Holistic destruction of education
SIR, ~ This is with reference to your timely editorial, “Higher Secondary” (5 June). The Left Front government had barred the teaching of English at the primary stage and the outcome was catastrophic. An entire generation suffered due to this wrong decision. It was indeed an attack on a subject. The present dispensation seems determined to ensure the holistic destruction of education to gain cheap popularity. The withdrawal of “Pass and Fail” system up to Class 8 has ruined school education. Every change, including that of the syllabus, is being effected in haste and in an unplanned manner. In the fullness of time, Madhyamik and Higher Secondary examinees will pass out with a level of knowledge that students gather between Class 5 and 8.
A theatre personality-turned-flim actor-turned education minister simply does not deserve the post he holds.
yours, etc., aranya sanyal, siliguri, 6 june.
SIR, ~ A photograph with the caption,”Workers of the Trinamul Congress who were injured during a clash with CPI-M workers……” was published on page 5 of your Kolkata edition on 1 June. It is strange that a photograph, showing the same people, appeared on page 2 of the Bengali daily, Kalantar ~ the CPI mouthpiece ~ on the same day but with a very different caption. It stated that Left workers were injured after being attacked by Trinamul men. This is a visual puzzle that I have failed to work out.
yours, etc., gopal chandra ganguly, kolkata, 5 june.
2 The correspondent must cancel one of his two subscriptions. ~ Ed.S.
Parties and the CIC
SIR, ~ The response of the major political parties to the CIC&’s order, bringing them under the purview of the Right to Information Act, is disappointing.
It suggests that they have a lot to hide from the public glare. Political parties, by their very nature, are public entities. The anti-defection law has accorded constitutional recognition to the office-bearers of the parties. They cannot evade their accountability to the people. And the objective of the CIC&’s directive is to enlighten the people.
yours, etc., jai shankar agarwala, (advocate, supreme court), new delhi, 6 june.
SIR, ~ The Central Information Commission has ruled that political parties are within the purview of the Right To Information Act. The moot question is whether or not the parties are public entities.
The CIC&’s decision is logically sound as the political parties theoretically serve the public interest. In a sense, therefore, politicians are supposed to work for the people and the country.
But unfortunately, they are by and large engaged in enriching themselves. The RTI Act can lead to the unearthing of black money. The CIC order will keep the politicians on their toes.
yours, etc., mahesh kapasi, new delhi, 6 june.
Appointment of VCs
SIR, ~ This refers to the report, “V-C gets extension despite Governor&’s unwillingness” (4 June), and the editorial, “Against ad hocism” (27 May). In your comment, you have correctly remarked that the creation of more universities will be infructuous unless the fundamentals, such as the statute and statutory entities, are in place. While extending the term of Professor Kaushik Gupta, V-C of West Bengal State University (WBSU), for the third time, the Governor asked the education department to expedite the process of forming the search committee and make the appointment for four years without extension.
The government is impervious to the Chancellor&’s caveat. It has ignored the Governor&’s message and hastily formed a search committee merely to extend the tenure of the VC against whom a departmental inquiry is in progress. The plea that the newly-formed committee will take time to finalize the name of a regular Vice-Chancellor is unconvincing.
It is the state government that finalizes the statute. Several universities in West Bengal do not have statutory bodies because the government is indifferent. Political considerations appear to be more compelling. Even Presidency University does not have a statute and a court.
The arbitrary manner in which the education department grants extensions to interim Vice-Chancellors has caused a flutter in the academic roost. According to rules, an extension can be valid for either six months or a year. And yet several interim heads of universities have been granted indefinite or “uninterrupted” terms. Clearly, political meddling plays a major role in the appointment of VCs; academic merit is of lesser moment.
The education minister, Bratya Basu, has claimed that “the extensions are granted by the Chancellor. The department has nothing to do with it.” This is self-contradictory since the recommendation is forwarded by the department. The Governor is expected to stand by his directive and reject any recommendation for extension or ad hoc appointment of Vice-Chancellors.
yours, etc., s s paul, nadia, 5 june.