The cover story on the Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas (EW August) was well-researched and balanced. The feature brought into focus a tried and tested model of delivering quality rural education at a modest invest-ment.
Itâ€™s a pity that successive governments at the Centre have chosen to remain tight lipped when it comes to bestowing praise upon this valuable legacy of the late prime minister Rajiv Gandhi â€” whose name has become more infamously associated with the Bofors case than this priceless contribution to rural education. I donâ€™t recall reading any detailed report about JNV schools in a mainstream newspaper or magazine in the past two decades since their establishment. I wonder why? The recent CET crisis in Karnataka has hit the national headlines, while noble, path-breaking initiatives like these are not given even modest coverage.
After reading your comprehensive article I am convinced that this is an initiative which needs to be duplicated and triplicated in multiple locations. If this is done I am sure the UPA governmentâ€™s promise of providing quality education to rural children will be fulfilled soon.
Appeal to advertisers
I want to express my support to the appeal of the editor of EducationWorld (July 2004) to all corporate bodies and professional institutions to re-evaluate the advantages of advertising in EW. I have read every issue of this high quality education newsmagazine since its inception and believe that it rivals any other education publication I have read anywhere else in the world. EW provides thought- provoking accounts of global significance with fearless, well-informed commentary in an erudite style and contains contributions from writers around the world.
Marketing and advertising managers should appreciate that it will drive their rupee further as the magazine is read not only in India but attracts readership abroad as well. I have made presentations in schools, colleges and universities in Australia, Canada and India and have used the magazine as an information bank.
Moreover as a member of the Bishop Cotton School Society in Perth I have circulated the magazine to former students who visit India regularly and are therefore part of the international public who are potential targets for your advertising. I have also introduced EW to parents and school principals who want to send their children to study abroad with favourable feedback.
The prospect of the demise of a publication of this value closes the door to a significant section of your public. Donâ€™t let it happen.
Perth, Western Australia
The tragic fire accident in the Saraswathi English Medium School in Kumbakonam (Tamil Nadu) which claimed the lives of 93 innocent children (EW August) has prompted massive introspection about rules and regulations which should be made mandatory for all government and private run schools in the country.
There is an urgent need to propagate safety campaigns in schools to create a 100 percent safe environment for children. Today the emphasis is on comfort and luxury in schools while safety manuals lie unread in libraries and on the book shelves of principals. All schools must have enough water and fire fighting equipment on call. Employees must be fully trained to operate this equipment.
It is the responsibility of teachers and other employees to be ready for all calamities. In the Indian Army we have simulated war games to build the capabilities and confidence of our troops. Teachers and school employees need similar dry runs regularly. According to a newspaper report, “The teachers told the children to remain in their classes while the fire was on and they themselves left the classes to save themselvesâ€¦” This is shameful and must never happen again.
City Montessori School, Lucknow
We are actively engaged in trying to eradicate ragging from the campus and hostel in our university. To this end we have counselled second year students, empowered the freshers in introductory workshops to protest against ragging and have conducted surveys to measure the incidence of ragging.
We would like to know more about successful measures taken by other educational institutions to eradicate ragging. We would appreciate your help in this endeavour.
Sujata Roy Choudhury on e-mail
I am the principal of an ICSE school in Kerala and also a resource person involved in organising orientation programmes on teacher motivation. I find that EducationWorld is welcomed by all educational institutions. It fills the vacuum that exists in terms of professional reading for teachers.
Support for state boards
With reference to your special report feature â€˜Swelling support for common school systemâ€™ (July), I wish to contest the author Summiya Yasmeenâ€™s assertion that “itâ€™s hardly disputed that the 28 state boards offer inferior infrastructure, sub-standard education and less rigorous syllabuses and examination assessment”.
While I agree with most of your views, I must bring to your notice that all state boards are not sub-standard with less rigorous syllabuses. If anything the CBSE and ICSE syllabi which are dictated to by the NCERT are more sub-standard than of some states. In Maharashtra, Uttaranchal, Madhya Pradesh (under Arjun Singh and Digvijay Singh in their previous avatars) the prescribed syllabuses were of higher standard.
Kamala Menon on e-mail
The Balachandran example
I read with interest the institution profile on Great Lakes Institute of Management, Chennai, promoted by illustrious academic Prof. Bala V. Balachandran in Chennai.
I hope and wish that many more NRIs who have excelled abroad would follow Prof. Balachandranâ€™s example and come back to India and establish international quality education institutions.