Voice from the Rooftop

Blog of Vincent Augustine D'Souza

Tag: Education

Unmukt Chand controversy

All students are equal. Students who are sportspersons are more equal. A student who is the captain of a cricket team that wins U-19 World Cup is the most equal.

That is the view of Ajay Maken, Kapil Sibal, Rajeev Shukla, Kirti Azad, Arnab Goswami and many others who live in a world that is worse than George Orwell’s Animal Farm.

Valson Thampu, principal of St. Stephen’s College, appeared on many channels on 30/8/2012. He faced hostile questioning on Times Now.

Many channels condemned St. Stephen’s College for not allowing Unmukt Chand to sit for exams though the college was following Delhi University rules. As per those rules students in general should have 66.66% attendance and students who are sportspersons should have 33.33% attendance to appear for exams. Unmukt Chand had only 8% attendance. The principal did not have the power to waive attendance requirement. Valson Thampu said he had sent Unmukt Chand to meet vice chancellor who could waive the requirement but vice chancellor being busy Unmukt Chand could not meet him.

Kirti Azad said his attendance was worse than that of Unmukt Chand. He had 5.7% attendance. His principal and professors supported him. If the college had allowed Kirti Azad to sit for exams in contravention of prevalent rules it was wrong.

Kavita Sharma, former principal of Hindu College, said they had helped Gautam Gambhir. They had special classes for him.

Jerry Fernandes, Deepak Mukharji and Sunil Bikhchandani defended the college. Jerry Fernandes asked whether the issue would have been raised if India had not won the U-19 World Cup or reached the final. I have another question. What if the captain had been Laloo Prasad Yadav’s son and the team had lost all its matches and did not reach even the semi-final?

Valson Thampu said hype is created. After one month no one will remember.

Kirti Azad’s father Bhagwat Jha Azad was a Congress politician. When he was chief minister of Bihar the speaker had ruled that he could not be the leader of Legislative Assembly as he was not an elected member of the Legislative Assembly. The speaker had to quit.

India had won U-19 World Cup in 2000 and 2008. Both times there was not much hype though in 2008 an event management company had hired students to welcome the cricketers when they landed at Bangalore airport at night. Boys were paid 200 rupees each, girls 1,000 rupees each.

Some exaggerate the importance of cricket in India and call it a religion. One company that bought cricket telecast rights could not make profit. Now another company holds telecast rights at higher amount. IPL teams have not made profit. Kochi Tuskers disappeared after one season. Many players have not received payment for 2012 season. Deccan Chronicle pledged its IPL franchise to banks. DLF did not renew IPL sponsorship.

Sports quota for admission in colleges should be abolished. It is difficult to get admissions in good colleges in Delhi where first cut-off percentage is 100%. Even after final cut-off students with 90% marks do not get admission. It is unfair to give the seat of a student who has 90% marks to someone who has 74% marks in sports quota, more so when he cannot even maintain 33.33% attendance. It is not fair to demand special classes for sportspersons. Sportspersons should choose between college and sport. If they want degree they can do correspondence course. Sachin Tendulkar, Sania Mirza and Saina Nehwal did not attend college.

Vested interests manipulate media and create hysteria. Serious issues are forgotten. A girl in Delhi, 16 years old and Class XI student, had gone to a market in Prashant Vihar around 10.30 p.m. on 29/8/2012 to recharge her mobile phone. Nine young men misbehaved with her. She called two friends on mobile who came in a car and picked her up. The group of nine criminals followed them in another car, blocked the car of girl, pulled out girl’s friends, battered and robbed them. The criminals raped the girl in the car. TV channels did not report the incident and hold discussions on it. Abduction, battery, robbery and rape in Delhi are ignored by news channels. Have Delhi and central governments co-opted news channels? Something is rotten in Indian news channels.

Kapil Sibal made a mess of education. Promoting students from Std I to Std VIII even if they fail annual exams has ruined education. Now there is a proposal to do away with annual exams. His interference in Unmukt Chand case is not good.

Are we a country governed by rule of law? Where is the equality mentioned in the constitution? S. M. Krishna and Ajay Maken interfered in selection of tennis players for Olympics. Two pairs of men’s doubles were sent. They returned without medal.

On 31/8/2012 at 7 p.m. DU VC Dinesh Singh in a press conference said Unmukt Chand will be allowed to go to second year. He spoke of balance. One cannot get Maths (Honours) degree without attending maths classes.

IPL is a commercial venture. When Unmukt Chand played in IPL he did not represent college, university, Delhi, North Zone or India. Absence from college to play in IPL should not be condoned or permitted even if it is for two matches and six days. Those who want to make sports their career and want to attend college with low attendance should join physical education colleges.

Decline in education

Programme for International Standard Assessment (PISA) ratings and Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) 2011 have shown fall in educational standards in many Indian schools. Standard V students are unable to read Standard II books. Similar is the fall in standard in arithmetics. Mostly it is the case of government schools in rural areas. Much has been made of mid-day meal scheme in schools and it is said that the scheme has ensured almost 100% attendance. It is no use if students have mid-day meals but do not gain knowledge.

Foolish policies followed by people in power are responsible for this situation. After the government banned detaining students who fail after the annual exam and made promotion to next standard upto Standard VIII obligatory there was decline in educational standards. Teachers lost interest in teaching. Students lost interest in studying. It is just a matter of three years before Standard VIII students are unable to read Standard II books. Some may not be able to read anything at all.

At one time there were public exams for Std IV or Std VII. Generations of students had gone through them. They were helpful in knowing standards of various schools and teachers taught and students studied. With abolition of exams came laxity in teaching. However there were annual exams conducted by schools. They maintained some standard. With their abolition it was downhill. In many schools there is absenteeism of teachers. In such schools if some students are able to read, write and do well in maths according to the class in which they study it may be due to their parents teaching at home.

Annual exams for all Standards and public exams for Std IV or Std VII should be brought back. There is need to detain students who do not qualify to go to next Standard. Without annual exams it becomes progressively more difficult for students. After spending years in schools they may be good for nothing. Admission for colleges in many cities is tough. For some colleges the cut-off percentage is 100%. Without annual exams students will not able to do well in Std X and consequently in higher education.

Relevance of CBFC

The controversy about Aarakshan has raised the question of relevance of CBFC. Once CBFC certifies a film there should be no problem about its release anywhere in India. However many people without seeing the film want the film to be banned. Some want special screening for them. It is bad for anyone to do that but worse when people in power do that. It is unpardonable for the home minister of state to say that films should be shown to certain politicians. It is unpardonable for other ministers to demand special screening and they will decide what should be shown. States should have no power to ban a CBFC certified film and those who create law and order problem should be strictly dealt with.

Many years back Sunil Gavaskar had said “Hindi films are made by asses for masses.”  At that time most Hindi films followed a formula. There was one hero, one heroine, one villain and some supporting characters. Hero loved heroine, villain came in between them and finally hero won. There were half a dozen songs and fights. Such films did not face any controversy. TV was black and white, restricted to a few cities for a few hours during night.

TV turned colour and channels proliferated. People who watched TV came to know about films to be released and those who protested about any song or film got publicity. Many films got into trouble.

P. L. Punia, Chairperson of National Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, summoned chairperson and CEO of CBFC and demanded the screening of the film. He asserted his authority under article 338 of the Constitution. The Commission originally did not have powers of a civil court and it got them after 65th amendment in 1990.

The release of Aarakshan was challenged in Bombay High Court which cleared the film. Leela Samson, chairperson of CBFC, said since the High Court has cleared the film she cannot make any changes.

Prakash Jha said Aarakshan is not about reservation, it is not pro-reservation or anti-reservation but about commercialization of education.  In that case he chose the wrong title and wrong promos. He succumbed to pressure and showed the film to some politicians and agreed to cuts. He said he had spent 60 crore rupees on film. Uttar Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh banned the film. In Punjab seven members of a committee selected to view the film took their family members and relatives with them.

Amitabh Bachchan questioned whether India is a democracy or a fascist state.  To call India a fascist state is an insult to fascist states. In fascist states people who oppose a film certified by a government body are put behind bars. India is a mobocracy.

The producer has to recover the money in the first week. After that pirated DVDs appear. People in states where the film is banned will be able to get them and watch the film. The ban will cause loss to the producer but people will watch the film anyway.

Page 1 of 3123
Voice from the Rooftop | Vincent Augustine D'Souza © 2005-2016 Frontier Theme