LETTER TO KAPIL SIBAL
There are so many questions swirling in my mind, and probably in thousands of Indians minds. To begin with, why does the education ministry only show great zeal in improving higher education and “imposing” further reservations on it? What about the rot prevailing in the basic primary classes?
In fact, ever heard of primary education, and children in rural areas not even having access to it? Why, the existing govt. schools are masterpieces of your government. Once an average underprivileged child studies in them, his future is ensured – an enhanced hand-to-mouth existence. Now if poor parents refrain from sending their kids to these schools, can’t blame them, can you?
And what is this IIT-mania? Tenure after tenure, your government seems to be tampering with IITs. You are fully aware that medical stream would stream out from the overfilled glass called IIT. Yet you want to force medical into it. Open an IIB, if that you are so desperate to tackle the non-existent lack of good doctors in India.
Recently, I also heard that you made good 12th board results and an aptitude test the criterion for entrance into IIT JEE and other engineering colleges. Oh, Mr. Sibal, do show as much maturity as your white hair suggest and you’ll soon discover how easy it is for students to get fake board certificates or fake caste certificates for reserved seats. And, in case you don’t know, India has around 25 state boards, in addition to CBSE, ICSE, IGCSE and IB. The difficulty level, exam level and score level varies from board to board. Also, CBSE is a high-scoring board. It would thus be imperative to first to bring them all at par before employing such a chimerical criterion. I suggest you give the task to the folks who conducted the online CAT last year. They are well-equipped and experienced in dealing with the guilt of messing with lakhs of aspirants.
It is highly appreciable that you recognize the fact – demand in this sector is higher than the supply. The special evening-classes by AICTE are a very thoughtful idea. But a jaw-dropping increase in seats in engineering courses by 2 lakh! Surely Mr. Sibal, Harvard must have taught you the simple economic principle that goes thus – increasing the no. of seats in existing institutions decreases the quality of education, whereas increasing the no. of existing institutions improves the quality of education. There is a huge scope for establishing “proper” schools in rural areas and bereft small towns that are of such a quality that students don’t throng to Delhi and other mega cities for education.
At this point, it may appear that this letter is highly critical, yet I admire you, who unlike your predecessors have shown the willingness to listen and speak out boldly. You recently introduced the CCE system in the schools that has made education increasingly synchronized with the global pattern with greater emphasis on being objective than subjective, thus calling for an in-depth understanding of the lessons in text-books. But no-one has really understood or experienced how this has helped in reducing stress!
Last year, you derecognized the 44 deemed universities. It was a big step with adversely rippling effects on academics and future of its 2 lakh students. It isn’t clear what your ministry is doing about that.
To conclude, you promised university students a low-cost tablet “Sakshat” for the university students. It is such a lucrative offer. But the point is that with android technology, camera, wi-fi and touch-screen systems, is it possible that the laptop could cost 35 $, and as you hope in future – 10$? Are you aware that OLPC (One Laptop per Child) in 2009 dreamt of a ubiquitous $100 laptop but the project fell far short of fulfilling this goal? All I want to tell you is that right now India does not need OLPC or 35$ laptops. It needs more educational institutions, more children attending those schools i.e. implementation of RTE, one teacher per class and one LCD per class.
With undue offense and due respect,