24 years of uninterrupted publishing of a magazine is an exemplary record, even if it sounds self-congratulatory. Yet it’s a measure of our commitment to EducationWorld’s mission statement, viz, “to build the pressure of public opinion to make education the #1 item on the national agenda” that come rain or shine, health or illness, we made sure we met the publication deadline, mostly on time. For this, I thank our editorial and marketing teams in Bangalore and Mumbai. All of us have averaged well beyond the 70 hours per week prescribed by business tycoon N.R. Narayana Murthy as a pre-condition of national development — working not only hard, but also smart (see editorial p.18). As the first education-focused news publication in Indian history, we had to generate demand rather than meet it.
Nevertheless, although education has not moved to the top of the national development agenda, during the past 24 years since our first issue of November 1, 1999, we have the satisfaction of having moved the needle of public policy on several critical issues. For instance, our relentless campaign to accord high importance to professionally administered early childhood care and education (ECCE) has resulted in foundational education being made compulsory in the new 5+3+3+4 school education system mandated by the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020. Similarly EW’s consistent advocacy of skilling has resulted in skills education being given high importance in NEP 2020. Likewise, the huge contribution of private schools and higher education institutions — routinely trashed in the media and academy — to Indian education was first acknowledged and encouraged by this publication. As a result of these and other EW initiatives, some ideological balance and equity has been restored in the education system — as acknowledged by Dr. K. Kasturirangan, Chairman of the drafting committee of NEP 2020 and currently of the steering committee of the National Curriculum Framework.
A defining feature of EducationWorld is that we interpret ‘education’ widely. Therefore in this 24th Anniversary issue, we examine a phenomenon that purists may not classify as education. Our cover story analyses the obfuscated issue of the continuous resources and talent drain from India and related conundrum of why Indian emigrants succeed beyond the wildest imagination in their adopted countries, but remain mired in mediocrity and poverty in India. As we argue in this anniversary issue, the root cause is neglect of QEFA (quality education for all).
There’s a lot else in this “over-engineered” 24th anniversary issue of EducationWorld. Check out our several Special Anniversary essays penned by respected commentators in India and abroad; our enlightening People section and our Anniversary Retrospective feature in which we recall some lead features which stimulated a turning point in Indian education. It is a bumper issue packed with information and insights.
Thanks for your support and Happy Diwali to all!