, a Malayli, who feels strongly for my language should also feel
at home with my national language - the lode stone of my mother tongue. 
Could we regain a bit of our lost patriotism, this way? 

b) Economic incentives for learning the native language.
1) Using language as a test of overall intelligence in selection processes
for higher education, jobs etc. 
2) Encouraging a tourism industry that focuses on local art and culture.

c) Creating Barriers as a way of promoting the native language
1) Teaching stable topics ( History, Geography,Local art etc)  in the
native language.
2)  Making the native language the first language for official communique. 

(f) shall formal schooling be equated with trade schools?
I think trade education should be given a lot more emphasis than it is done
today. Do our Polytechnics provide access to the latest technologies? VLSI
Chip maufacturing,  Plastic Moulding, Telecom Installation and Maint. ,
Medical Equipment Maintainence ....  I suspect that their curriculum still
covers Radio repair, Foundry and Electrical wiring!
In Singapore, I noticed that their Poly Techs are given as much importance
as their Universities. Facilities are almost on par.  The net result  is
that they have a very strong workforce of semi-skilled and skilled
technicians to support a high tech  manufacturing environment. Do we have a
lesson here? 

Also, the internet provides us with a powerful, transparent medium for
collection and dessimination of information. There are technologies to
overcome some of the barriers to languages as well.

 How can we use these tool for
1) Standardising our education system,
2) Making teachers more accountable and minimising political interference?
3) Getting the best minds - parents, teachers, and business persons to
collaborate on creating and  continuously reforming our educational system?

(PS. Sorry about the length of this posting!)

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