COLLOQUIUM ON COMMON MINIMUM PROGRAMME & M P PAUL BIRTH CENTENNARY
COMMON MINIMUM PROGRAMME IN HIGHER EDUCATION
Prakash Karat, CPI (M) General Secretary
The Common Minimum Programme (CMP) which has been adopted by the UPA Government is the product of the verdict of the Indian people in the 14th Lok Sabha election. It is important to understand the meaning of this verdict given by the Indian people. According to us, the people of India have given an unequivocal verdict against the policies pursued by the BJP led government for the past six years. These policies resulted in misery and sufferings for large sections of the people. At no time since independence was there a Government which openly celebrated the cause of a very tiny section of our people who are rich. At no time since independence was there a Government which proudly proclaimed its subservience to imperialism and to the United States of America. It is these new liberal policies so brazenly pursued by the Vajpayee Government which have met with the negative verdict from the people. If you see the voting pattern all over the country, you find that this verdict does not confine to any particular region. It does not confine to any particular class or section of the people. The BJP was rejected in some of its traditional strongholds which are some of the major metropolitan cities in our country. It even lost ground in its stronghold in Gujarat.
The lesson to be learnt from this verdict is that there has to be a course correction. The Left would definitely interpret this verdict as a necessity for the reversal of all anti-people policies. Even those who do not accept the Left view point have to acknowledge that the people of India have demanded a change in the direction of some of the most harmful policies which have affected their livelihood and living standards. So the CMP which has become the policy statement for the new Government has some of the impacts of this verdict. I do not claim that the CMP fully incorporates the spirit and essence of the people's verdict; but it definitely has some reflection of this verdict. This CMP was drafted by the Congress party which is the largest constituent of UPA. But while drafting this document, it has taken into account the views of other parties too. The Left parties including the CPM were able to have a look at this draft seriously and suggest modifications and additions. Similarly other parties also must have given their views. So what has emerged is a document, a programme for the UPA which has also taken into account some of the views of the Left parties in India. So we have supported it or broadly endorsed it. This document provides the basis for the functioning of this Government and it provides the basis also for reversing some of the most harmful policies which were pursued in the last six years.
The CMP commits the Government to restore the secular principles in the state and all its institutions. It commits the Government to ensure that the steady erosion of secular principles which has taken place in the last six years is halted and secular principles and values find their proper place in all aspects of our state and society which includes education. The CMP also deals with the immediate problems of the people, particularly rural distress. One of the most shocking things that has happened in the six years of BJP led rule is the depth of the agrarian crisis and rural distress. We saw the phenomenon of thousands of farmers committing suicide all over the country. So the CMP has committed the Government to increase public investment in agriculture. The cutbacks in the public investment were the root cause for the present crisis in agriculture and all the byproducts of this crisis which were also reflected in the chronic rural unemployment. It also commits the Government to ensure the availability of rural credit to farmers and particularly to the small and marginal farmers and increase it substantially. It takes into account the widely accepted fact that the trajectory of growth which was adopted by NDA Government resulted in growth without employment and killing whatever employment opportunities that existed. So it commits the Government to an ambitious project for guaranteeing some minimum 100 days employment for at least one adult in every rural household. So the CMP has sought to address some of the major issues which have risen out of the implementation of the policies of liberalization and privatization in the last six years. Then there is this whole area of cutbacks on public expenditure in education, cut backs on public expenditure in health. Some time frame has been set for increasing public expenditure in education and health. And finally as far as the area of democratization is concerned, federalism and the democratic rights of citizens, there are some correctives applied there also. The states have become financially bankrupt after the experience of more than one decade of liberalization. The balance of fiscal relations between the Centre and States is further tilted against the state. So there are proposals on trying to restore some of the rights of the states. And there is of course the commitment to remove the draconian legislations like POTA etc. and to take some steps for administrative and judicial reforms. While those are measures which reflect the popular verdict, the CMP is also a document of the Congress Party and its allies who have no problems with the main thrust of the economic policies which have been going on for the last one and a half decades in India. So we should not try to look into the CMP and read into it things which are not there. The main direction of the economic policies is still towards liberalization. But since the Left has intervened and said that the verdict of the people must be respected and reflected in the CMP, we find that there are certain correctives and the checks in the overall drive towards liberalization and privatization. Your President remarked at the outset that the CMP in its section on education says nothing about rampant commercialization of education. It does not talk about commercialization in education because it is not worried about the commercialization and the marketisation of the economy in general. If you read the sections on economic policy carefully, you will find that there is a check on privatization because of the firm stand taken by the Left. You will find a reference that generally profit making PSUs will not be privatized. At the same time, the next sentence will say case by case privatization will be considered. Then the next sentence will say electricity generation and distribution will be encouraged in the private sector. And the following sentence will say Electricity Act 2003 will be reviewed. So on every point where the drive of liberalization and privatization is stated, there is a caveat put there. There is a check. There is a qualification. So if the spirit of the verdict of the people is to be respected, observed and fulfilled in the implementation of CMP, then in the coming days, there has to be a great struggle for the correct interpretation and implementation of the CMP and the struggle has begun. If all the pro people measures that are there in the CMP from increasing public investment in agriculture to increasing the flow of rural credit to having a law in parliament, an enactment which provides a minimum guarantee of 100 days work for an adult in every rural household to spending 6% of the GDP expenditure on education or 3% GDP in health, then the Government will find it difficult to pursue a policy of rampant liberalization and neo liberal reforms. Within the Congress party there is a section that wants the continuation of economic reforms. You see those statements made by the Finance Minister and some others periodically. If that is the approach, then most of those pro-people measures in the CMP cannot be implemented. Why do we say that? Because, if you want to raise the resources for increasing public investment in agriculture, public investment in infrastructure, going for a meaningful programme to translate this right to work for minimum 100 days, if you want to increase the percentage of expenditure in education to 6% of GDP etc., you cannot find the resources for that if you continue with the policies you started in 1991. Because if you accept the philosophy of liberalization where the state withdraws from certain vital areas of economic activity, if the policy is to continuously reduce taxes for the affluent and those who can afford to pay, if public health, public education, the public sector, all these have to be privatized and thrown open to the market forces, then you are not going to be able to generate the resources to fund all those promises and commitments you have made in the CMP .That is why there is going to be a struggle between two view points. One view point will say that 8% growth has to be assured and once you get 8% or 9 % growth, money will be available for everything that you want to do. Financing public education, public health, irrigation, infrastructure, employment generation schemes, etc. will be possible if you assure growth. But that growth will come ,they say ,only if you throw open your economy, more and more sectors of your economy and basic services to private sector, both Indian and foreign capital. We feel that, that will strike at the roots of the pro-people direction or measures that are there in the CMP. So that is why we on the Left have sounded to the UPA Government that you prioritize those measures which are pro-people measures, which are the correctives which are to be taken up and devise the ways in which you will be able to put these programmes into action and to find the funds for that. That process has begun and it is in that context that we must also see what is being discussed today, the CMP in Higher Education.
Now you know that there is a controversy going on in Delhi about the Planning Commission, whether representatives of the World Bank, the ADB and other multi- national agencies should find a place in the Consultative Committees of the Planning Commission. Some people are interpreting it as if the Left is opposed to foreign experts being in the Planning Commission's consultative bodies. No, we are not against foreign experts. From the 50's a number of foreign experts, internationally renowned economists, have been associated with the Planning Commission. We are not against foreign experts. We are not like the BJP which says that everything foreign is bad. We are not objecting to the presence of foreign experts in the Planning Commission; we are opposing the presence of experts who are in the employment of the World Bank and other multi-national agencies. By the way, out of the 15 or 16 experts, 15 are Indians, only one is a foreigner. They are all Indians employed by World Bank and ADB. Our objection is that a person who is an employee of World Bank represents the World Bank and the Country Director of the World Bank in India in the Planning Commission's Consultative Committee will only take any stand or view which agrees with the basic prescriptions of the World Bank. That is the issue. If Dr. Alluhwalia invites some experts from any corner of the world who can advise the Planning Commission on any aspect of the plan and includes him in any consultative bodies we have no objection. But he cannot be an employee and representative of the World Bank or the IMF or similar organization. That is our objection. Why do I say that? In your paper, you refer to the World Bank approach to higher education, how from 1995 the World Bank has been saying that higher education is a non- merit good and after imposing such a wrong view has now reversed and say, no, higher education is also a merit good. But as you know, from 1990's the World Bank has along with IMF been able to influence policy in India not only in education but in every aspect of our economy and society. See what has happened to our public distribution system! What the World Bank said in the late 80's was implemented after liberalization that is a targeted public distribution as against the universal PDS. Now we have people below poverty line and above the poverty line. The Anthyodhya scheme which targets below the poverty line has destroyed the PDS. This is a World Bank contribution. Now, what we are saying is, why are you having such representatives in the Planning Commission? Will the WB, IMF and its representatives accept the need for a big increase in public investment in agriculture or do they advocate further privatization of agriculture? Will the WB, IMF and its other representatives advocate strengthening public education system and public health system or push for further privatization and commercialization? These are the questions. So that is why we will never accept a Planning Commission which has experts or representatives from these agencies. We don't mind Indians or foreigners or anybody else who may have different views from us, but not definitely representative of these agencies because they are against the very concept of planning itself. These are the agencies which have said that you should have a market based economy and not a planned economy. And are they going to be your advisors in the Planning Commission? So this matter I want to clarify. So CMP cannot be implemented with the advice of IMF and the WB. We are very clear about it.As against the policies pursued by the Vajpayee government and earlier governments from 1991, the CMP can be sincerely implemented only by going against the prescriptions and advises of many of these multilateral agencies. Given the state of our economy and state of our resources and finances, we may take funds from the WB or the IMF or the other multilateral agencies for the specific projects and programmes. That is altogether a different matter .That need not be tied up with the advice given by such agencies. But while taking such funds we have to see that they are not coming with certain conditionalities and dictates which may do violence to the very policies we want to take up and pursue. As far as education is concerned, I think that the basic question has been addressed in the CMP which is the plight of education as a whole and in particular the plight of school education starting from the primary stage. There is recognition of the necessity for public spending in education---the commitment for spending 6% of the GDP to begin with and the expansion of the mid day meal scheme. Equally important is the strengthening and expansion of the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) scheme. And it is good that this budget has levied 2% cess for education across the board for all taxes and the Planning Commission has decided to increase the allocation of 10,000 crores of additional plan outlay given in the budget. It has been given in three areas (1) for the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (2) for the Mid-day-meal scheme; both are connected with education (3) for the Food-for-work programme. Bulk of the 10,000 crores is going towards these three areas. So this is just a beginning. The direction basically is to ensure that education is available to all citizens; it reaches all .The idea of expanding the base of education is in the correct direction. The perspective is right. But at the same time there is no explicit statement in the CMP to correct or reverse some of the wrong trends that have come in educational policy in the recent period. The BJP led Government sought to propagate and highlight that they are paying primary attention to the primary and elementary sector. They are spending more money on that and sought to counterpose the growth and expansion of the primary and elementary school education as against higher education. But the figures of that period will show that there has hardly been any increase even for elementary education. I am talking about the Central Budget and as far as higher education there was a fall when you look at the higher education as a part of the total budgetary outlay. The question now is not to continue with what the World Bank told us seven or eight years ago that you concentrate only on primary or elementary education and higher education is not a public good or not a merit good .We have to see that attention is paid to all realms of education .When you talk about increasing public expenditure in education, see that adequate resources are available to strengthen higher education both in terms of expansion and in terms of quality.One of the important commitments specific to the education in the CMP, both higher education and school education, is the commitment to detoxification of the education system. I think your paper strikes the right balance in saying that the HRD ministry has been conscious of this task and has taken some measures regarding the NCERT text books, regarding the UGC Model Act which we wanted withdrawn and thirdly paying attention to see that the personnel planted during NDA regime are removed from key positions. We have to push for a thorough reform in this sector. I am surprised that the Minister does not consider the necessity of removing things like astrology and karmakanda from the curriculum in the universities. We are all for bringing back a scientific basis to our curriculum. True, there has been a positive fall out from BJP's belief in astrology. I don't know whether the astrologers were asked to do so, but most astrologers before the election predicted that the BJP is going to win and advised them and on that basis they advanced the elections. So astrology did some service to the country by helping us to defeat the BJP! But I don't think that Mr. Arjun Singh should go back by that consideration. Apart from removing the personnel who have been planted to do the job of injecting the communal ideology, the content of the curriculum, the syllabi, the text books, all have to be revised to ensure that truly scientific, rational system of pedagogy is reestablished.
Then there are the problems which have not been addressed by the CMP. Now a burning issue in Kerala in particular and many other states is the whole problem faced in the sphere of professional education and self-financing colleges. Here there are two aspects to be considered. One is of course how do we strike the right balance in our society between private enterprise and initiative in education and social control and accountability. We have to address that question. Here the intervention by the Supreme Court (SC) in the TMA Pai Foundation Case has complicated and worsened the situation. I do not want to explain what happened in Kerala since the Supreme Court's intervention. After the Pai Judgement and the subsequent clarificatory Judgment, matters have gone from bad to worse. So I am not talking within the framework of the CMP. It is absolutely necessary to have new Central legislation which can set out the parameters for the functioning of self financing institutions and professional colleges in the areas of admission, fee structure etc. Such a central legislation has to enable the states to intervene and set out norms.The left parties will take into account the views and opinions of teachers organizations, views of the student organizations and the other academic experts to see that a legislation is drafted as early as possible so that it can be taken up in the parliament. But while doing so, we must also realize that the principle of a market based higher education is creeping into the system. A market based higher education has found its reflection in all areas. I remember in 1995 when the Narasimha Rao Government brought that bill in the Parliament for setting of a Private University. After that, I didn't follow it much. But much later, I have found that we have Private Universities in our country despite no legislation being passed. Then the controversy in Chattisgarh has come up. So you now have the Private Universities, which according to us, is not a legal entity, is not sanctioned by any law in the country. You have through the process made a more market based educational system. Your paper has highlighted some of those guidelines of UGC and how Deemed Universities and Autonomous Institutions are being set up. I don't want to go into the details. But we have to have a clear perspective and understanding of how public educational system has to be strengthened and how social control and a degree of accountability is established as far as the private institutions are concerned, whatever be their nomenclature. Here there is one issue in the CMP which is referred to in your paper, i.e. concerning the rights of the Minorities. Before I came from Delhi, I was told that the Government is going to set up a National Commission. That National Commission is going to see how best the welfare of the economically and socially backward sections among religious and linguistic minorities including reservation in education and employment is enhanced. The Commission will be given six months to submit the report. So this is a Commission which is going to be set up very soon. I am told the Cabinet will go into the question of welfare of the socially and educationally backward sections within the religious and linguistic minorities. I think that is a good step. We have to wait and see what recommendations this Commission gives which can help the socially and educationally backward sections among the religious and linguistic minorities. But there is also another Commission proposed in the CMP which says that the UPA Government will amend the Constitution to establish a Commission for Minority Educational Institutions that will provide direct affiliation for Minority Professional Institutions to Central Universities. Amendment to the Constitution to establish a Commission is how the wording is. Frankly, we were not able to understand the meaning of the formulation when it came to us. We gave a note asking them to tell us what it implies, what it means? It does not seem to make much sense to amend the Constitution to set up a Commission which will be empowered to decide on affiliation of Minority Professional Institutions. Now from what I gather, I understand that this has come about mainly because of the demand of the Muslim Minority Organizations who find it difficult to get their technical professional institutions recognized or affiliated to Universities in different states. I find from your note that very valid questions have been raised about its implications for Kerala. Obviously in the situation prevailing in Kerala, this commission or this clause cannot be applied in this form. Even in the general sense asking for affiliations to Central Universities will pose serious problems. One is about the Central -State relations. How do you bypass the State Governments and the State Universities and affiliate institutions directly to a Central University? Secondly, most of the Central Universities are not affiliating Universities and those which are affiliating like Delhi University are also geographically determined. Jurisdictional problems will be there. So definitely from the experience in Kerala, this is not what is required to protect minority rights. That is clear. But we have to identify the problems that exist in other areas, particularly for the Muslim Minorities. There must be a genuine problem; otherwise they would not have made the demand regarding the necessity for their recognition and affiliation. I think it will be better to solve the issue rather than talking about an amendment to the Constitution. We will suggest to the Government that they set up a committee to look into this problem of what the Minority technical educational institutions are suffering from. I think the matter will have to be seriously taken up. It has been brought in with, I think, good intentions; but some times good intentions can have bad consequences.
Finally, I would like to say that in the coming days, given the fact that the CMP addresses only some major questions in the light of the election verdict, it is necessary not to confine ourselves to the frame work of CMP. No document is all comprehensive and all embracing and we will have to consider the problems which arise in the educational system and in particular in higher education and be able to raise issues and demands which will strengthen this movement forward towards rolling back the anti-people anti-human character of the neo-liberal reforms which have been pursued in the last few years. Many more challenges are going to come. WTO related issues are there and those also will have to be taken up. It is good that your paper has not confined itself to the framework of a CMP. We, on the Left, would surely want the organizations of teachers, students, and other sections of working people to take independent positions out of their own experiences and these will be taken into account while making formulations for strengthening the ongoing struggle for social transformation for a better society. (The above paper is a summary of the inaugural speech made by Prakash Karat at the Colloquium)
DETOXIFICATION IN HIGHER EDUCATION
Dr.K.N.Panikkar, Vice Chancellor,
Sree Sankara University of Sanskrit, Kalady
During the last six years, all of us involved in education have been profoundly disturbed by what has been happening in India. This is because whatever happens in education does not affect the present alone; in fact it affects the future of the society and the future of the nation much more than the present and the anxiety is because of what will happen to the nation. Therefore I think the political change that has taken place and the possibilities that it has opened up have to be fully used not only through the direction of the Government, but by the involvement of all of us critically in the happenings in the field of higher education. What are the possibilities available to us at present? The Common Minimum Programme (CMP) talks about detoxification. But is it sufficient to talk about detoxification? What is meant by that? If you man by detoxification, removing the poison that has been injected into the system, I would say it is an insufficient concept because even if the poison that has entered the system is removed, the bacteria which produces the poison will remain and continue to produce poison. So this poison producing agency in the system has to be removed. Therefore we have to go beyond detoxification in its limited sense. What happened during last 5 years is not just injecting poison, but creating structures that continuously produce poison. There is a major difference between the content that is poisoned and the structures that produce poison. In the last six years, the Government succeeded not only in changing the content, but in changing the character of the structure of education, not fully, but to a large extent. Changes at the institutional level or poisoning at the institutional level has happened in the last six years. Therefore unless interventions are made both at the level of the content of education as well as at the level of structure, detoxification can never be complete. The second question I want to raise is about the role of politics in higher education. In Kerala, we have been hearing it during the last three years that there should not be any politics in education. Education should be de-politicized. I think it is an absurd suggestion, an absurd argument. Education is politics. Without politics there cannot be any education. By saying so, I am not saying that our teaching in all subjects is politically driven. That is not what I mean to say. But the character of education in any society is decided by certain political constructions. Let us take for instance the example of India. In the last six years, we have been nostalgically talking about the system of education that existed before our vulnerable Minister M.M.Joshi took over. And that system of education that developed after 1947 on the foundations of colonial system, with all its limitations, was a system of secular education. It may have a number of weaknesses; it has lots and lots of inadequacies and weaknesses; but still the basic character of that education which evolved in independent India was secular. Nehru was its champion; Indira Gandhi was its champion. Nehru and independent India wanted to establish a secular state and society. That was the perspective. And if you want to have secular state and polity, then you must have education which is secular, which will mould the character of the students, which will mould the attitude of the students and that is why secular education was adhered to and liberal education was adhered to. It is for political reasons that the BJP Govt. tried to change the character of this education from secular to communal. The politics of the NDA, the politics of the BJP Government was a politics which wanted to establish in India a communal state, a Hindu Rashtra .Therefore the type of education they were trying to promote was communal and it is only with that communal education they would be able to establish a communal state. M.M.Joshi is not a joker, is not an idiot at all, and is not a buffoon as many of us once thought he is. He is a very clever person and he worked out the details, to the last digits, as to what should be the nature of that communal education which he sought to establish. It is important to understand and keep in mind this political purpose of education. It is only in that context detoxification would become meaningful.Though it is not strictly related to higher education, let me refer to you, the problem of the text books in India. I will not go into the details. I want to raise it for a particular reason. The text books which were sought to be removed were produced by the NCERT. The new text books are being introduced, at least from the next year onwards. The present Government has taken a very correct stand in regard to this. The correct stand is that before these books are removed, they decided to undertake a review by an expert committee. Many of us felt that there is no need for it because everybody knows that these books are rotten and therefore they should be thrown out. It is very true that they are rotten and we also know that hundreds of people have talked about it. Yet for the Government to have followed that procedure of going for an expert review is appropriate because in 1977 when the same forces tried to remove the text books, and when M.M.Joshi removed the text books and introduced a new one, almost everybody opposed it because no procedure was followed. An education minister is perhaps not the right person to decide about the quality of history text books or geography text books. So the decision of the NCERT to involve experts is proper.
I mentioned it to ask you this question, has any one of you heard about an organization known as Rashtradharma Parishad? I am sure that most of you, or all of you would not have heard about that. This is an organization which works in Bangalore. In Bangalore, there are 700 slums in the city and out of these 700 slums, in 400 slums this parishad has established its institutions. There books are freely distributed. Do you know who gives the books? The books are provided by the wife of the Infosys Chairman Narayanamurthy. It is his wife's organization which provides these books. These books are very, very communal--much more communal than the books produced by NCERT under Rajput. The alphabets are taught with the names of the Hindu Gods and Goddesses. That is how it starts and all the books are communal in character. Why do I say this? NCERT books are taught only in 3% of the schools in India. 97% of the schools teach other books which are much more communal than the books prescribed by the NCERT. I think one good example is Kerala. One of the KSE Schools in Kerala has two non-detailed books, in Malayalam. One is a biography of Savarkar written by an RSS cadre and in that there is a whole page of a quotation from Savarkar which has to be read every day by the students and which says our duty is establish a Hindu Rashtra. The second non-detailed text is on Vivekananda and that is written by none other than P. Parameswaran and it is highly communal. What I want to indicate is that in hundreds and thousands of schools in India this venom of communalism is there. And in a way this is also true of institutions of higher learning. So the plea that I am actually making is, when we talk about detoxification of higher education, we have to look beyond what the UGC has done. The State and Central Governments have also made direct interventions in the type of education that is available in the institutions of higher learning. And what do we do about them? Another area of concern is in regard to the foreign universities which have established their branches in India. All over India now you have these institutions working and we do not know the number. We do not know anything about the syllabus or subjects taught in these institutions. There is no record at all. There is no control whatever in these institutions and therefore there is a parallel system that has emerged and this parallel system is highly ideological. I think a point which we overlooked is that these parallel systems are obviously welcomed by the parents, because they believe their children are getting a degree from outside, which will have a much greater value among the colonial minded people of India. But then, they do not know the ideological slants that these institutions have. How do you face it? I am not sure whether the Governments in our country have become aware of this issue at all. I enquired from several state governments as to the number of foreign institutions in their states; nobody was able to give an answer .So there are hundreds of them, possibly thousands of them in our country. Now they provide the space for an entirely different ideological situation in our country. So that has got to be faced. Now, when we talk about detoxification, we have to think about two things in our universities, in our colleges. One is about the structures which permit toxification. I have raised this question several times. How is it that when a Government changed, the autonomous institutions in India, autonomous research institutions and autonomous universities, which are supposed to be autonomous, changed their character too? How is it that the UGC could say that you start these courses? How it is that UGC could directly appoint teachers to the colleges or the universities? I think there is a structural weakness in our higher education system. And that structural weakness enables such toxification or such changes to be made by a Government which has got a different agenda. Therefore today, the new Government has to do two things. First, all Memorandums of Associations of institutions and all Acts of universities have to be reviewed. I think it is extremely important that this is undertaken and that the rules be made in such a fashion that what happened in last six years would not happen again. It is not sufficient if A or B or C who is being put in a particular place is removed and another person who is secular is put in that place, which is the easiest thing to do, which, I think, is clearly spelt out also by the Government. But I think that is insufficient. That is useful, but not sufficient. I think this structure has got to change. The second thing which the CMP mentions is about a National Commission for Education. And this Commission should be vested with powers to take cognizance of any departure from secular education. At the moment we do not have an agency at all. Whatever happens in states or, whatever happens in central universities or other universities just happen. So I think it is extremely important to have a national commission on education vested with sufficient authority and power to take cognizance of any deviation from the principles of our constitution. Any departure from the principles of constitution should be taken into account. Now for that the question of values will have to be thought of and decided. Education is not about learning chemistry, or economics or history or physics. Higher education is all about the question of linking academic expertise in your subject with values and our 1964 Commission has laid down that very intelligently. It has laid down the secular values education should imbibe in the minds of the students which has been replaced by the 'value education' prescribed by the NCERT under the NDA Ministry. So I think this value has to be brought in. The National Commission should be the guardian of these values, educational values which should be maintained, honoured and respected by all institutions. That to my mind this is the most important part of the CMP. But I think there is not much talk about this yet. But I hope that it will take place and I think that is the major departure that can happen under the aegis of this Government.Before I conclude, let me add one more point to this .In this change that has taken place or the change that should take place through detoxification of the structure and the content of education, what is the role we can play? What role can teachers play? I think we are the people who can play a very major role. The atmosphere, the climate, the culture in our institutions of higher learning has considerably changed during the course of the last six years. There is an anti-intellectualism which has emerged in the institutions of higher learning in India where the debates have not been around on fundamental academic issues, basic academic issues, which are linked with politics. And you will find in the campuses of universities and colleges this creeping sense of accommodation, the creeping sense of compromise among people not prepared to talk and discuss and stand up. You cannot possibly realize this staying in Kerala where we have fortunately developed the culture of a debate and discussion and opposition and protest etc. But in many other states in India, there is this sense of compromise which has emerged and through that compromise, giving up the values which are central to the system of higher education in India. Higher education is nothing if it is not liberal. Higher education is nothing if we cannot create a space for debates and discussions. I think in India such a change was taking place. So this culture of debate has to be brought back. And it is only through that culture, the system of national education could flourish .I think the most important role to be played by the teachers relates to restoring the culture of debate in the campuses.
(The above paper is a summary of the oral presentation made by Dr. Panikkar at the Colloquium)
Colloquium on Common Minimum Programme on Higher Education
----Kanti Biswas , Minister for Education. West Bengal
I pay my respectful homage to the memory of Menacheril Paulose Paul, popularly known as Prof. M.P.Paul, who was born on 1`st May, 1904. Just 18 years before his birth, observance of International Workers Day on 1st May started in 1886. 1st May, the birth day of Prof.Paul, has also been marked by the naming of Great Britain by unifying Scotland and England in 1707. Royal Title Bill was passed by British Parliament on 1st May, 1876 entitling Queen Victoria to call herself Empress of India. Incidentally, on 34th birth-day of Prof.Paul, Spanish Painter and World famous artist Pablo Picasso produced the firist sketch of his master piece " Guernica" in 1937. Birth-day of Prof.Paul is an auspicious day for so many reasons. Role played by Prof.Paul can be remembered for the advancement of education and progressive literary movement in Kerala. Simultenously, the contribution of All Kerala Private College Teachers' Association for the cause of education and development of teachers movement in Kerala for the last 46 years is to be put on record. Kerala with 90.92% literacy is a pioneer state in respect of education in India which with 65.38% of literacy is marked as one of the educationally backward countries of the world. Combined enrolment ratio of primary,secondary and tertiary level of education is 60% in developing countries, 64% in the world in average, but 55% in India. Enrolment ratio at the tertiary level of education in India is 10.5%, which is 22.9% in the world, 32.6% in countries in transition and 56.4% in developed countries. (World Development Indicator, 2003-04: Page 357-358). India, having 16.8% of population of the world, have 7.26% of enrolment of the world at the tertiary level of education, and girl students enrolment at this stage of education in India constitutes only 5.5% of the World. (World Education Report, 2000; Page-116). Kerala has some paradoxical picture in tertiary level of education as shown below.
- Percentage of population in Kerala. : 3% of India.
- Percentage of enrolment in secondary education : 5.5% of India.
- Percentage of enrolment in +2 stage of education : 3.9% of India.Level of education
- Percentage of enrolment in undergraduatge level of : 2.0% of India.Education(B.A., B.Sc., B.Com)
- Percentage of enrolment in Post Graduate level : 2.8% of India.Of education ( M.A., M.Sc., M.Com)
In this context, colloquium on Common Minimum Programme in Higher Education declared by the present United Progressive Alliance, Government of India may be discussed.` Mahatma Gandhi, while talking about the education in an independent India, at Chatham House, London, on October 20, 1931 said - " I say, without fear of my figures being challenged successfully, that to-day India is more illiterate than it was fifty or hundred years ago, because the British administrators, when they came to India instead of taking hold of things as they were, began to root them out. They scratched the soil and began to look at the root, and left the root like that and the beautiful tree perished ". Perhaps, Gandhiji, had in his memory the role of Takshashila, Nalanda, Vikramshila, the prominent Universities of the world were running in ancient India during 6th century B.C. and 4th and 5th centuries A.D. respecttively. At his initiative, Indian National Congress at its Haripura session in 1938, decided to appoint Dr. Zakir Hossain Committee on Education. National leaders during freedom movement, took keen interest for education. After 57 years of attainment of independence, we are discussing the position of higher education in India in its proper perspective.
1. Detoxification of curriculum.
During last 6 years, suicidal steps were taken by the Union Government to reform the curriculum of education from primary to university education. Hazardous attack was perpetrated on history. Being motivated by its ultra religious ideology, shameless assault was unleashed on text book of history. Astrology was declared to be a subject of science faculty. In 1975, 186 scientists of all over the world including 19 Nobel Laureates and internationally famous Astrophysists like Joyanta Narlikar opined that Astrology is not science, but the then Government decided to proceed.
Unfortunately, Sri Arjun Singh, the present Minister of Human Resource Development of Union Government during his Press conference in Kolkata, ventured to treat Astrology as a subject of science. Positive steps have been taken during this short period of UPA Govt. to get free of calculated and perilous influence of all the national research institutes like, Indian Council of Historical Research, Indian Council of Philosophical Research, Indian Institute of Advanced Studies at Simla, UGC, NCERT etc. Corrective measures have been taken to replace the communalised curriculum and text-books, of course, it may be completed within the year. At these steps, Dr. M.M.Joshi, former Minister of Human Resource Development, becomes so aggrieved that he has lost his balance and has forgotten that basically he is a teacher, particularly of an illustrious university. On 19th September, while he was speaking at a seminar at Patna, he stigmatised the steps taken by the present Union Govt. in reforming the education as a 'rape' on Indian history and on education system of India. When some listners drew the attention of Dr. Joshi about the term he used, he reiterated that it is not an unparliamentary term. May good sense prevail upon Professor Joshi!
2. Institutional Autonomy and Accountibility.
University Education Commission ( 1948-49), under the Chairmanship of Dr. S.Radhakrishnan, sufficiently dealt on autonomy of educational institutions particularly in para 29 of the Report. At the same time it spoke on discipline. Previous Union Govt. tried to get Model Act for universities of 21st century in India, passed. It was a serious attempt to curtail the autonomy of universities. Autonomy of educational institutions particularly of higher learning and research shall have to be protected. But at the same time, state cannot be established within state. So, there should be a clear understanding between autonomy and discipline ie,accountibility. Seminars and discussions have been held at Vice-Chencellors Conference in May, 2003 and at the initiative of Association of Indian Universities in 2002 on autonomy of universities. The matter needs to be discussed in detail.
Steps taken by previous union government to impose ceiling on the fee structures of IIM and IIT were not associated with the adequate financial support by the Government. It will bound to have a ruinous effect on all those institutions. Unless and until, Govt.does not take the responsibilities to bear the financial deficit of all those institutions, they should not be interfered in determining the fee structures. Of course, it is the bounden duty of the Govt.to see that duly qualified students are not deprived of the education of these institutions for their financial inability to pay the required fees. Govt.is to make provision for them.
3. Equity and Excellence
Present day world is characterised by fast paced development of information and communication technology as well as by emergence of knowledge economy. Nobel Laureate prof. Amartya Sen, told in his inaugural speech of 4-day South Asian Conference on Education on November 14, 1999 in New Delhi - " University education in India is in a state of crisis; it is not a crisis of lack of resources. It is deterioration of quality " George Scarin has rightly made a sound observation about future system of education in the following words - " In the knowledge society and economy of tomorrow, the learning organisations alone will survive for its ability to learn, create, and utilise knowledge faster than its rivals and quicker than environmental changes. *** *** The 21st century higher education will still have to develop for this goal ". Hence is the importance of excellence of educational institutions.
General Agreement on Trade in Services ( GATS) is one of the agreements signed under the purview of WTO which came into force from 1996. 12 services including educational services have been included in the agreement. 42 countries including 27 developed countries, 8 countries with transitional economies ( including India ) and 7 less developed countries had made commitment on sub-sector education service. 150 foreign universities operating in one way or other in India. Of these foreign universities, it is known, 50 from U.K., 45 from Australia, 30 from U.S.A. and rest from Canada and other countries. 2 million students world-wide are studying outside their own countries. It will be 8 million by 2025.
At present 5,86,000 foreign students are studying in U.S.A. This constitute about 25% of foreign students of the world. In order to compete with the prevailing institutions we are to upgrade CAT, GATE, JEE, NET like GRE, GMAT and TOFEL of foreign countries.
According to a survey of UGC - 80% of completers of university education are from 20% top income group of population of our country. According to Human Poverty Index (HPI ), of 95 developing countries of the world, rank of India is 48th. 79.9% of the total population of our country earn less than 2 dollar a day.( UNDP - Human Development Report, 2004, Page 148-9). In this economic scenario, the availability of scope of higher education to the common people is to be considered. Without the financial support of the Government, how the equity can be achieved - is to be thought of. Commercialisation of education and commodification of education will have its perilous effect upon the people in general and on education in particular.
4. Access and Resource mobilisation.
Before going into the Common Minimum Programme of U.P.A. Govt.at the centre on resources, some alarming figures are to be looked into :-
(a). Percentage of Central Govt.expenditure on education to its total expenditure
World : 6%
Developing countries : 11%
Govt.of India : 2.2%
(The State of the World Children, 2004, Page 105-6)
(b). Allocation for education to total outlay in 5-year plans in India.
1st 5-year plan. : 7.2%
10th 5-year plan : 2.9%
(c). Percentage of public expenditure on education to total public expenditure.
World : 14.2%
Developing countries : 14.1%
India : 12.2%
( Education for All Report, 2003-04, Page 380-1)
(d). Percentage of public expenditure on education in India to that of all the countries of the world. : 0.9%.
(World Education Report, 2000, Page 118)
In 2001-02, only 4.02% of the G.D.P. has been allocated to education in India, though Kothari Commission of 1964-66 recommended 6% of GDP to education. In the Common Minimum Programme, of the UPA Govt, it has been assured that " public spending in education should be raised step by step to reach the level of 6% of GDP within the next five years. According to figures of Union Govt. GDP amount in 2001-02 was Rs. 20,94,013 crores. 6% of it stands at Rs. 1,25, 640 crores. In that financial year total public allocation for education of both union and state governments together was Rs. 84,179 crores, so it falls short of Rs. 41,461 crores, to be 6% of GDP. In that year allocation for education in the Union Budget was Rs. 8,423 crores. In the Common Minimum Programme, it has been declared that Union Govt.will play the principal role to raise the allocation for education to 6% of GDP. Let us hope that 2% of education cess will be collected and will be allocated for education. It may not be out of place to mention that Education Budget of Union Govt. in 2003-04 was Rs. 9,861 crores. It has been raised to Rs. 11,062 crores - increase of only Rs. 1,201 or 12% over last year Budget provision for education. It is not at all encouraging. But Prime Minister has been kind enough to say recently that provision for education will be adequately enhanced. Previous Union Govt. on the recommendation of Expenditure Reform Committee declared education as non-merit affairs, that is to be treated merit-affairs and declaration should immediately be made by Union Govt.
5. Commission for Minority Professional Education.
Highest number of religious minority population of the world is in India. Our country is a secular country. Every citizen, irrespective or religion or caste has equal rights - civil, political and social. With the object of protecting the rights of the minority, there is safe guards in the Indian Constitution. Minority enjoys some special privileges for running their educational institution. It has been upheld in various judicial judgements. In maintaining these institutions, appropriate care should be taken so that the objectives are achieved and no body can misuse this privilege; privilege can not be used as license. UPA Govt. has taken a right decision to set up a Minority Education Commission.
Before I conclude, I like to make certain observations. Kerala has been especially mentioned in the " Education for All Report - 2003-04" published by UNESCO and under the caption of " Kerala 'Model' ", it has been cited " As early as 1881, the Maharaja of Travancore had declared : No civilized government can be oblivious to the great advantages of popular education ". ( P.156). 42% of total enrolment in secondary level of education in India are in private schools, and at tertiary level of education the percentage of enrolment in private educational institutions is higher than that of secondary education. In Kerala, this percentage is even larger. Total number of teachers at tertiary level of education is over 4 lakhs in India. They have a responsibility to the country. Let me hope, teachers of Kerala will discharge their academic duties in their respective institutions and play due role for the prosperity of the country.
DRAFT PROPOSAL PRESENTED AT THE WORKSHOP FOR DISCUSSION AMONG SCIENCE TEACHERS
ALL KERALA PRIVATE COLLEGE TEACHERS’ ASSOCIATION
A NOTE FOR DISCUSSION
The primary role of educational system is the art of imparting learning to the person by taking him through a process of immersion in an environment of the subject concerned. This process should expose him to the subject matter, study, experience, interaction, motivation to learn and express, set in a formal system so that student assimilates the subject matter. Education should not excessively deal with comparing or grading students but should concentrate on its primary role of motivation, exercise, practice, counselling and guidance to help the student to assimilate and benefit from what he has learned.
Our formal higher education system, the colleges and universities have attempted to create a formal learning and evaluation environment that is limited by an ‘assembly line’ approach. In this system, good teachers came more by way of self motivation than by formal training and orientation. The neglect of teachers in our formal system and the inadequately flexible approach to the changing demands of the society and workforce has resulted in a severe acute shortage of quality teachers and infrastructure in most of our universities and colleges. This is particularly very serious in fast changing and high demand subject areas such as IT and its applications to every field of consequence.
Today Information Technology is considered as one of the resources, which has to be managed efficiently to sustain a progressive economy in modern competitive environment. IT is being increasingly used as a tool which creates wealth, socioeconomic development which improves the quality of life. This IT revolution has created an excitement in the society and our institutions of higher learning is not an exception. The teacher centered approach is being slowly replaced with student centered approach. Thus our conventional classrooms also need a reorientation and structural changes.
Universities are envisaged as treasure houses of knowledge and has through centuries of evolution of ways of disseminating education. But innovations in information technology has thrown new challenges to universities around the world. IT has brought phenomenal changes in the way in which knowledge is created, disseminated, captured, stored, accessed, used and preserved. The society has started recognizing that access to knowledge is the primary key to success and even survival. The latest development include selling the formal training as continual learning via Internet. Learners interact via email with each other and with instructors.
The advances in the field of information and communication technologies have given rise to services and systems in a new direction that is breaking the traditional four wall system. The combination of communication, computing and networking technology expansion has reached the traditional colleges and universities to enable the students to synthesise e-campus with online experiences.
The world of higher education is undergoing a paradigm shift from instruction centered university model to a learner centred integrated network model based on access to learning resources and student initiative. Learning is moving from instructor led to being student initiated and networked.
INTEGRATING INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY WITH SCIENCE DEGREE COURSES
Conventional teaching methodology needs complete revamping and reorientation in the modern era of information technology. Today Web and Internet technologies offer more challenges and invites us to recast the traditional system of teaching. Teachers should recast their role from traditional knowledge giver to a facilitator and one who helps to analyse and interpret the information synthesized from different sources by the student. Teachers should use Internet as a source of information for their class room teaching and also should encourage students to use Internet as a source of information for seminar and assignment preparation.
All colleges should have a Centralized Computing Facility. It should have a minimum of 20 computers put in a network. This can be done by centralizing the existing facilities in individual departments and granting proper time slots for each department. Internet facility should be provided to the students and the faculty.
Each college should have a well equipped Seminar cum Lecture Hall. It should be equipped with multimedia facilities like computer systems, LCD Projector etc.
Training and Orientation to Teachers
Atleast one member of faculty of each department should be trained in Information Technology with in one year. With in 2 to 3 years all teachers should be given exposure to Web Enhanced Learning Environment. One month long orientation and refresher courses should be designed for teachers. For this the services of Engineering College teachers, organizations like KELTRON, Information Kerala Mission etc. can be used.
The costs for initial infrastructure should be borne by the Management and other funding agencies like UGC, STEC etc. A part of the recurring costs should be borne by the user. The initial cost of setting up of the centralized computing facility will need 7 to 8 lakhs of rupees.
To some extent the B.Sc Physics main syllabus contains topics which gives an initiation for the student into the world of information technology. But it has to be updated with latest developments like Internet. It is expected that a graduate student with Physics, Mathematics and Statistics as main subjects should know a high level programming language preferably C or C++. But it has to be taken care that introduction of such subjects should not reduce the subject content in which they are undergoing graduation. So it has to be integrated in such a way that the Physics and Mathematics student uses his IT tools in solving problems in their own disciplines.
B.Sc Chemistry, Botany, Zoology and Geology main students should be introduced to the basics of information technology and a fairly good knowledge in one of the programming languages preferably C or C++.
Proposed syllabus for B.Sc ( Physics Main ) in semester system
Paper I Computer Fundamentals & Digital Electronics
Unit I ( 15 hours )
Historical development of computers – classification – Micro, mini and main frame computers
Input Output devices – computer memory – Assembly , machine and high level languages – Personal computer – parts – CPU – Software packages – Operating systems – Multi programming – Time sharing – Online and real time O. S
Binary arithmetic – addition – subtraction – 1 ‘s and 2’s Complement – Multiplication – Floating point representation – Boolean Algebra – Relations
Microprocessor – evolution – Microcontrollers – Organisation of 8085 – data and addressing I/O devices – Addressing modes
Unit II ( 12 hrs )
Logic gates- AND, OR, NOT, NAND, NOR, XOR – Boolean algebra – De Morgan’s law – Half and Full adder – Karnaugh map – Binary, decade and ripple counters – D/A and A/D Converters – Binary weighted registers – Multiplexers – Demultiplexers – 7 Segment Display
Unit III ( 15 Hrs )
High Level Programming Language – Algorithm Design – Flow charting – Structural flowcharts – Pseudocode – Structural design and programming – Modular design – Top down design – Structural Programming
Numerical Computing – Process – Characteristics – Concepts – Interactive computing – RISC – CISC – Pentium – Ports – Mother Board - BIOS - Video Memory – Cache memory – Multimedia - MMX - Internet – Applications - Protocols – TCP/IP – WAP – FTP
Paper II Programming in C++
Fundamentals of C++ - Simple C++ Programs – Programming errors
Arithmetic operations – Floating point operations – Integer Operations – Assignment – Mixed mode operations – Library Functions – Characters and Strings – Streams – Basic Input and Output – Blocks – Pointers – Enumerated Constants – Elementary User Defined Types
Unit II ( 15 Hrs )
Logical operators – The If construction – If – else looping – Nested loops – Switch case construction – Bit wise operation – Goto Construction – Functions – Argument Passing – Variables – Scope – Libraries – Recursions – Overloaded Functions – Pointers to Functions – Macros and Inline Functions – Structural Programming – Modularization – Arrays – One dimensional and Multi dimensional – strings
Structures – Pointers and Functions – Memory saving operations – Constructors and deconstructors – Static field variables – Classes and Union – The operator  Function – Subscripting – The operator ( ) function – Class trees – Pointers and derived classes – Virtual Functions – Generic Classes – Output streams – Redirection – Input Streams – Redirection
Video memory Access – Basic Window Design – Construction and destruction of window – Displaying of information in a Window
Paper III Advanced Microprocessor , Interfacing and Numerical Methods
Organisation of 8086 – memory – Register Structure – Addressing Modes – Programming 8086 – Instruction Set
Bus Interface and Execution Units – Bus cycles – Instruction Cycle – status signals – External Interrupts – internal interrupts
Address space partitioning – Memory interfacing – Data Transfer Schemes – Programmed data Transfer – Synchronous – Asynchronous – Interrupt Driven – Enabling, Disabling and Masking of Interrupts – Direct Memory Access – Types of Interfacing Devices – Programmable I/O Ports – Programmable Peripheral Interface – Programming 8255A – Applications
Sorting – Numbers, string, data – Bubble and Shell sorts – Sorting algorithm – Histogram – Normal Distribution simulation
Curve Fitting – Linear Regression – Least Square Fit
Derivative – Numerical Differentiation and Integration
Conservation Laws – Vibration Analysis – Determination of Spring Constant – Work with a Variable Force – Analysis of Resistor, RLC and RL Network – Polynomial Equation – Evaluation of Polynomials – Particle in a Box – Analysis – Hydrogen Atom – Analysis
Proposed Syllabus for Other Subjects
Paper I Computer Fundamentals
Historical development of computers – classification – Micro, mini and main frame computers
Input Output devices – computer memory – Assembly , machine and high level languages – Personal computer – parts – CPU – Software packages – Operating systems – Multi programming – Time sharing – Online and real time O. S
Binary arithmetic – addition – subtraction – 1 ‘s and 2’s Complement – Multiplication – Floating point representation – Boolean Algebra – Relations
RISC – CISC – Pentium – Ports – Mother Board - BIOS - Video Memory – Cache memory – Multimedia - MMX - Internet – Applications - Protocols – TCP/IP – WAP – FTP
Programming in C – History and Evolution – Some simple C Programs
Constants - Variables – declaration – expressions – Builtin Functions – Input / Output statement – scanf – printf – Formatted output – Numeric , Characters, String
Control flow – if else - while – do – switch – break – goto statements
Functions – local and external variables – scope – recursion
Pointers and arrays – structures
Numerical Computing – Process – Characteristics – Concepts – Interactive computing
Calculus – Numerical Differentiation - Integration
VIEWS OF THE GROUP DISCUSSIONS HELD AT ALUVA UC COLLEGE BY SCIENCE TEACHERS
1. The fundamentals of computers and IT should be introduced as a common paper for all science subjects. The introduction should complement the study of their own subject.
2. It is a contribution of basic science. This philosophy should be kept in mind when the course content is formulated.
3. A computer language preferably C or C ++ should be included in the common paper. After mastering the language, the student should be able to apply it in the scientific problems in their subject.
4. A second paper should be an application oriented one where the student should apply the fundamentals of computer and IT in scientific problems in their subject.
5. The inclusion of these two papers should not dilute the study of their subjects, the extra time we get with the introduction of semester system at the degree level should be effectively used for inclusion of these two papers.
6. The model syllabus appended can be used as a model for forming the syllabus for science subjects. The syllabus for common paper was acceptable for most of the participants.
7. there were reservations for the inclusion of a language in the common paper. Instead there was a suggestion to include Web creation, Web editors – Front Page, web graphics, web audios, GIF, JPLEG, Clip art, Uploading, bioinformatics, Statistical methods to analyse – overview of biosequence database, methods for search, projects presentedin HTML form.
8. There was also an opinion that the computer language should be avoided or it should be taught in its totality. After undergoing that the student should get expertise in programming.
9. The elements of IT should be used effectively in the class room transaction/ teaching-learning process.
10. Assignments, seminars etc. in continuous assessment should be designed in such a way that they should incorporate the elements of IT and computers.
B. Philosophical and Social Aspects
1. Computer should be introduced as a tool. The learner should be the master.
2. The course introduced should be able to resist the exploitation of student and society by vested interests and private institutions.
3. Care should be taken that this technology is accessible to poor students also by devising some schemes.
C. Facilities and Finance
1. to start each college should have a centralized computer facility. Computers already available to the college can be pooled for this purpose. A computer facility with a minimum of 20 computers can be established with an investment of Rs. 7 to 8 lakhs.
2. this capital investment should be borne by the management. The financial assistance available form informatic Centre ( up to 5 lakhs), UGC ( under section 30 up to 2.5 lakhs), MP Fund ( up to 5 lakhs ), STEC etc. can be used for this purpose.
3. Infuture it should grow in such a way that each department has computer facility linked with central facility.
4. Internet facility should be available in the college. In future each department should have this facility. The misuse of this facility should be nipped. This can be established in the college with an investment of Rs. 11000/- for cable modem and Rs. 3000/- per month as fees.
5. Each college should have a well equipped a seminar cum lecture hall with computer, LCD Projector etc. the seminar hall should be used for student and teacher presentation.
6. A part of the recurring costs should be borne by the user.
7. it should be followed by computerization of college library and converting it into an electronic library.
1. The introduction of these course should not adversely affect the workload of the teachers. This course should be introduced as part of their main subject and the classes should be handled by the teachers of the main subject.
2. Atleast one teacher of the department should be given training/orientation within one year. For that the services of Information Kerala Mission, Computer Science Departments can be used. With in two to three years all teachers should be exposed to IT.