Search
Fana Google

www.fanawatch.com welcomes you





Person With A Mission
Debate
Personalities
Conference
Controversy
Human Rights
States
Children World
Photography
View-Point
Reaction
Economy
Reminiscences
Gender
Monuments
Arts
International
Polity
Seminars
Books
Obituary
Law
Nation
Miscellaneous
Opinion
History
Elections
Society
Health
Documents
Science
Literature
Media Watch
Interviews
Religion
Muslim World
Profile
Education

Year 2006
Year 2007
Year 2008
Year 2009
Year 2010
Year 2011
Year 2012
 Home  About Us Feedback Photo Gallery Contact Us

Education
Last Updated: February 05, 2007
Amartya Sen On What Ails India's Education System


The 73-year old Amartya Sen is man of many parts---Lamont University Professor and Professor of Economics and Philosophy at Harvard University, honorary doctorates from major universities across the world, and author of books including “The Argumentative Indian” (2005), and “Identity and Violence: The Illusion of Destiny” (2006), besides research in philosophy, welfare economics and the economics of peace and war. He is the recipient of many awards including "Bharat Ratna" and Nobel Prize in Economics (1998). In an email interview with Leslie D'monte of English daily “Business Standard”, he explains why he's not satisfied with the current state of education in India. Here are the excerpts:

Question: What positive do you see in today's Indian education system?

Answer: Positive? First, our higher education system is wide-spread, and while the quality of it is very mixed, there are still a lot of people getting reasonable higher education. Second, in some fields, especially in technical education, the quality of what is offered is indeed fairly high. Against these "positive" stand the huge neglect of primary education and also secondary education, and of course, as already mentioned, the highly variable quality of university education, some of it not worthy of that name.

Q: What are the major pitfalls?

A: The pitfalls of illiteracy include functional handicap, intellectual deprivation, and social disadvantage. When large groups are systematically neglected, like girls, especially from economic and social underdog families, the social penalties are gigantic.

Q: Is technology is gradually helping in taking education to the masses?

A: The main causes of our uneven and highly unequal educational system are not technological underdevelopment but political and social neglect. It is, of course, important for those who are masters of contemporary technology to take deep interest in removing the educational neglects that plague the country, but they have to look for the diverse ways and means of helping, rather than sticking only to their identities as "high technologists". Any sector that become as rapidly, and as convincingly, prosperous owes something to the rest of the society as well, but that is not the same thing as looking only to technology to solve all problems. Technology can certainly help the spreading of education, for example in making the schooling of maths easier and faster, and even in monitoring the attendance and accountability of teachers and of school officials I remember Ramadorai of Tata Consultancy Services explaining to me the possibility of using smarter technology in that work, or in making communication of elementary maths easier, but it is not the lack of a "technological magic bullet" that is holding everything up.

Q: We need IIMs and IITs and we simultaneously need to provide for primary and secondary education. What steps should the government take to ensure that neither one is promoted at the expense of the other?

A: The main "step" to take is to get on with it. The government has to speed things up. However, the government is not the only agency involved. Not only more money is needed in schooling, not just through raising salaries of teachers and officials, but also better organisation of teaching and better practices, not minimal schooling with maximal private tuition. For this, we need cooperation between many agencies: governments at different levels, teachers' unions, parent-teacher committees, civil society in general. We have gone into some of these issues in a few small reports of the Pratichi Trust, a small Trust that I was privileged to set up in 1999 with the help of my Nobel money, one in India and one in Bangladesh. The Indian Trust is particularly involved in elementary schooling and elementary health care the Bangladesh Pratichi Trust has tended to concentrate especially on gender equity, including the training of young women journalists from rural background. Aside from policy revisions we have suggested, the Indian Trust organises regular parent-teacher meetings at the state level so far only in West Bengal though we are still a small Trust, and we have also started arranging collaborative meetings with the teachers' unions to get their help in making the schools more effective and with greater accountability. The government does, of course, have a huge part to play, but other people and other organisations also have responsibility.

 


Health
Debate
Polity
History
Literature
Languages
Nation
Technology
Controversy
Monuments
Youth
Media
Human rights
Terrorism
Elections
Books
Mishap
Arts
News
States
Environment
Economy
Education
Science
Gender
Conferences
Obituary
Society
Religion
Law
Personalities
International
Muslim World
Sports
Miscellaneous
Media
Year 2006
Year 2007
Year 2008
Year 2009
Year 2010
Year 2011
Year 2012
Home About Us Feed Back Contact Us
Copyright 2007 FANA Watch.com All Rights Reserved.