Is privatisation the future of Indian education?
There was an article in one of the leading dailies recently that nearly 75 per cent of our technical graduates and 85 per cent of our general graduates are unemployable. This is a profoundly disturbing fact but for our educationalists, seems par for the course. It would seem that education never figured on their agenda during all these years. It is a well-known fact that the Indian education system delivers a huge amount of output but of shoddy, indifferent quality. This is due to the unavailability of skilled teachers, the almost total apathy among the existing teachers to teach effectively, the non-existent physical infrastructure in India, and a general lack of awareness among parents’ toward their children’s education.
Despite the efforts of the government to bring some sort of transparency in the public education system, the quality of public education is going down steadily. As a result, people prefer to send their children to private schools, colleges, and universities. The reason is clear: people realise that their children would be better equipped to deal with the competitive job market if they received a private education.
One reason for this is that the public education system is accountable only to the government machinery. So, even if the teachers in public schools do not deliver good quality education, it does not bother them as their jobs are secure. However, in the case of private schools, the management and the teachers are accountable to the parents. If they fail to deliver a certain standard of education, their enrollment may go down. The teachers’ performance would affect the schools’ income and reputation. So, a private school has to deliver a good quality education. Another issue is that many public schools are richer than their private counterparts in terms of total expenditure and spend more on teaching and administrative staff salary. The private schools, on the other hand, pay lower salaries to their staff. So, all things considered, at a fraction of the expenditure of a government school or college, a private institution can provide a better quality of education than public institutions. This again brings us to an important question: Should India’s education be privatised? Will it help to improve the overall quality of the millions of graduates who pass out from Indian universities each year?
There is much scope for debate on the subject. Privatisation of the primary and secondary education is a double-edged sword-it can lead to an improvement in the quality of education while reducing the cost, but then how many can actually afford to send their children to private colleges? Considering India’s poverty status (nearly 75 per cent of the population lives on less than a dollar a day), only a few parents will be able to afford the cost of private education.
Given the present state of affairs, there should be an alternative system which provides a better education, without over-burdening the parents who can barely afford to make both ends meet. Now, this begs the question: What kind of a system should we have?
To begin, we should first try to improve the abysmal drop-out rate in our schools; in a study in 2010, it was estimated that of the more than 27 million children in India, who joined in Class I in 1993, only 10 million of them reached Class X, which is only about 37 per cent of those who entered the school system and in more than half the states, only 30 per cent of children reached Class X. This is a shameful indictment of our education system; even after sixty-five years of independence, we continue to languish behind even developing countries in education and literacy rates. To combat this, we should drastically increase our educational outlay; also, qualified teachers must be appointed on a permanent basis. Navoday schools, for instance, provide quality education to their students; they have experienced teachers and their results are better than many public schools. If Navoday schools can impart quality education to their students, why cannot government schools do the same?
There should also be a system to integrate vocational training after Class X, so that students who drop out have basic skills to secure employment. This is something the government must implement on a priority basis. Much still needs to be done to place Indian education on the world map. The time to start is now.
The best leaders are those who are down to earth, and are aware of who they are. They are clear about their opinions, their strengths and weaknesses, and how they are being perceived by people around them. A leader must have an authentic connection with the people whom he hopes to lead, he should be charismatic enough to engage others and humble enough to realise that true leadership involves being of service to others.
The concept of natural-born-leaders is a myth. In order to be effective most leaders have to take the responsibility of training themselves by imbibing the wisdom of others and by learning through personal experiences. One example of a great leader is the Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi. An efficient administrator and an equally great orator, he is down to earth, and is known to be tough taskmaster. He has gained great popularity as he sees things through the people’s eyes; he understands the basic problems that this country faces.
Here is a list of principles that you need to integrate within yourself in order to be an effective leader:
Face the reality
Anyone who aspires to lead cannot afford to live in an imaginary world crafted from clichés and obsolete ideologies. A leader must be able to look at the world and recognise the problems that are there. He should be capable of pinpointing the problems that are there and gain agreement about the root causes. Unless there is clear recognition of reality, the solutions to the basic problems cannot be found. A leader must be willing to tell the truth about the problems that are there.
Be prepared to make sacrifices
To achieve any noble objective, sacrifices have to be made. The leader should step forward to make the greatest sacrifice. A leader is constantly under watch. If he does not practice what he preaches, if he is not true to his own values, then he will easily be exposed. Everyone is watching if a leader bows to external pressure, or does he try to confront a crisis in a straightforward manner. It is easy to be seduced by short-term rewards, but such rewards will not be beneficial in the long term.
A leader has to be good orator, but at the same time he must also be capable of listening. A quote from Ernest Hemingway comes to the mind – “When people talk, listen completely. Most people never listen.” A fruitful relationship between the leader and the followers cannot be built if both sides do not listen to each other. The leader must listen to the people in order to understand what the real issues are. If you are in the field of business, then you have to listen to your colleagues, your customers and to the trade analysts.
People who have too many secrets are destined to be exposed one day. There is nowhere to hide. In job or in public office, there is no better leverage than truth. If you are open and honest in your dealings, then your customers, colleagues and friends will be automatically drawn to you. The best thing about transparency is that it makes it lot easier for you to have a good sleep at night, because once you are transparent in your dealings you don’t have to worry about being exposed one day.
There has never been a faster-changing society than the one we live in today. The marketplace, the technologies and even the social norms are constantly evolving. The leaders have to be capable of taking the changing dynamics into account; they have to be flexible in managing the new opportunities that emerge. Obstinacy and stubbornness is no longer desirable in most organisations. The leaders vision for the future must be based upon the social and other changes that are taking place.
Dress to influence
While it is quite unnecessary to dress to impress, one has to dress to influence. The dress that the leaders don has to be consistent with their personal and professional brand. You can look into the mirror and ask yourself how you would expect a leader of your aspirations to appear to others. It is not important that the sartorial aspect should apply only to you; it should also apply to your organisation and to your colleagues. For best results certain kind of appearance has to be projected.
Be prepared for bad times
Today the situation might be bad, but in times to come things might get worse before they can get better. Some leaders react to bearers of bad news with disbelief; they try to convince everyone that things are not that bad and one swift action can make all the problems fade away. This makes leaders misunderstand the magnitude of the all the problems that are there. They underestimate the problems are ultimately destined to failure. For leaders it is far better strategy to anticipate the worst, and take drastic action to make the organisation healthy again.
How to Choose Courses
The Stepping Stone Of Career
Choosing correct course after 12th is of utmost importance for any student as the course/discipline opted at this stage acts as a stepping stone for the whole career of a student. Hence, choosing a course must be balanced and careful process; the desired disciplines have enough opportunities to provide one with a sustainable livelihood but at the same time should not be a mere means of earning bread and butter. In fact it must be a way of moving towards a profession that gives one job-satisfaction.
After 12th a wide range of courses are open for the students. If he/she is ambitious and can work hard to realise his/her goal then he must not compromise on his dream. It’s a time when a student is filled with immense and usually untapped energy. But care must be taken that the dreams are grounded on reality and are not infeasible desires.
Following steps can be followed while choosing for courses:-
1. Analyse your skills: By the time a student passes class 12th he has enough experience to analyse and judge his skills. An honest introspection must be done to find out in which areas you are good and where you lag behind.
2. The major classification of the main streams can be done as:-
All the above streams have lots of courses to offer. But nowadays various new streams are their which offer many new courses. These are:-
Comparatively New Streams:
(a) Journalism/Media studies
(c) Hotel Management.
These are a few new streams. Other than these there are various computer related courses and business administration , courses like, Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) and jobs in Defense forces which can be a nice career option for many. The course content must be thoroughly reviewed before making any decision.
3. Do proper research: After finding any lucrative discipline one must not make a hasty decision to go for it immediately. At this stage a student must do research on the subject as much as possible. Any knowledge that is available on the subject must be collected. Internet and online forums are a very easy way for this. One can access information on any subject from a lot of sources through internet; though care must be taken that the sources/websites are reliable and the information given is authentic.
Other than internet it’s advisable to contact and consult any person having appropriate knowledge on the subject. Any Professor, a person who has made career in it or even a student already studying it can be contacted for this task.
4. Prejudices must not be there: While doing the research one must be free from prejudices. One must be open for any kind of discussion on the subject. Even if one finds any course beneficial he must carefully listen to its criticism and accordingly make his decision.
5. Job Opportunities: An aspirant must carefully look for the job opportunities that are being offered by his desired course.
6. Choosing correct University/College: Many a times a course/discipline has very lucrative job opportunities but it also needs a proper training and platform of any established university/college. One must try to compare various institutions and then choose among them so that he can make the optimum use of the course that he has opted.
Through above given steps one can find it easy to opt for any course. An extensive research is always helpful for choosing any course. One must not run away from doing tiresome research and study because the stream chosen at this stage affects the whole career of person. It is that foundation stone on which whole future is build. —Aniruddh Subhedar
Big Brother is watching
In the lexicon of science, prism is a transparent optical element with flat, polished surfaces that refract light. Today we also know PRISM as a clandestine electronic surveillance programme operated by the United States National Security Agency (NSA). According to some reports, the PRISM project has been on since 2007. PRISM appears to do what its name suggests. It acts like a triangular piece of glass, taking large beams of data and helping the government find discrete, manageable strands of information.
One is reminded of the fictional character, Big Brother, in George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-four. In the dystopian society that Orwell describes, everyone is under complete surveillance by the authorities, mainly by tele-screens. The people are constantly reminded of the fact that they are being secretly observed by the phrase “Big Brother is watching you.”
In place of Orwell’s tele-screens, today we have the Internet connected systems. Under PRISM most popular email service providers, social networks and the major telecom and broadband companies have been providing user information to intelligence agencies in USA on a regular basis. According to some reports, the NSA and FBI have been tapping directly into the central servers of leading Internet companies, extracting audio and video chats, photographs, emails, documents, and connection logs that enable analysts to track foreign targets.
The question to ask is – How big is PRISM? It is massive. It covers all the major players like Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, PalTalk, AOL, Skype, YouTube, Apple, etc. When such global players are providing all their information to the NSA and other US based agencies, then the spying operation does not remain confined to USA, its scope becomes global. A vast majority of government departments/officials in India, some of them in critical departments, are having accounts with Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, PalTalk, AOL, Skype, YouTube, Apple, etc.
It has also been suggested that the NSA already has access to the Internet data from the undersea cables. So the data gleaned from technology companies via PRISM allows the NSA to navigate through the enormous bulk dump of Internet data it collects from the undersea cables.
NSA agents have real time access to conversations and chats on Skype, Gmail and other platforms that are being targeted. The United States of America is capable of catching hold of just about any piece of digital communication, be it email, voice chat or video. This is because much of the world’s electronic communications passes through the United States, because electronic communications data tend to follow the least expensive route rather than the most physically direct route, and the bulk of the world’s internet infrastructure is based in the United States.
PRISM uses sophisticated technology to intercept messages on basis of certain terms that might be used in the messages. These terms can indicate that the message is of suspicious origin. The USA has released a statement confirming that for nearly six years the government of the United States had been using large internet services companies such as Google and Facebook to collect information on foreigners outside the United States as a defence against national security threats.
While from the European capitals, we are hearing strong condemnation of the US surveillance programme, there has been no official reaction from India. That might be in part, because the government in the Centre is neck deep in scams and scandals. They are simply not inclined to speak against the USA. Also in India, privacy is not an important issue, as the number of Internet users is not large enough to affect the electoral mathematics of caste based political parties.
In India, especially in the government sector, the cyber security systems do not seem to be advanced enough. There have been numerous instances when government owned websites have been hacked or defaced. There have also been instances where sensitive data has been lost due to cyber attacks or negligence. Every time a government department goes online, sophisticated data miners begin tracking their every move.
Now it is being reported that the Indian government is creating a centralised mechanism to coordinate and analyse information gathered from Internet accounts throughout the country. The mechanism will be called the National Cyber Coordination Centre [NCCC]. Will the NCCC be effective in protecting the cyber frontiers of the country? According to reports, the NCCC will not target individuals but rather will seek to access threats to India’s cyber infrastructure as a whole.