Thursday January 17, 2019
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A mum service towards the Vedas and the country

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Sri Sivaraja Deekshithar - Teaching Veda to his fellow sishyas . Image source: rathnacharitabletrust.com

Chennai, TN: R R Rangarajan aspired to study Vedas as a child but this dream of his couldn’t be realized by him. His dream is now lived by his two sons who are studying in the Kanchi Mahan Vidya Mandir in Rajakizhpakkam.

He believes that he has not forced or imposed his dreams on his sons and his sons are happy in the gurukulam once he aspired to learn in.

According to the couple, this was the wisest decision they took five years ago and they are proud of it. The couple will be complimented for this in a function in the city on Sunday along with the other 300 couples from 70 different places.

Sarma Sastrigal believes that these parents are doing a commendable job at a time when rest of the crowd is chasing towards money and a secure job for their children. He further adds that this is a mum service they are doing towards the Vedas and the country.

Moreover, last year when he was invited as the chief guest at their anniversary function to the Kumbakonam Raja Veda Kavya Patasala, he was driven by the sacrifice of the parents and their children and believed that to be ignored and hence felt the need for it to be exhibited.

Students of the Raja Veda Kavya Patasala at Kumbakonam in Thanjavur district. Image source: thehindu.com
Students of the Raja Veda Kavya Patasala at Kumbakonam in Thanjavur district. Image source: thehindu.com

Nagarajan further observes that this is difficult for the children as well. The module educates them with each and every little thing from maths to physical science, from commerce to the Vedas, scriptures, dramas and many other things. He adds that in the end the final say is of the individual to chase it.

Arvind Bhatt, priest of Dattatreya temple in Gulbarga has his son studying Ghanam at Ramanasaranam, Tiruvannamalai. His son, Nirguna, showed interest in the subject since his childhood. In the beginning he was admitted in a Patsala in North Canara but was not happy with the module there on its completion, so he shifted from there. Here the relationship which he shares with his guru is indescribable. He further plans to graduate in advance level in the subject.

Mr Balasubramaniam of Kumbakonam Kavya Patasala is hopeful that more parents will choose this field for the education of their children. Moreover, he feels that parents have to be encouraged to motivate their children in the right path. However, he feels sad that studying Vedas is never a priority for parents.

He further believes that the energy and memory levels of students while young are unmatchable and they master course with less difficulty. So, the children have to be enrolled in the course when young.

The town echoed with Veda mantras during Mahamagham recited by hundreds of scholars and students from various states and the country. The spirit of the land relies on it and people are trying their best to keep this alive. (Inputs from The Hindu)

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To Catch Up With China, India Needs To Focus on Improving Its Educational Outcomes

China reached a 100 percent gross enrollment rate (GER) in its primary education in 1985, whereas, India attained that level only in 2000.

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Children learning in a classroom, pixabay

By Amit Kapoor

Both China and India started building their national education systems under comparable conditions in the late 1940s. Different policies and historical circumstances have, however, led them to different educational outcomes, with China outperforming India not just in terms of its percentage of literate population and enrollment rates at all levels of education, but also in terms of number of world-class institutions in higher education, and greater research output.

The roots of China’s successful education system date back to the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976), which unintentionally expanded access to the primary education through democratising the schooling system, which was previously elitist in character, thus addressing the problem of mass illiteracy.

In contrast, India continued to focus on its higher education system since independence and only realised the importance of basic education in 1986, keeping it behind China and many other countries in Asia in educational development. In terms of enrollment, China reached a 100 percent gross enrollment rate (GER) in its primary education in 1985, whereas, India attained that level only in 2000.

In terms of secondary school enrollment, India and China both started at the similar rates in 1985, with about 40 percent of their population enrolled in secondary schools. However, due to a wider base of primary school students, the rate of increase in China has been much faster than in India, with 99 percent secondary enrollment rate in China and 79 percent in India in 2017.

Happy kids in School Uniform
China reached a 100 percent gross enrollment rate (GER) in its primary education in 1985, whereas, India attained that level only in 2000.

India is closing in on the Chinese rate in terms of access to education, but on the literacy level front, there is a huge gap in the percentage of literate populations in the two countries. In the age group of 15-24 years, India scores 104th rank on literacy and numeracy indicator, compared to China’s 40th rank.

The OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), which assesses after every three years the domain knowledge of 15-year-old students in reading, mathematics, science and finance, revealed that students in China performed above the OECD average in 2015. Moreover, one in four students in China are top performers in mathematics, having an ability to formulate complex situations mathematically. Further, China outperforms all the other participating countries in financial literacy, by having a high ability to analyse complex finance products. For India, the comparable data is not available as it was not a participating country in PISA 2015.

However, in India, the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) 2017 provides data for rural youth, aged 14-18, with respect to their abilities to lead productive lives as adults. According to this survey, only about half of the 14-year-old children in the sample could read English sentences, and more than half of the students surveyed could not do basic arithmetic operations, like division. For basic financial calculations, such as managing a budget or making a purchase decision, less than two-thirds could do the correct calculations.

India
Schools in India

With regard to the higher education system, both India and China dominate the number of tertiary degree holders because of their large population size, but when it comes to the percentage of the population holding tertiary degrees, only about 10 per cent and 8 per cent of the population possess university degrees in China and India, respectively. By contrast, in Japan, almost 50 per cent of the population holds a tertiary degree, and in the United States, 31 per cent of the population hold a tertiary degree.

In terms of the international recognition of universities, the Times Higher Education (THE) World University Ranking for 2019 places seven of the China’s universities in the top 200, compared to none for India. The global university rankings, which are based on various performance metrices, pertaining to teaching, research, citations, international outlook and industrial income, shows progress for several of China’s low-ranked universities, largely driven by improvements in its citations.

In fact, the Tsinghua University has overtaken the National University of Singapore (NUS) to become the best university in Asia due to improvements in its citations, institutional income and increased share of international staff, students and co-authored publications.

While India has progressed in terms of massification of education, there is still a lot which needs to be done when it comes to catching up with the China’s educational outcomes. China’s early start in strengthening its primary and secondary education systems has given it an edge over India in terms of higher education. Moreover, Chinese government strategies are designed in line with the criterion used in major world university rankings, especially emphasis is on the two factors which weigh heavily in the rankings — publications and international students.

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The relentless publications drive, which is very evident in China, is weak in India and has led to a growing gap in the number of publications contributed by the two countries. Further, China enrolled about 292,611 foreign students in 2011 from 194 countries, while India currently only has 46,144 foreign students enrolled in its higher education institutions, coming from 166 countries. The large number of international enrollments in China is a reflection of its state policies granting high scholarships to foreign students.

To catch up with China, India needs to lay emphasis on improving its educational outcomes. Massification drive for education has helped India raise its student enrollments, but a lot needs to be done when it comes to global recognition for its universities. Further, it needs to focus on building the foundation skills which are acquired by students at the school age, poor fundamental skills flow through the student life, affecting adversely the quality of education system. (IANS)