Monday, August 11, 2014

CSAT and FYUP: BJP's turn down on Reforms and Progress.

When people of India suffered years of misrule, Modi promised change, development and progress and they lapped it up. But once the BJP came to power we see the same old deafening silence and defeatist caution on the promises made even on the vital issues plaguing the country and what is worse, even the reforms plan emanating from autonomous institution are interfered with to belittle and stifle the same. Higher Education Sector is the case in point, especially its action on Civil Service Aptitude Test ( CSAT ) and the English Language in Civil Service Examination as well as on Four Year Undergraduate Program ( FYUP ), turning down both. Both are a reform in the right direction, if not the revolutionary change as our education scenario demands.

Education must reckon with the individual differences and the unique talent pupil has as they alone need to be honed up, they alone can contribute to quality and relevance in learning especially when they are related to self and National development. CSAT is a small step in that direction. It would not exclude any as every task needs multiple skills - technical, organisational, communication, relationship skills for example - and the aptitude test is ideal with adults to identify, develop and place accordingly in line with their talents, (although the Test may not be ideal with children as the aptitude and skills are still in the process of unfolding in them). CSAT would have replaced the present arbitrary and subjective way of doing the recognition, honing and placement of talents in the pupil. It would have brought the best fit between the person and job, thereby contributing to greater productivity and job satisfaction.

Similarly, FYUP. Degrees in General Education at present have become irrelevant either to self  or to national development as they do not offer any skills or worthy experience. They are fit only to do Post Graduate Degrees who in turn good only to do PhDs which eventually ends up in only teaching and research jobs, they being disempowered to shoulder umpteen number of other jobs in the country. FYUP would have offered a focused development of a subject knowledge and skills in the chosen area with emphasis on hand on field experience. If Delhi University Program had any lacunae in curriculum development or all round preparation, one could always start it after rectifying the same instead of whole scale rejection and thereby putting a spoke on academic excellence and relevance. What is worse, the manner in which the Government went about doing so is so brash that it does not bore well to the dignity and autonomy of  Higher Education in the country. Government not only asked the UGC to issue direction to the Delhi University to stop the course forthwith, bypassing all the University Bodies but also, what is worse, it has an audacity to ask the Indian Institute of Science, which has a proven longstanding history of quality and excellence in its programmes developed through the hard work by their highly qualified and dedicated staff, to stop its FYUP.  At this rate, the General Higher Education in India will reach its depth of degradation.

Perhaps, BJP has its own idea of change, development and progress that is different from what Modi used to state in his campaign during General Election as well as from the globally accepted definition. If that is so, then, we will be isolated and excluded by the global community with running the risk of putting us in the dustbin of antiquity that is bereft of either the free, vibrant and creative pursuit of our upanishadic rishis that are adored by many modern scientist or of partaking in the best fruits of modern civilisation by our citizens.

Written and posted on 11 August 2014.

P.S.: Todays ( 13 August 2014 ) media reports say that UGC has allowed IISC,  after going through the latter's explanation, to have their FYUP. At last, some sense prevailed at least in some aspects!.

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