Monday April 22, 2019
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If Modi transforms education, he’ll be remembered as a visionary

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modi1The front page news that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has personally directed that the feasibility of foreign universities entering the education space in India be urgently examined has come as good news for the higher education sector, which is currently reeling under burgeoning demand, limited supply and the mushrooming of poor quality educational institutions.

There is hope that the BJP, which had opposed the bill on the subject when UPA-II moved it, would support it now if the prime minister endorses it.

This might well turn out to be the game changer that would transform the education landscape in India. It is an accepted fact that many graduates, including those with engineering degrees, are unable to find employment because they do not possess the knowledge or skills that make them market-worthy. This is a consequence when sloppy education vendors flood the market simply to take advantage of demand. Quality education suffers as a consequence.

The passage of the long-pending Foreign Educational Institutions Bill is, consequently, viewed by many as the solution. It would make high quality education widely available in India, apart from improving the quality of existing education providers through direct competition. Many unreliable vendors would be rendered redundant by market forces. This would further contribute to improving the education delivery system.

Apart from savings in foreign exchange by providing Indian students an opportunity to study in India rather than going abroad, the entry of foreign education providers is expected to see increased investment in and encouragement of R&D, which has been a long-neglected sector. Additionally, a significant boost is expected to be given to the online platform, which is likely to emerge as a lucrative product in a rapidly growing demand-driven market, such as India.

Speculation that with the opening up of the education space, India could be positioned as an Asian education hub will also have positive implications on infrastructure, streamlining administrative procedures with regard to mutual recognition and accreditation, and the dismantling of abrasive visa regulations, particularly for those wishing to come to India for research projects. Collaboration with foreign universities would, most certainly, see the exchange of faculty and students, including credit transfer, and consequently impact positively not only on joint research but also on tourism.

In other words, this has the potential of emerging as a powerful public diplomacy tool in foreign affairs by opening its doors to international students and international faculty. When learning is experiential, it has the ability of becoming second nature and thus, influencing perceptions and behaviour. In short, the studying-in-India experience would enable students to make Indian friends, travel within India, and receive an experiential exposure to India’s diverse cultural heritage. Consequently, when they return to their countries, they would have a more informed, first-hand and long-lasting perception of India. This lies at the core of any public diplomacy intervention because it helps create life-time friends.

Equally important is the fact that the liberalization of India’s education sector would send a strong signal to the global community of India’s openness to engage with international partners. This would be in keeping with the prime minister’s message that his government’s priority would lie in ensuring the ease of doing business and in the dismantling of protectionist barriers. However, this requires firm advocacy by none other than the prime minister himself, who needs to not only make his intent clear but insist on time-bound implementation. It is expected that vested interests and strong lobbies, many of whom enjoy considerable political patronage, would oppose the passage of the bill, as it would, most certainly, threaten their existence and impact their bank balances.

How strongly the prime minister asserts his position would be watched. The prevalent perception is that promises are made but not kept. Indeed, the bureaucracy, especially in the visa-on-arrival issue, has unambiguously “overruled” a public prime ministerial public announcement, at huge cost and harassment to foreign visitors. This can create serious perception and credibility issues that the Prime Minister’s Office needs to be cognizant of. It is hoped that lessons have been learnt and that the bureaucracy appreciates the damage it causes when it undermines the prime minister’s perceived directives.

A positive signal was conveyed by Modi when he directed that the foreign education bill needs to be revisited. If he is able to transform the education landscape in India, he would be remembered as a man of vision. After all, it is only nations that recognize the primacy of education are able to achieve sustainable economic growth and social justice.

 

-(IANS)

Next Story

Is Supporting the TRUTH a Crime?

Is this the age of hypocrisy? Yes, it quite seems like. Hypocrisy and double-dealing are what characterize the social and intellectual nuances of present India. Nothing could be so disgusting than the fact that when you speak the truth and follow the truthful people then you are accused of being a follower of Saffron party. ‘Bhakta’, ‘Sangi’ are two terms much going around which are coined by those extra smart class of Indians

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Is it a crime in India now to admire those who really deserve?

By Salil Gewali

Just a few days back I was incisively criticized by one of such smarts – Mr. Sekular. He put forth very weak reasons to undermine my article on PM Modi as if it is outrageous to praise PM Modi’s dedication and activities. My article was intended to bring to the limelight a few of the rare achievements of the present government and how it brought about the overall development in the country and the appreciations PM Modi received from the countries abroad. Is it a crime in India now to admire those who really deserve? Here follow how I rebut that write-up by Mr. Sekular.

  • I am not a follower of any political parties. Nor am I associated with any organizations, so I do not have an allegiance to a specific political party. Nevertheless, I do support, and do not hold back to uphold the truth and do not shy away from admiring those who are genuinely truthful and putting themselves in the service of the nation. The nation belongs to me, my family, my village; and as a result, me, my family, my society, my culture, my language and my identity are inseparable from this land.   Well, even if I am a supporter of the Saffron party of PM Modi, what is the big deal about it? Does one commit a sin by supporting and encouraging persons who truly love the country and who want to do something substantial for the nation?
truth, crime
Why do Mr. Sekular and his kind hold the contrary ideas about the safety and security of this sovereign country?
  • Here my pointed question to that Mr. Sekular is, on the other hand, why does he support those parties and those “forces” whose “integrity” is very doubtful. Why do Mr. Sekular and his kind hold the contrary ideas about the safety and security of this sovereign country? Why do they discreetly, even openly, invite Bangladeshi infiltrators, and thereby put the peaceful Indians to great hardship? On the other hand, don’t they vehemently oppose CAB bill? Why so opposing views, conflicting perspectives?  Well, if trusting and espousing the “truth” and human “values”, and loving the country and its language and its culture will be equated with supporting the saffron party of India then I will never mind even if the whole world calling me as a leader of that party, lol. Why should one deviate from the “pathway of truth” lest somebody would label him as a certain thing or other?

 

  • Please watch out, if the same principle is applied, the leaders and country heads of UAE, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Palestine, South Korea, Japan are fast becoming the followers of the saffron party. They all have applauded the activities of the Supreme head of the saffron party – Mr. Narendra Modi and awarded him with the states’ highest honors. What is too disquieting here is that the president of Russia – Mr. Vladimir Putin also has jumped on the bandwagon. His government has recently announced to honor Shri Narendra Modi with the country’s highest award – Order of St. Andrew the Apostle. According to Mr. Sekular, I guess, it is objectionable. Well, barring a few, all world leaders have established the personal relationship with the saffron head.  Is Mr. Sekular aware that Tulsi Gabbard, who is now running for the President of America, is a passionate follower of Narendra Modi? One wonders what Mr. Sekular and his ilk will do if the US Congress’ leaders cry at the top their lungs – “America Mata Jai” in case Ms. Tulsi wins the election in 2020? Her name itself is Indian and so off-putting, isn’t it?
truth, crime
One wonders what Mr. Sekular and his ilk will do if the US Congress’ leaders cry at the top their lungs – “America Mata Jai” in case Ms. Tulsi wins the election in 2020? Her name itself is Indian and so off-putting, isn’t it?
  • Further, I guess, Mr. Sekular must not have completely read my articles and viewpoints, and therefore he is conveniently misinterpreting it to create confusion among other readers. His intention is seemingly not very clear. Almost all my l articles, starting from 1990, frankly speaking, invariably seek to bring about the harmony, peace, and co-existence among all peoples and the welfare of the whole humanity in the world. I personally have never compromised on the misconceived ideas and principles against human values and against the country, nor have I knowingly ever set out to cause a division, hostility, acrimony, hatred, among anyone through my write-ups.  And, despite that, if anyone draws the negative meanings from my writings then I am totally helpless. Of course, people usually understand a subject which is based on their already programmed and conditioned minds. The acquired information and impressions in the past only help them form ideas and conclusion. We usually become victims of wrong propaganda and misinformation and start to believe them as being right. One has to be extra alert in this age of digital media as there are many SECULAR propagandists around.

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Lastly, Mr. Sekular should note that my two eyes still clearly differentiate between right and wrong, and virtue and evil. Hence, I am deeply suspicious of those intellectuals who glorify “aluminum”, not “gold”, heap praise upon the terror-manufacturing countries, not upon where they have taken birth in, hate the native culture but eulogize and adopt the culture from the far-off lands. We must caution ourselves of these hypocrites who trifle with the country, its ethos, its sanctity and thus mislead the masses with wrong narratives.

Salil Gewali is a well-known writer and author of ‘Great minds on India’. Twitter: @SGewali