Wednesday, November 22, 2006

What lies ahead...

Tamilnadu, apart from its reputation as fast developing states in the country, is known for setting trends when it comes to advancement of its socially and educationally backward class of people. This can be gleaned from the fact that Tamilnadu has 69% of seats under reservation while Supreme Court prescribed a maximum limit of 50%. Well, that makes Tamilnadu no violator of judicial pronouncement. But, rather it ensured safety under the constitutional provisions by placing its legislation under the ninth schedule, thereby insulating it from the judicial scanner. Now, Tamilnadu government has rolled up its sleeves to abolish Common Entrance Test (CET), which is a time-tested mechanism to provide entry into professional courses.

But the abolition of CET is not new and nor is it free from legal complications. This process was set in motion by the former AIADMK government. But later both the High court and Supreme Court put the whole thing to the naught. Here I am surprised to see that DMK led government has not tried to differ on this issue from the previous government. But rather trying to do what AIADMK failed to pull legally. Looks like everyone has an axe to grind on this issue. As far as the legal hitches, Supreme Court has ruled that entrance test is mandatory .In fact on these grounds, among others, AIADMK government was directed to bring the CET back. DMK with this legal complication in mind set up a committee to look in to the technicalities of abolition of CET.

While the government and those in favor of abolition mumble that CET works to the disadvantage of the rural students, there is another set of players who still favor CET. If it is to be abolished, plus two marks would serve as the sole criteria to fill benches in the professional courses. But you remember what we see in the newspapers after the declaration of plus two results? A large number of students with 200/200 in all/one or more major subjects. With abolition of CET it would leave many students at a tie baffling the people who are part of the admission process. Who knows this might even lead to arbitrary rejection of many eligible candidates and would only set the stage for new scourge of confusions. And that’s not all. Is the current system of valuation of answer sheets foolproof? Does the quality of higher secondary education is really the stepping stone for the professional courses?

Answers to these questions are not within the scope of the committee. Abolition is what the government wants. The committee has no authority to look in to the merits of continuing with CET. But its abolition is a mere political choice rather than being backed by solid facts and rational arguments. It is all an effort to win the hearts of a group of people to fill the ballot boxes in their favor rather the voting machines to beep in their favor. Call this vote bank politics. The problems of rural backwardness are not just due to the rural students’ restricted entry to the professional courses but rather it lies deep within.

Rural areas are deprived of many other things apart from the quality education. Blame not the government’s policies for this state of affairs but the delivery system and insensitivity of our politicians. They say our plans and policies are strong enough. But how does that matter if its not implemented with meticulous care and modicum of honesty. By resorting to reservation and abolition of what was considered a fair method government is trying to prove that it is only doing what it failed to do at the ground level. It is a simple ruse for mere survival. Talk about colleges when there are no enough schools in rural areas? And whine about the lack of competitiveness of the rural students when the vacant positions of many teachers are not filled for years?

At the national level, we talk about universal primary education and it’s a fundamental right to every child now. This constitutional amendment has been comfortably passed sitting in the chambers of parliament. But more needs to be done. Get your hands dirty politicians. No, no, I’m not talking about the money tarnished black. Take efforts to build schools at rural areas, fill them with qualified teachers, and good infrastructure (an all inclusive word-water, road, sanitation, etc). And quality education’ eh? After all, you can’t think of relishing on mangoes without planting a mango tree and watering them.

Please, someone try explaining this to our politicians.

Now, back to where I started. Abolition of CET is not the panacea to rural backwardness, though. But helpless we are. What else can we do apart from raising voices and giving out our opinions when the government is obsessed with it. It is time to wait and watch. How is the Tamilnadu government going to pass the law to abolish CET? Would judiciary intervene? Would the government come smelling out roses? What are the logical arguments it is going to put forward to support its action? Fun time ahead.

Monday, November 13, 2006

End of Marathon race

Its been three days since the exams got over. But still I haven’t been able to get rid of the hangover of those exam days. Not able to sleep before 1 and get woken up at 6 as if to check my clock's punctuality. But there is one solace that would douse this sulkiness. It’s the freedom, in terms of time, to watch movies with no strictures of any kind. In fact, the first priority on my “Thing to do” list, after exams, is movie. And I don’t think I would get enough of them. I’m not a movie buff, though. But it’s the long run that has sapped my energy to go in for unlimited fun. And movie is just one way of having fun.

God, I don’t know what my other fellow- IAS aspirants would have been through during this last three months. And I’m talking about only the days of indigence that began after the prelims results. But I’d actuate this whole cycle of process to a marathon race. You just keep running. Slow and steady or fast and furious. But run you must. It starts with classes for almost 10 months. And then you sit at home for one month slogging for the prelims exams. oh no, I don’t want to say any further and tire you down. But I must tell you I know the real meaning of perseverance now. This exams test all those qualities that those self help books preach- patience, tolerance, determination, endurance, et al. It simply makes you strong from within but only if you could resist the negativities. And, in my opinion, success comes just next to this.

As if this was not enough, friends stopped visiting my room, there were no calls. After all, they thought they were doing me a favour. And I dint keep any “ do not disturb” sign board nor my phone was out of service. But that’s 0k. I would take this as another test in the grand scheme of things.

And now its time for self introspection and time to look behind the path that I have walked on. They say mistakes are not sin but not correcting them is. Now all i need to do is scan down my errors and program them in shape. But for some days to follow its just fun. No studies.

I’m just happy that the marathon race has ended. But I know this is just one phase and there is a new beginning to make.