ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Dalits in Education and Workforce

Despite constitutional provisions and safeguards, dalit representation in higher educational institutes and in the workforce remains largely minimal. State initiated programmes and policies apart, it is also essential, as a recent conference in Bhopal highlighted, to instill respect for diversity and a greater understanding of the disadvantaged.

Vedic Astrology in the Universities

Recently, the issue of introduction of vedic astrology as an independent, if optional, course programme in universities has come into a great deal of focus (‘Vedic Astrology or Jyotirvigyan’, EPW, June 16, 2001). The protagonists for such an incorporation have presented several engaging arguments in its favour. We do not endorse this view. However, instead of an outright dismissal, we examine here the main tenets of the protagonists’ position, and attempt to establish its inherent vulnerability.

Madarsas: Need for a Fresh Look

The importance of modernisation and universalisation of education among Muslims in India is borne out by their poor performance in various fields. It is a matter of gratification, therefore, that there is growing convergence of views on the need for modernisation of madarsas and bringing the education imparted in them into the mainstream of universal trends in education.

Foreign Investment in Retail Trade

Fear of foreign investment in trade is irrational. It could help to improve productivity and competitiveness. It is unlikely to have adverse effects on employment and might make existing trade more efficient and profitable.

Colonial Modernity

Lessons from Schools by Nita Kumar; Sage, New Delhi, 2000; pp 232, Rs 200. Constructing Post-Colonial India by Sanjay Srivastava; Routledge, London, 1998; pp 257.

A Political Economy of Education in India - II

The paper explores the political economy factors that influenced the evolution of educational institutions and shaped the legislation that now governs the education sector in UP. The study focuses on the extent of and reasons for teachers' participation in politics, the evolution and activities of their unions, the size of their representation in the state legislature and the link between these and other factors such as the enactment of particular education acts in UP, teacher salaries and appointments, and the extent of centralisation in the management of schools. It attempts to draw out implications for the functioning of schools. The first part of this paper looked at the role of teacher's associations and their evolution as a powerful political pressure group in UP. The second part now analyses the impact the teacher's associations have had on the system of finances in UP, and its impact on general educational levels in the state. Even as strikes, demonstrations, sit-ins in support of more emoluments and benefits have become powerful tools in the hands of these associations, schools see a large degree of absenteeism and apathy towards students, while the state government remains unable to meet non-salary expenditure. [The paper has been published in two parts, this being the second part. The first part appeared last week.]

A Political Economy of Education in India - I

The paper explores the political economy factors that influenced the evolution of educational institutions and shaped the legislation that now governs the education sector in UP. The study focuses on the extent of and reasons for teachers' participation in politics, the evolution and activities of their unions, the size of their representation in the state legislature and the link between these and other factors such as the enactment of particular education acts in UP, teacher salaries and appointments, and the extent of centralisation in the management of schools. It attempts to draw out implications for the functioning of schools. [The paper is published in two parts, this being the first part.]

Poverty Database in Education

In the light of consistent and strong relationships between poverty and education, this paper looks at the database in education to find out to what extent it reflects the poverty of school children. An exercise at reducing poverty should begin with monitoring, collating and consolidating poverty data among school children, which could serve as an initial step in addressing overarching issues related to poverty at macro levels.

Declining Social Consumption in India

The declining trend in the use and provision of basic amenities needs immediate attention at the policy level. The main reason for this decline is the low efficiency in managing resources like drinking water, where distribution and transmission losses are high. Policy-making should also focus on demand-side aspects like increasing water use efficiency, recycling and promotion of watersaving technologies.

National Population Policy 2000: Re-examining Critical Issues

With many states now having evolved and announced state population policies, there is a need to examine their links with the central policy and also to take a closer look at the experience of implementing the policy. While there has been some change in the content of the policy the blinkered vision on population and people's needs continues to be evident.

The Budget: A Quick Look through a 'Gender Lens'

This paper examines the union budget 2001-2002 with a focus on its implications for women's empowerment. Changes in patterns of allocations to various women-specific schemes as well as to schemes of indirect benefit to women have been analysed. This preliminary analysis suggests that the standard perception of women's roles continues to be as mothers and caregivers, and has undergone little change. Investment priorities seem to reinforce this image, and do not reflect a commitment to women's empowerment.

Do We Need the AICTE?

The article by J V Deshpande (EPW, December 2, 2000) exposed the nexus between the AICTE and politicians, not a day too soon. If at all, his account of the AICTE’s working is mild. Fifteen years ago, when the AICTE was legislated, there could have been some justification for it. There were less than about 500 engineering colleges then. It is only after India gave up the bureaucrat-dictated, politicianpostulated, socialistic centralised control of every human endeavour that there has been a growing demand for engineering, business management and computer applications education. Governments and universities are in no position to undertake the massive expansion that is required in our university education, especially in the professions of engineering, medicine, business management and computers.

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