Indian higher education system has always been under intense scrutiny and it has always been criticized for its lack of global exposure. This rigid and monotonous outlook will get a makeover and a sea change would be seen in the functioning of Indian Universities if there is healthy competition from these foreign universities. It is heartening to note, however, that IIMs and IITs in India find that there is no threat to their existence if foreign universities are allowed to function in India. As long as top level foreign universities (which are accredited in these foreign lands) providing courses that are alien in Indian universities are allowed to function in India we can consider this policy as a win-win situation.
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The crux therefore is the political will. A top level political priority requires innovation akin to Gandhi’s Satyagraha to ensure our goal of providing quality education to each and every child in the country. NGOs that are involved in private schooling do help to some extent but they cannot take the brunt of teaching every child of the country.
One hopes that the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) an initiative launched by the Government of India in 2001 promotes good primary education as days go by. However primary education being a state subject, every primary education minister of the state must work pro-actively and ensure that wholesome education is imparted to the children of the state.
The best method of dealing with such disturbed students is to enrol them in an academic programme that purveys modification in behaviour patterns resulting in emotional support. One must make efforts to get psychiatric help and the student should be constantly engaged in meaningful communication with parents, other teachers and other students. If a goal is set for them, the disturbed students are quite likely to have some purpose in life and may come back to the right path.
Most importantly sympathetic treatment coupled with loads of understanding will go a long way in helping such unfortunate students.
Thus it stands to reason, that unless one is autistic these skills can be taught and learned. Obviously it is important to recognize that the people with very poor communication skills may find it difficult to master these skills but plodding with them eventually will give good results. One should also realize that students or people who are not recognized by their peers or ignored by others tend to have difficulty in imbibing these social skills and special care must be given to such people.
Also remember two words which are very important: Empathy and Apology. A person with good social skills will have these two traits aplenty. One should empathize with a person when one sees the need for it as it is like a soothing balm and whenever a slight has been committed an apology at once lessens the pain.
One should also remember that social skills are basically developed at home and if a person comes from an uncouth family with terrible habits, it would be a mountain to climb to help such a person. However, with proper care and setting examples even such a person can develop good and practical social skills.
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However, in the field of education, beginnings have been made what with the advent of satellite communication, Information Technology and affordable simple computers like the “simputer”. This last alone has done wonders to the rural poor in imparting education by ensuring that illiteracy is no longer a barrier to getting quality education. This simple computer, a basic portable PC has been able to bridge the digital divide. Like the barefoot doctors, an innovation of the Chinese, we need to have an army of young professionals willing to work in rural areas in imparting education. It is definitely possible as there are a number of youngsters who have a fire in their bellies to do such work involving huge personal sacrifices. A good and workable incentive should be given for such professionals and this can only be done by the Government or a cash rich NGO.
A short article like this can never hope to cover even the basic aspects involved in bridging the educational gap between rural and urban students but the line of thought should be on the lines mentioned above.
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