Manju Jaidka Writes a Letter to the Prime Minister

Dear Mr. PM ji

Much as I respect you for the unruffled dignity you maintain despite all the tornadoes and hurricanes buffeting you all the time, I wish you would do something about the thousand and one ills that plague our education system.

I am an educationist (working in an institution that has been your alma mater too) and my views are based on my experience of four decades in this sphere. It breaks my heart to see higher education become a mere apology of what it was. I have observed the steady decline of standards and feel absolutely helpless. Listed below are some of the issues that pain me. Is it possible to set them right?

  • · In our zeal to take education to the masses we have totally ignored quality education. Can we simply get off the populist bandwagon and talk about quality instead? For the masses can we not have vocational education? We do not need unemployed degree-holders, do we?
  • · Positions, when advertised, are accompanied by large-scale lobbying by interested parties. Is it possible to stop diluting our standards by putting an end to the sifarish system that plagues our universities?
  • · Student unrest on campuses is a major bane. Can we discontinue student elections on campus which are invariably breeding grounds for future goondas and ruffians?
  • · The presence of political parties / politicians in campus affairs greatly overshadows academic considerations. Can we shut the doors of the universities against all politicians and power-brokers and focus on issues academic and purely academic?
  • · The top posts in education (VC, Deans, Directors,etc.) invariably go to those who have a political clout. Can do something about it, dear PM ji?
  • · What about Women in education who have always been marginalized. There is that glass ceiling stalling their upward progress. Can we give women in education their due place, not just as token figures but as decision and policy makers?

In other words, can we stem the rot that ails our educational system? If you can achieve this, PM ji, this despair — which is the despair of countless teachers like me — will perhaps see a light at the end of the tunnel.

I ASK THESE QUESTIONS WITH THE BEST OF INTENTIONS — BECAUSE I AM COMMITTED TO THE CAUSE OF EDUCATION AND I WISH TO SEE THE CAMPUS OF MY DREAMS BECOME A REALITY.

With continued regard and much in anticipation,

Yours truly

Manju Jaidka

Image Courtesy: [The Viewspaper]

Disclaimer: The above article is the personal opinion of the author and not of the publication.