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Credit omission

I am a regular reader of EducationWorld and delighted that this pioneer education publication has completed 18 years of uninterrupted publishing. Many congratulations!

Your 18th anniversary issue is a collector’s item. The cover story on child safety is brilliant, the anniversary essays are insightful and relevant and the special report ‘EW’s unfinished long march to save Indian education’ has beautifully summed up the education milestones of the past 18 years. You have rightly taken credit for helping bring education from the periphery to the near centre of the national development agenda, and for changing many misdirected government education policies such as the proposal to dilute the autonomy of IITs and IIMs.

However, an important victory EW has failed to take credit for is the ouster of R.K. Chaturvedi as chairman of CBSE. I am convinced your cover story (EW February 2017) highlighting how under Chaturvedi, CBSE was transforming into a command-and-control organisation and stifling the autonomy of affiliated private schools, was instrumental in his being fired from his post. Kudos to you!

Manish Sharma
Delhi


Cultural deficit

Your anniversary cover story ‘How to make our schools safe’ (EW November) was timely and well-researched. Child safety is a neglected issue nationally particularly in government schools. I was horrified to read about the government school in Bangalore with no compound walls and a stinking drain near children’s classrooms. Such neglect and indifference to children’s well-being is unheard of in any Western or even south-east Asian country.

I tend to agree with Dr. Shekhar Seshadri’s analysis that there’s a national cultural deficit of love and care of children. One has to just walk down any Indian street and notice the sad plight of unsupervised young children begging and/or peddling sundry goods. The government as well as the public don’t care two hoots that millions of children face daily physical, sexual and emotional abuse. We need to put pressure on government to ensure all children are in school and learning in safe and secure environments.

Manushree Gupta
Kolkata

 

Voice in wilderness

Congratulations on EducationWorld’s 18th anniversary and the outstanding work you have done over the years to highlight the major challenges confronting Indian education. Yours has been a lone voice in the wilderness fighting for education reform and a better deal for all of India’s children.

Though there’s some realisation within the political class of the importance of education in national development, I don’t think we have made great strides in upgrading public education. Government schools still lack basic infrastructure such as labs, libraries, electricity and usable toilets; teachers are poorly qualified and trained; learning outcomes are abysmal; rote learning is rampant and curriculums are outdated. Unfortunately, your persistent demand to increase spending on public education to 6 percent of GDP has fallen on deaf ears. Strong public pressure needs to be exerted on politicians to reform the public school and higher education systems.

Keep up the good work and keep fighting for India’s children! 

Dharmesh Darshan
Mumbai

 

Killing creativity

I loved reading the 18th Anniversary essay by Dr. Krishna Kumar titled ‘The downside of beautiful schools’ (EW November). It offered a refreshingly new perspective to the rush of 5-star private schools springing up in big and small cities countrywide. Their main draw seems to be their infrastructure — manicured lawns, air-conditioned classrooms, swimming pools, golf courses, etc — rather than excellent teachers and innovative curriculums.

Dr. Kumar is absolutely right when he says children are being deprived of the opportunity to explore, learn and grow in these luxurious, sanitised schools under constant CCTV surveillance. Too much regimentation of children is depriving them of their natural right to be messy, have leisure time and daydream. Also, there’s an increasing trend among schools to force children to participate in a host of co-curricular, extra-curricular and sports classes after school hours. This is being done under the pretext of equipping them with 21st century skills such as robotics, STEM learning, etc. 

I strongly recommend that all school principals read Dr. Kumar’s essay to understand how this type of regimented education is stressing children out and killing their childhood and creativity.

Diana Fernandes
Goa

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