Apropos of your edit “Right Step”, I want to point out a basic flaw in the premise of tech-oriented solutions for improving learning outcomes in government schools. You write that empowering the teachers is necessary. A fair point, but with most teachers in government schools having been hired on an ad-hoc basis and remaining ad-hoc for years with sword of losing their jobs hanging on their heads, is there really any incentive for them to undertake a tech-learning training? One could say that they would be adding a skill set for free and that is an incentive in itself. However, where would this skill help them? In budget private schools? These schools don’t have enough funds to even pay a decent salary to the teachers, there is every likelihood that they won’t have the necessary funds to push a low-cost gadget-aided teaching even if there is support from the likes of Nilekani. Besides, if you talked to the teachers in government primary schools, most of these are poorly-educated chaps looking to get out of teaching and enter a more remunerative profession. The only people who are likely to be there for the long-term are local leaders’ underqualified kin, looking to skim off the government, and washed out middle-aged teachers who are just looking forward to retirement. The key lies rethinking the entire hiring of teachers and looking at making it an attractive profession with its own evaluation and rewards system, quite like the private corporate sector. Otherwise, India will have to forever wait for handouts from the corporate sector to get its children to learn. Nevertheless, kudos to Nilekani for having actually thought of a solution, something which the government will do well to seriously consider.
The Supreme Court order to the Gujarat police to not arrest Teesta Setalvad and her husband Javed Anand is a triumph for justice. By defending her personal liberty and protecting her from unnecessary “custodial interrogation” and possible torture, the apex court has affirmed its independence and acted fair by her as a citizen. Learned judges of the lower courts must take a leaf from the book of the Supreme Court judges and refuse to let their judgements be coloured by political or other biases and pressures. It is a matter of great relief for all-right thinking people that the attempts of the state to put her behind bars and take revenge on her for fighting bravely the cause of the Gujarat riot victims are thwarted and the police are shown their place by none other than the custodian of the Constitution and the law of our land. The powers-that-be must grasp the meaning of the court’s observation that “the value of freedom cannot even be compared to the stars of the sky”.
G David Milton
Maruthancode, Tamil Nadu
The prime minister’s monogrammed pinstripe suit getting bid for R1.21 crore is exactly the kind of personality cult that inevitably brings down an able leader. This kind of fan following fuels a “my leader and commander” kind of attitude that slowly lapses into subservience and sycophancy, more so when the larger public buys into the personality projections. For Modi to deliver effectively, he must enjoy the support, not adulation, of the public—evident in fanboys looking to acquire the suit for money that they could have otherwise invested in India’s development process without needing a “Modi” reason or channel.