FW: News on 28.12.2003 Seminar

[mail had scanned copy of news report, can be accessed at: http://www.tribuneindia.com/2003/20031230/ncr1.htm#13, text at end of message]

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Subject: News on 28.12.2003 Seminar
Date: Tue, 30 Dec 2003 13:16:04 +0530

Commercialisation of education decried
Bijendra Ahlawat
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, December 29
The ongoing commercialisation of education and its set up had led to ?dangerous dimensions? detrimental to the subject itself and the society as a whole. If it was not checked, the education would become not only as inaccessible to the common man but the definition and parameters of the education will be defined by the people selling it as a commodity.

This was perhaps the conclusion of the one-day seminar on ?commercialisation of education and the means to improve the standard of education in the government schools??, organised by the Abhibhawak Ekta Manch, Faridabad, here yesterday at Sector-15 community centre. A large number of speakers from the cross section of society took part in the debate.

A retired IAS officer, Mr R. C. Rao, claimed that the standard of education in most of the government schools was not as poor as projected by a section of society.

He said a large number of people who had reached to various heights in their professions and occupied top posts had done their schooling from government schools only.

Admitting that the performance of several government schools had not improved or had declined further in the past few years but he said, we need to look into the real factors that led to such a situation.

He said the main reason for the problem today was that the dedicated and hardworking teachers were not given their due recognition but the persons who were not qualified and who shirk their duty were given patronage and shelter by the political and administrative lobby.

Stating that most of the time the government school staff was given unnecessary work and duties and they are unable to pay the attention to the work for which they had been employed.

He claimed that if half of the funds given by the government for this department was used properly, there could be a change on the desired lines. Programme anchor on TV and the president of the Sampooran Kranti Manch, Haryana, Mr Yogender Yadav, said there was an urgent need to launch a countrywide movement to stop the commercialisation of education through awareness programmes on the subject and involving the people so that they could express their views freely and put pressure on the government machinery to take proper measures before the education becomes an ?out of reach commodity?.

A type of conspiracy had been on to label the government school education as substandard and to project the education given by the public schools as the only option for the middle class also.

He said the standard of education and the infrastructure in the government schools was also to be maintained and upgraded regularly so that the students of such schools were not isolated and putting the future of such schools at the stake.

Dr Janaki Rajan, Director, State Council For Education and Training, who was the chief guest said that today?s education was creating a division in the citizens itself and amazingly while the victim strength of the emerging system was more, there was no awareness and an effort to check the unholy trend. Dr Rajan asked the parents and social bodies to take up the issue prominently and try their best to maintain the sanctity of the education.

According to other main speakers, which included educationists Madan M. Jha, Prof. B. N Arora, C. D Verma, Prem Chand Deswal, Mr O. P. Sharma and Mr N. L. Gosain, the commercialisation of education had started showing its ill effects.

They claimed that falling standard of education and attendance in the government schools had been a direct result of the promotion of the education as a business activity. They said education in the private and public schools was becoming costly and nearly inaccessible for a large section of society.

While the private teaching shops had been flourishing the functioning of the government schools had not improved in the ratio to the funds allocated by the government.

It was demanded that a long-term strategy be prepared and implemented for improvement of standard of teaching and learning in the government schools, if the government wanted to achieve the aim of providing education for all in near future.

Mr Ashok Aggarwal, advocate, Supreme Court, asked the government to revamp the education system and network in the government sector and see that the private and public schools, which get several facilities including cheap land and support, do not violate the rules and regulations and give equal opportunity to all for education and bill was required to be passed to keep a tab on the indiscriminate hike in the fee and other funds.

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