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Letter from the Editor

Letter from the Editor

Exactly 18 years ago, this monthly magazine was modestly launched with a hugely ambitious objective: “to build the pressure of public opinion to make education the #1 item on the national agenda”. Almost two decades on, I must admit we are nowhere near achieving this objective. Looking back, it didn’t seem like a hugely ambitious objective at the time. The new millennium was a season of euphoria and hope. Therefore, your editors assumed that once the eyes of the populace were opened to India’s massive education deficit and to the enormous sustained investment of people, material and money that other nations around the world were making towards universalisation of primary-secondary and higher education, our political leaders, the intelligentsia and academics would see the light and unhesitatingly support our crusade. 

Unfortunately, that hasn’t happened. There seems to be a curious reluctance within Indian society to urgently summon up the will and sinews to contemporise our pre-primary to Ph D education, and bridge the gap which separates India not only from the older Western democracies, but also from the newly emergent countries of Asia including China that have surpassed India in literacy, learning outcomes, inventions, innovations and industrial and agriculture productivity. Indeed, far from the need for education reform and renewal being naturally accepted by our targeted publics — schools, colleges, universities and the intelligentsia — this publication has been resisted as the bearer of bad news and has had to struggle for acceptance. Nevertheless through sheer persistence — 18 years of continuous publishing, climbing every mountain and confronting thousand unnatural shocks — I believe that with our million-strong readership (small given the massive population of the country) we have succeeded in moving education from rock-bottom towards the top of the national agenda. 

Be that as it may, in this 18th anniversary issue of EducationWorld, we have pulled out all the stops to highlight the major issues that confront Indian education. Some of the country’s most insightful columnists — Dr. Geeta Kingdon of University College London; Dr. Pulapre Balakrishnan, Ashoka University, Delhi NCR; Prof. J.S. Rajput, former director of NCERT and NCTE; Dr. Krishna Kumar, former professor of education at Delhi University, and Rajiv Desai, the well-known Delhi-based columnist — have contributed special essays to mark the occasion. 

Moreover, in this landmark anniversary issue in a very topical cover story, co-founder and managing editor Summiya Yasmeen has squarely confronted the issue of the country’s increasingly unsafe schools, and included the views of the country’s most respected educationists on this disturbing subject. And in the supporting special report feature, we recall EducationWorld’s reaction to several milestone events of the past 18 years and our struggle to save and improve Indian education. With small successes and large failures. Nevertheless, readers can rest assured we won’t give up and will continue to be bloody bold and resolute to attain the mission we adopted 18 years ago.  

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