How the Andhra govt. killed the education system–2: Free ‘scholarship’
After success at the junior college and the primary education level, the government should have freed the engineering education. But in 2008, the Congress government introduced a free scheme, which turned out to be a disaster. This is concluding part of a two part series 
After experiencing relative success at the junior college and the primary education level, the next logical step should have been to free the engineering education from government control and let the competition prevail. Or at least not ruin it by further intervening. But what followed was a disaster. A perfect case-study for market distortion. 
In 2008, the congress government under YS Rajasekhara Reddy (YSR), introduced a Fee reimbursement scheme for engineering students, which many say brought him back to the power in 2009 elections. Fee reimbursement scheme, in other words, was government-sponsored scholarships to buy votes. Since government was paying the fee, everyone started enrolling into engineering courses whether they were worthy of it or not. Because of this inflated demand, new colleges started cropping up just to encash this phenomenon without any real intention to provide education. Since there was a cap on the fees colleges can charge, existing colleges had no incentive to improve the quality. Even as the standards started to fall more and more engineers were coming out. This is what is reflecting in the Pearson’s survey. The bubble had to burst at some point, and it did. People started finding it difficult to get jobs for the poor quality of education. "Engineering degree would get you an IT job" had started slowly fading away. The demand came crashing down. Lakhs of seats were left vacant and colleges started shutting down.

Learning the wrong lesson

But the problem here is, people learn the wrong lesson. They think, increase in number of engineering colleges or lack of infrastructure is the problem. Hence, they call for more regulation in allotting the engineering colleges. The issue here is Government's intervention and distortion. Otherwise, abundance is something we must celebrate. Competition will take care of improving infrastructure and teaching standards. During Naidu’s regime too, number of colleges increased, but there was a genuine demand due to the industry coming in. Here in the YSR’s case the colleges started coming up to encash the government scholarships. One can compare it with another scenario. 
In early 2000s, with the services industry started coming in, there was a huge demand for "English medium" education even at the lower end of financial spectrum. As this report suggests, AP recorded 100% increase in English medium schools during 2003-06. Highest in the country. But this was a market driven phenomenon, hence we did not hear of schools shutting down until the Government passed a draconian law named "Right to Education" in 2010. A clause in the law, demands a certain minimum standards of physical infrastructure (number of classrooms, a playground, a library, etc.). As per one report, if strictly applied, 95% of schools in the country will not comply with these standards. And the above mentioned schools from the James Tooley's research, which have been educating the poor are now shutting down.

Where the government is absent

But interestingly, there is one area of education that escaped government's eye and is doing very well. Private tuition/coaching centres. They need no licences ...need not spend on any unnecessary infrastructure, they are at liberty to charge whatever they want... As a result, they can give more attention to the student to achieve better results. Unlike schools and colleges, there are no entry barriers here. Anybody can start a coaching/tuition centres. Once they gain some reputation and earn some money, they can use it to get licenses for schools and colleges. It is evident as one of the biggest educational institutes in AP, Narayana Group of Institutes, started as a coaching centre. I personally studied in a school which started as a tuition centre. From coaching 4-5 students for the 10th standard maths in a small verandah, it has emerged into a group of institutions and has now become the most popular brand in that area. 
However, what is the popular notion that imposing norms will improve standards. Far from it. When you impose infrastructural standards, you are denying those people with genuine talent and interest, but financially lacking to meet those standards. But then the Government is set out to destroy even this sector. Enter RTE. Each and every word of the act is destructive. Lot of articles have been written criticising it. But there is a clause that is relevant to the discussion, which did not get the attention it deserved. Clause 28: No teacher shall engage himself or herself in private tuition or private teaching. This is for any schoolteacher, private or public. This is a cruel violation of human rights. A punishment for taking up teaching profession. A move, if strictly implemented, will destroy tuition centres…and all the good that has been discussed above. This is what happens when government plans things.
And then, there are these software institutes, which are proving to be the lifelines of engineering education today. Since they are not confined to any particular curriculum, they can design their own courses. As a result, they are able to bridge the gap between the sluggish education system and the dynamic needs of the industry. There is a place called Ameerpet in Hyderabad, where the bulk of these institutes are located. Here is where the actual engineers are made. Even the industry has direct tie ups with some of these institutes and send their employees to get coached here. This report estimates that one-lakh students every year take advantage of institutes in Ameerpet alone. Clearly, sans regulation, this area has been able to inject the much needed sense of purpose to an otherwise lacklustre system.
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    Meenal Mamdani

    5 years ago

    The author's assertion that AP govt sponsored scholarships to engineering colleges as an election gimmick may be true but it was the lack of regulation and oversight that led to the proliferation of substandard colleges.
    As for Right To Education, the biggest complaint of private schools has to do with the requirement that the schools must accept at least 20% students from economically weaker sections of society. The rest of the requirements such as library, playground, etc are not set in stone and hardly any schools are closed down for lack of such facilities.
    Moreover, none of these problems are peculiar to Andhra Pradesh. They exist all over India.

    Bose alive in China in 1948, indicates declassified file
    Freedom fighter Netaji Subash Chandra Bose was "alive" and "somewhere in Manchuria, China" in 1948, one of his trusted aides, Deb Nath Das, had claimed then, according to the declassified files by the West Bengal government.
    Among the released dossier, file No. 22 sheds light on intelligence gathered by the Bengal government (office of the deputy commissioner of police), on INA leaders, including Das.
    An extract dated August 9, 1948, says: "Deb Nath Das, an ex-INA leader who is actively engaged in anti-Congress propaganda, is preaching in political and party circles that Netaji Subash Chandra Bose is alive and is somewhere in Manchuria, China at present."
    "To rouse the curiosity and even belief of the people, he (Das) says that Netaji told him before the plane-crash that the possibility of a third world war would emerge in the wake of the second world war."
    On August 22, 1945, Tokyo Radio announced the "death" of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose in an air crash in Formosa (now Taiwan) on August 18, 1945, en route to Japan.
    But the crash theory has been rejected by scores of Bose's followers and admirers and claims of the revolutionary leader resurfacing continue to intrigue and divide Indians over the years.
    Adding to the controversy, the extract further states that Das had asserted that in 1948 Bose was keeping tabs on the international as well as national scenario.
    "Das adds that Netaji is watching both the international and national situation, vis-A-vis India, to find out as to which among the foreign powers was her friend or enemy. There is a talk that Deb Nath Das may contest the by-election from south Calcutta constituency of the West Bengal Assembly."
    Das, according to a declassified 1948 confidential diary page of the Calcutta police, was known to give "fiery lectures" against the then Indian government.
    "Except for the meetings attended or presided over by Das, in which he always gave fiery lectures against the government of India, nothing else could be known of his anti-Congress activities."
    The Bengal government on Friday made public 64 files to help unravel the mystery behind Bose's disappearance.
    Bose, once the Congress president, made contact with the Axis powers during World War II. He formed the Indian National Army in Singapore, with the help of the Japanese, and fought the British Indian Army.
    Ex-INA leader Das, was a key member of the provisional government-in-exile formed by Bose in 1943.
    Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.
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    Shirish Sadanand Shanbhag

    5 years ago

    In the year 1996, I had an opportunity to meet, P. N. Oak,M.A.,LL.B. then aged 86 years, at his home at Pune, who joined Indian Independence League (IIL), formed by Ras Behari Bose, in the year 1940. In year 1941, when Ras Behari Bose formally gave the charge of IIL to Subhas Chandra Bose at Singapore, at the ceremony, where Oak was also present.

    Oak was looking after publicity department of Indian National Army (INA), which was rechristened after Subhas Chandra Bose took over IIL from Ras Behari Bose, in the year 1941.

    Since Oak was working closely with Subhas Chandra Bose, I asked Oak about Subhas' death on 18.8.1945, in a air crash, at Formosa air port, where he boarded the air craft, with his only INA aide Habibur Rehaman.

    Said air craft belonged to military, and was very small aircraft. It was already full, and since Subhas Chandra wanted to leave Formosa same day, both were accomodated together on last seats, which were very close to the petrol tank of the air craft.

    Just as aircraft flied, there was leak in fuel tank, and fuel oozed out, and fell on Subhas Chandra's body. As it was cold day, he was wearing woolen coat. Soon after that petrol soaked woolen coat caught fire. Suddenly Habibur Rehaman removed Subas' woolen coat, in that burning situation. Still, Subhas' chest was completely burnt out. Within half an hour, Subhas was transferred to a militaty hospital nearby. All the while, Habibur Rehaman was along side of the Subhas Chandra.
    Same day, night Subhas started collapsing, still then he gathered all his energy, and told Habibur Rehaman, that
    " Habib, I will not survive this accident. Please go and tell our country people, that your Subhas has fought for the country, till his last. Now you carry out my mission further. Give one more kick to British Government, to get independence to India". After these words, he stopped talking further. Even though doctors were at his attendance, he could not survive. Subhas breathed his last in next half an hour. His body was cremated, andhis mortal rtemains were taken by Japanese Government people, since INA was supported by Japan.

    After independence, Habibur Rehaman settled in west Pakistan, since he was having his property in west Punjab, which as transferred to west Pakistan after partition. He was called to Delhi for giving his statement in front of Khosla Committee in the year 1948. At that times, Oak was working for Hindustan Times daily, at its New Delhi office as a sub-editor. Habibur and Oak met at Delhi when former came to Delhi to give his statement in front of Khosla Committee. Both had discussion in disappearance of Netaji Subhas, and as stated above by me, Habibur Rehman, then only witness of Netaji Subhas' death gave a true story, which several people disbelieved it. Even Oak asked him, how he survived fire, when he was so close to Subhas. Habibur showed some burns' remains on his hands to Oak, which was then only three year old.

    I met Captain Laxmi, head of Rani Laxmi Ladies' Regiment of INA, in Mumbai, in 2003. She also said that Netaji Subhas expired in plane accident, and Habibur Rehaman's statement, as narrated to me by Oak was correct and true.

    Habibur Rehaman, P. N. Oak and Captan Laxmi are all dead now.

    Mortal remins of Netji Subhas are available at Rinkoji Temple at Japan. These mortal remains may be DNA analysed against blood sample of Netaji Subhas' only daughter, now aged 71 year old, Anita Bose Puff, who is in Germany. I happened to meet her in Mumbai, in the year 2004.

    New Jharkhand capital remains only on drawing board
    It has been 15 years since the state of Jharkhand was carved out of Bihar, but the new state capital is stuck up on drawing boards due to lack of political will and likely need to rehabilitate people who would be affected by the project.
    The core of the proposed capital is planned to be developed in Heavy Engineering Corporation (HEC) area of Ranchi on around 2,000 acres of land. 
    Government sources said the core capital would house only government buildings. The project, however, faces stiff resistance from people living on land where the core capital is proposed to come up. 
    "People have been living here for the last more than 50 years. How can they be moved out without proper rehabilitation?" said Bandhu Tirkey, a former legislator. 
    After the creation of Jharkhand, Ranchi witnessed a sudden surge in its population. Facilities of housing, drinking water, electricity and roads were in bad shape, but little has been done since then to improve amenities. Ranchi has since been selected for the status of 100 smart cities of the country. 
    The then deputy prime minister L.K. Advani laid the foundation for the new capital in 2002 but work could not begin. A ring road project launched eight years ago is yet to be completed. 
    Even the state assembly, secretariat and a large number of government residences are functioning from buildings taken on rent. 
    Chief Minister Raghubar Das surveyed at least three areas on Ranchi outskirts, but could not finalise a site for the new capital. Sources in the government said the hunt for new capital has since been stopped. 
    "We will develop the core capital where the state assembly, secretariat, high court and government residences will be constructed. We have awarded the work for the construction of the high court building while the process is on to float tenders for the assembly building," said Sukhdeo Singh, managing director of Greater Ranchi Development Authority.
    Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.
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    K. M. Rao

    5 years ago

    We can summarise the sorry state affairs in one phrase - lack of leadership qualities.

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