Staff Reporter

"Being multi-lingual gave children many more concepts to work with"

CHENNAI: Education is no protection against the Hindutva ideology, said Yash Pal, former chairperson of the University Grants Commission at the Madras Institute of Development Studies here on Monday. In an informal, wide ranging discussion entitled `Contemporary Issues of Social Concern,' he talked about the flaws in the current education system, the pressure of modern living on relationships and the growth of terrorism.

Being multi-lingual gave children many more concepts to work with, he said. The National Curriculum Framework that he has been involved with envisioned the textbook as an attempt to understand, not as the source of fixed truths. However, schools expressed unwillingness to include subjects like music in the syllabus, he said.

The education system was heavily weighted in favour of memorisation, rather than understanding. This was becoming an obstacle to the spread of scientific temper.

Mr. Pal defined `scientific temper' as `perspectives of science.' It gave the learner the ability to see the larger issues involved in any specific instance and establish a relationship between `the distant and the close.' The Hindutva ideology and religious fundamentalism had supporters in the scientific community. Such ideology had to be understood not simply as superstitious or irrational belief but as a product of growing disparities and obsession with `security.'