Education for All

September 24, 2015, Chennai

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Education for All

If you thought this article is about Education as a fundamental right, let me clarify that it is not.
This is about the State of Education – in particular higher education, as it is today.
There are a number of things that should be corrected, some of them being:

I have an issue with the admission process, in particular for professional courses, in TN.
Rather than one agency or University – Anna University in our case – being responsible for allocating seats in hundreds of colleges across dozens of discipline, why can’t individual colleges take responsibility for admissions?

Colleges should invite parents and students to start getting in touch with them when the students are in 11th Standard, lay out the criteria for admission, which can vary from college to college.
Colleges should go by track record and achievements of the student over a period of time, with weightage given to non-academic skills.

Of course the marks in the final exam (12th Standard in this case), will have weightage too. If an open and transparent system of admission, with all the costs to be incurred by the parent for the duration of the course clearly spelt out, will it not make life easy for the students and parents?
In the present system being followed, there is not only no transparency – in case of most private colleges, it is also sad that while best begets best mediocre begets mediocre.

It is only fair that the best and brightest get into top colleges, but the not so bright or mediocre students (judged based on one Final exam), are forced to join colleges that do not have basic facilities.     
Can we blame only the colleges (or politicians – it is an open secret that most colleges are owned by politicians) for this inadequacy?  Parents and their wards who patronise these ‘colleges’ are to be blamed, too. Why the desperation? What is the purpose? What is the use?  

Add to all these woes, the idea of Tamil medium in higher education. Without a doubt, this is a retrograde step. The argument about Russian in Russia, Japanese in Japan does not fly, because Tamil in Tamilnadu is not the same. Tamil medium education restricts one from seeking jobs in other parts of the country, leave alone outside. The major difference between Russia & Japan vs India is while those countries are ‘one language countries’ we are many, many languages….

We need education of our rulers, the politicians, the parents, students -------- our entire society needs to be educated. What is required is Education of/for All.

L  Ravichandran
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