Registered with the Registrar of Newspapers for India under R.N.I 53640/91
Vol. XXVI No. 03, May 16-31, 2016
Time to lift up State exam levels
And so, the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) for medical and dental undergraduate courses has come to stay. It will be applicable across the country and will therefore be a standard yardstick for admission. At least something can now be measured uniformly in an education system that has increasingly become fractured along State boundary lines. The judgement to this effect by the Supreme Court of India has, of course, riled Tamil Nadu no end, for the State has for years been setting its own standards in education.
Our sympathies are with the students who now need to prepare themselves for a completely different kind of test. But to enthuse them we need to only tell them to look back and realise that the same kind of stresses were faced when the education system changed from the Pre-University scheme to Plus Two and also when engineering courses switched from five-year duration to four. The fundamental difference here is that those were changes within a curriculum, while this poses challenges for aspirants and is therefore a bigger obstacle to surmount.
The stance of private colleges and the State, both of which till last year conducted their own examinations for colleges under their control, is that the new ruling has taken students unawares and that tests that are held under NEET are of a very high standard and that, therefore, most students may not clear them. Well, what exactly is wrong with a high standard? We are, after all, dealing with a life science here, one in which graduates will have to contend with human health and well being. Can any standard be too high for such things? We would expect that merit of the highest order would be the sole criterion for letting in students into such courses and those that do not qualify will need to look at alternatives.
Elections for the post of mayor of London have just concluded and received worldwide publicity. Chennai’s municipal body is said to be the second oldest after London’s in the former British domains. Of course, we don’t expect elections here to attract the same attention but will our civic body begin to emulate some of the good features of the Corporation of London, at least some time in the future?
To be sure, the Corporation of Greater Chennai has been ahead of its London counterpart in having a directly elected mayor. The practice began here in 1996 while in London it came about only in 2000 after a referendum decided to this effect. Since the time the post of mayor became a matter of public contest both in Chennai and London, candidates have been fielded from the dominant political parties and the results have gone in the way of one or the other. The similarity, however, ends there.
Several killed in road accidents.’
‘Bus rams onto pavements killing four.’
We are so used to these headlines that we don’t even bother to go through the gory details. Beware; if stringent steps are not taken to curb this, the next victim could even be you.
It was around a month ago that we received an email from Andrew Hasson. His father had served briefly in India during the Second World War and had taken some photographs while here. He wanted us to identify the places.
Sailendra Bhaskar writes: I read this recent post in an internet magazine called The Better India and thought you would find this article of interest.
In the 1980s, Japanese national Shuzo Matsunaga and S.M. Muthu from Tamil Nadu developed an unlikely friendship over their common love of literature. In 2007, this friendship resulted in the Japanese government issuing postage stamps in honour of Muthu.