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Re: Manifesto

Since I usually end up receiving this mail at my office almost 8-10 hrs
after the topics have been discussed, I usually end up repeating some of
the thoughts probably already mentioned. Hence I tend to keep a silent
observer. Anyway, here are some of my points on this issue.

[Due to lack of a permanent internet connection facility in my company, I
really am not able to get access to the Web, so my contributions comes in
fits and starts]

> (f) shall formal schooling be equated
with trade schools? > 
> 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.
Whatever science/social science is taught in the +2 is usually repeated in
the first year of the trade schools. This is helpful for students to
recall the basics that they have learnt there, but for those who come in
from a regional language medium school, it is not so very familiar for
them - it's a new subject altogether. So it is better to limit the
curriculum to the basics of language teaching, and some basic math and
science in the schools till +2 and take up the finer topics in the trade
school curriculum. 
More focus should be on providing information to students in their schools
about the options available to them once they are out of school. I
remember during my time which is still not so very much in the past but in
'88 that the only options that were available for me to make a career in a
city of MP were engineering, medical and above these the IAS. This lack of
information and sight into a broader spectrum of vocations still is
prevalant in such smaller towns, despite the availability of media in the
form of TV and radio. 
So probably it is better to make the +2 layer of the schools as a guide
rail for the students to shift into than making them learn subjects which
will remain with them only till the exams of +2 are over.
Not everyone would like to be a doctor or an engineer, there is the media,
there is law, the areas where technical operator level work is required
which does not need one to be a graduate, but sharp enough to take up the
technical skills. Hence the primary focus in this level should be t impart
direction, and the basic infomation in terms of skills required to get
into that vocation. This part could be covered in the first six months of
the +2, then, based on one's inclination, or based on specific aptitude
tests, one can be suggested which stream one should opt for. The remaining
year to year and a half can be dedicated to teaching the basic skills for
that vocation that the student has chosen to get into. this way, the
individual is ready for the field with a lot of basic information to work
on and develop once into the area of work. 
This also gives them enough opportunity to look at these options and if
they are sharp enough, become entrepreneurs in their field by employing
suitable methods.

> 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.

In this case, as suggested in the above model, one can really choose to go
to college or not, by opting for the vocational model in the +2 period.
As per my definition - a college curriculum is an information imparting
phase than an educating phase which in my opinion should be over within 
the first 15-16 years of the students schooling period.
Hence, not everyone will be required to go to college once out of
> 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
> 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."

This is fine as far as the language and literature of the country is
concerned. Once a person gets into a profession, there is rarely time for
him to think about the beauty of a language, than just using it to express
Personally, I do tend to admire writers, people with the gift of using the
right word to convey the right shade of their feeling, in the right kind
of sentence construction, which evokes a mixed set of feelings,
emotionally, psychologically, philosophically...
But if one tends to impart information which is primarily a gospel truth
in terms of the scientific principles, one needs to follow a global
pattern which is understood by everyone, and becomes easier for a person
to relate to other of his vocational community. 
So it would be wise to keep the college level curriculum of the specific
vocation in English, wherein I agree with Ash. 

> 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.

Even now, there are schools where students learn science in Hindi, but
they do come out with good results once they join colleges where the
medium is primarily english. Survival tactics I guess...

> 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?

If a system needs to be in place I think it should be uniform in terms of
the content meted out to the students. so, probably if a school(private) 
offers more facilities in sports and extra-curricular activities, then
it's the choice of the individual to choose that as an add on facility and
pay for it, but as far as basic education goes, it needs to be the same. 

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