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Krishna Kumar

Former Director of the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT)


A cry against hollow public life

Students are protesting on their own, as a generation let down by the institutional and political order

Autonomy of a university is very important tool in building a nation. Substantiate -(GS 3)

GS 2:3: Education
This article will feed you with rich knowledge on why public universities should be democratic in nature and systemic failures of public funded universities has been clearly mentioned by the above author.
The turmoil witnessed in many university campuses over the recent weeks brings into fresh relevance many fundamental issues in educational theory. Autonomy of universities as public institutions is the foremost among these issues. Substantive autonomy has been fading away for some time; now we cannot escape worrying about its summary loss.


It is one of the oldest questions posed in social philosophy. Human beings have always been concerned about what their progeny(a descendant or the descendants of a person) know or what all they can find out.

This concern has driven curriculum wars in all societies, and these wars are inseparable from politics.

Then comes the issue: the role of youth in shaping the social ethos.

People engaged in active politics love to imagine that the young are on their side. After all, youth represents the future, so why would not politicians claim the support of youth? And therein lies the ironical truth, namely that the young are known to be unpredictable.

No matter how much you try to shape their minds and habits, they can throw a total surprise at you.

All education, no matter what its stage, is about knowledge and learning.

Howsoever poorly a system of education imparts knowledge to the young, it has its own dynamic which arises from knowledge itself.

When educational opportunities expand across social classes, new social processes are unleashed.

Our system of education has gone through [wc_highlight color=”yellow” class=””]radical expansion[/wc_highlight] over the last three decades.

It has widely disseminated the values enshrined in Constitution. The system has also conveyed to the young a general memory of the freedom movement, especially the memory of Gandhi, his ideas and methods.


By the end of elementary classes, many children know that there is a problem with inequality.

That the Constitution is against discrimination in any form or sense brings both solace and anguish. The solace comes from the realisation that the Constitution prohibits discrimination; the anguish is caused by the widespread acceptance of discrimination.

It is hardly surprising that during many agitations held in the recent weeks, the Preamble to the Constitution was publicly read aloud. The obvious purpose was to convey the question: ‘How is equality before law possible if a law does not mention all religions?’

The agitated youth of India is drawing attention to a more general, basic point. It will be terribly unfortunate if someone doubts the integrity of the young or perceives them as pawns in a power game.

The chief administrator of one of these institutions has asked the students to forget what has happened and move on.

This advice sounds strange, because education is all about reflection on experience. Violence represents a breakdown, not merely an aberration.

Pedagogic relations are basic to education, and these relations call for maintenance of trust and peace.

Restoration of peace is not like registration for a new semester. Participatory introspection — in which the administration and teachers join the students — is the only way to move forward. Inquiries and investigation are fine; properly carried out, they might establish the truth, but they will not restore peace which is essential for teaching.

Going deep into knowledge, irrespective of the subject or discipline, permits the mind to draw linkages between knowledge and life and between different fields of knowledge. The Chief Justice of India has recently emphasised the importance of inter-disciplinary learning for judges.


The system of higher education in India is sharply divided between a beleaguered public sector and an insulated private sector.

The latter has remained isolated from the suffering of the former.

A handful of private universities flaunt their global connections and eminent faculty in social sciences and humanities. But faculty fame cannot compensate for disengaged pedagogy.

Advertisements of inter-disciplinary studies and critical thinking remain hollow if an institution hides cocooned behind its security.

The silence one notices in high-fee charging campuses over what is troubling the young in public institutions offers an unexpected lesson in the real cost of privatisation.

It explains why maintenance of good public universities is essential in a democracy if we define it as a system that encourages empathy across social divisions.

It is not news anymore that India has neglected the state-funded higher education system and encouraged privatisation. Saving public money in the name of opening up opportunities for private spending has grave implications for the political role of education.

Recovery of institutional and systemic health is never easy, especially when it is not recognised as a policy goal.

       IASbhai  Windup:  
In general, the system of higher education has treated the young quite poorly.
They are protesting today on their own — as a generation let down by the institutional and political order. This is not merely a matter of poor economic prospects or frustration with the conditions prevailing in the institution. It is a cry of the young against the ethical and intellectual hollow they have spotted in the nation’s public life.But its loss is symbolic of a systemic misfortune.


EDITORIAL 17 : ‘Quiet, for now’



Quiet, for now

The trade deal between the U.S. and China allows President Trump to claim some success

Global trade war is concentrated on certain goods and services . Comment -(GS 3)

GS 3 : Growth: Trade disputes

After reading this a comparative analysis can be put down on global trade war and its impact on India

The phase one trade deal U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese Vice-Premier Liu He signed on Wednesday is but a temporary truce that leaves the key issues of the trade dispute unresolved.



The pact that Mr. Trump has touted as a step toward creating a fairer and reciprocal partnership still leaves intact nearly three-fourths of punitive tariffs slapped on China since the onset of the trade rift in 2017.

Even so, the limited terms the two largest economies agreed upon sets the political stage for further bilateral negotiations and to stem a further deterioration in the global growth scenario.

China is to buy $200-billion in goods and services in the coming two years — purchases in 2017, were valued at some $187-billion.

The proposed increase in exports is believed to be unprecedented in U.S. trade history and caused speculation on the impact these steep targets could have on China’s other trading partners.


Agricultural exports form the smallest proportion of the latest offers relative to manufactured goods and services.

This has been an important area of concern for the American farming sector ever since China imposed retaliatory tariffs on soyabean imports from the U.S.

But Beijing has promised to open its markets in dairy products, poultry, fish and allied sectors.

Whereas China has given assurances to remove barriers for American banking, insurance and other financial services, Washington would be more wary of guarantees on IP protection and alleged forced technology transfers; the last two have been among the more contentious aspects of the trade dispute, as seen in the attacks on Chinese telecom manufacturer Huawei.

Separately, Washington has invoked provisions on threats to its national security to punish adversaries, an exceptional measure in the international trading arena.

However, questions over government control of China’s state-owned firms and industrial subsidies — at the core the bilateral dispute — are not expected to be resolved until after the 2020 U.S. Presidential elections.

The step signals hope just as Washington’s decision this week to withdraw the tag of a currency manipulator upon Beijing, accusing it of artificially devaluing the renminbi to gain competitive advantage.

       IASbhai  Windup:  

Crucially, the timing of the package enables Mr. Trump to claim some success in narrowing the trade deficit with China ahead of his November re-election bid.

Mr. Trump has said that negotiations on a phase two agreement would begin immediately and even hinted that he could travel to Beijing.

The new forum could set the tone to address sensitive issues that have dogged Beijing’s relations with the U.S. and its allies after China joined the WTO.

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