The distinction between Rights and Freedoms.

Now for the important matter of the distinction between rights and freedoms. Of late, there has been a proliferation of rights. There’s the right to information, right to employment, right to food, right to education, and so on. Somehow people start thinking that the expansion of rights enhances freedom but in fact it is the opposite: the expansion of rights actually reduces our freedom.
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Nursery Schools and Government Malfeasance

Mumbai makes me mad. Never mind the alliteration, I cannot stand the horrendous traffic, the repeated demented wail of mosque loudspeakers, the incessant honking of vehicles, and the crowds. But then, I was on Bangalore a few days ago and it was not much better. (Bengaluru is now the proper name but it sounds strange to a Bengali.) Bengaluru too has horrendous traffic, demented wailing from a few thousand mosques, the honking, . . . Signs of urban decay and disastrous descent into chaos is depressingly ubiquitous and inescapable. If that has not cheered you up, continue reading.
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Like the NREGA, the RTE helps destroy whatever is left

The NREGA, as feared, has caused tremendous harm and will continue to play havoc on the Indian economy. The Right to Education (RTE) is another act that will surely help destroy whatever little there is left of the Indian education system. It is as if the UPA led by the Congress has sworn to destroy India. Go read what Manish Sabharwal has to say about the RTE in the Economic Times of Jan 12th. An extract below the fold, for the record:
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Innumerates of the Times of India

Those who refuse to do arithmetic are doomed to speak nonsense. That one is a favorite quote from a computer science guru John McCarthy. To it I would add that those who are incapable of reasoning are doomed to being innumerate. The ability to reason is a prerequisite for knowing how to do arithmetic. Let me give you a shining example of innumeracy arising from an inability to reason.
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The Commodification of Education

I was telling my friend CJ about a presentation I made yesterday to the trustees of a school. The proposal was to hand over the management of the school to a firm that will manage the school for a fee. One of the trustees had brought up the point that the firm was a for-profit organization and therefore it would be improper for the school to be associated with it. CJ’s reaction was, “That’s the basic problem with the whole education system, isn’t it?” Continue reading “The Commodification of Education”

Re-thinking Entrance Exams

The ability to do things differently than was done previously must rank as one of the more desirable features of any entity. Individuals and institutions that have the flexibility to change as circumstance change are more successful than others. Those who are confident of themselves can dispassionately examine what about themselves needs change. It takes intelligence to figure out what is wrong and how to fix it. It takes courage to admit that the current system just does not work. It takes optimism and self-confidence to know that one has the ability to do better. Every problem that India faces is amenable to a solution. The first step is knowing that there is a problem, however. Then come the needed attributes of flexibility, courage, optimism, confidence, etc. I will touch upon one small but much needed change. And propose a solution.
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Internet and Higher Education

A BusinessWeek article of 14th September, “Next: An Internet Revolution in Higher Education,” makes the case that the way higher education is done will be changed by the internet revolution. This is not the most earthshaking bit of news you may have heard since it is fairly obvious that nearly everything has been affected by the internet and in the future, every aspect of human society will be qualitatively different as a consequence of the ease with which information is recorded, stored, transmitted, searched, and retrieved.
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Policy Brief on Higher Education in India

India’s higher education must reflect the dynamics of its economy and the diversity of the needed human capital for powering its growth in an increasingly competitive globalized world. The circular causation between an effective higher education sector and the economic growth makes the sector especially amenable to positive feedback effects – once the process is initiated, the system automatically builds up capacity to keep the growth of the sector to match the growth of the economy. Policy choices dictate the initial conditions and kick-starting of this virtuous process.
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Mr Kapil Sibal: Abolish the Human Resources Development ministry

It seems to be the season for focusing on education. I will do the conjecturing below but first here are a bunch of articles on what’s going on in education in India.
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