Says improving standards without faculty, infrastructure is impossible

Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) founder-director and former Vice-Chairman of the National Knowledge Commission P.M. Bhargava said the poor quality of school education was a stumbling block for implementing the much-hyped Right to Education.

Improving the standard of education without having the requisite faculty and infrastructure in schools, will be an impossible task, he asserted in an interaction with mediapersons at Vijayawada Book Festival (VBF) here on Monday.

Mr. Bhargava said that education, power, water, governance and corruption should be on top of the ‘agenda for the nation’ lest the remaining things should prove to be unassailable targets. Successive governments have pompously set out a host of goals but they had no calibrated approach for achieving them.

The quality of students passing out of colleges was so bad that nearly 80 per cent of the engineers ‘produced’ in the country were unemployable.

The situation would not be so disappointing if they had proper schooling, Mr. Bhargava observed.

He expressed regret that nowhere in the world, even in countries like Afghanistan and Pakistan, school education was as appalling as it is in India. Government schools are preferred to private institutions in the USA, France, UK, and Scandinavian countries among others but not in India where corporate colleges were given freedom to build their empires.

“India can salvage the situation only when it begins de-commercialising education which has already taken its toll on the system,” Mr. Bhargava said and added that the focus should obviously shift from things like gross enrolment ratio which barely helps in improving quality. Such short-sighted goals have done a great deal of harm, he commented.

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