Democracy-literacy Near alied
(Note: If the national literacy rate is still at its rock bottom in Indian democracy, it is due to the criminal neglect of the powers that be both at the Centre and States, except of course in Kerala. The temples of democracy, Nehruji said, were factories, dams and industrial complexes. He was correct 1% only and wrong 99%. Literacy alone is the back borne and operating tool of democracy which is a talking shop, a debating house for deciding what is good for the common good and not just for the politicians. Because of this neglect ours have become a shamefully corruption infested democracy. In fact in certain states politicians go out of their way to keep the public illiterate, so that they can manipulate them according to their whims and fancies to mint money. This is sadly true even in Catholic schools many of which indulge in capitation fees. I can vouch for it. With 80% marks for my son I knocked the portals of all Catholic schools in Kerala for engineering and lost out like the apostles fishing the whole night and catching nothing. “Launch out into the deep (of the Church of North India)” cried to me a well wisher and I did. There it was enough to have 60% marks and that for medicine. And the fees? Just 3 Lakhs, where as the going rate in India is 5 lakhs. He is now an accomplished doctor after completing his studies in the Philippines. It was the case with his 3 elder sisters who passed BSc nursing on merit, not with capitation fees. Even now it is not late for the BJP government, to make schools the golden temples of free education and enlightenment. Then how can the ever so many MPs an MLAs who have their own private schools loot the Daridranarayans of our country? The more it is delayed the sooner a repeat of the French revolution is bound to strike India. james kottoor, editor)
The Indian middle class, which benefited from public health, education and employment in the pre-1991 era, was quick to shift its allegiance to the private sector which promised quality for a price. The initial attraction is beginning to wear off as private education and health have become prohibitively expensive, but they are not ready to return to public institutions. The recent report on the fee details put out by the Tamil Nadu Private Schools Fee Determination Committee for the next two academic years has set the alarm bells ringing.
The dramatic and damning revelation that kindergarten education costs more than engineering education should be a cause of concern for the civil society, policy-makers and government regulatory agencies. The situation is no different in rural areas. There have been reports that even the poor are thronging the private English-medium convent schools seeking admissions for their children. In the specific Tamil Nadu instance, the State Government, which is committed to public welfare, could revisit the regulatory framework and review the functioning of the committee set up under the TN Schools (Regulation of Collection of Fee) Act, 2009. While the school managements have some valid financial reasons, the truth is they are taking undue advantage of parents’ vulnerability.
The proliferation of private schools can pose social problems in the long run. Many ‘elite’ private schools lack socio-cultural diversity. Many even segregate children on the basis of so-called ‘academic performance’. Children come out of these schools with warped thinking. On the other hand, a government school with socio-economic and cultural diversity helps in enhancing the social and emotional intelligence of all students. Therefore, State governments across the country should reform the education system so that it can attract children from the middle and upper middle class families too. And, with increased resource allocations and evaluation by government agencies and parents’ associations, government schools can contribute substantially in promoting social unity, tolerance and cohesion.