Okay, so we finally get to our detailed commentary on the Yash Pal Committee report. We will do so in a series of posts. This is the first in the series.
The first thing we’d like to clarify to our readers is that the Yash Pal Committee was commissioned to analyze Higher Education in India and make recommendations for improving it. It was really none of its business to make the disappointing and brief commentary it did make about Secondary School Education, wherein it commented that we need to re-think on the “need to continue with” State Secondary Education Boards (which equates to the Department of Pre-University Education in Karnataka). In the context of the Yash Pal Committee report as applied to Karnataka, one must replace “Secondary School Education” with “Pre-University Education”, because it is the latter term which is understood here in Karnataka.
We understand that University Education cannot be completely oblivious of Pre-University Education, but even the little rigor one sees in the Yash Pal Committee’s analysis of University Education is found lacking in the casual paragraph it wrote about Pre-University Education. Since we have already analyzed the problems associated with, and the impossibility of, replacing the Department of Pre-University Education with a “GRE-like examination”, we will not re-visit it here. Instead, we will focus on the core topic of the Committee: Higher Education.
We disagree with the Committee's definition of a University
We now get on to the Committee’s understanding of what a University is – for it is from this that its recommendations about Higher Education arise. It is here that we differ with the Committee. We will not waste any time on the structural “revamping” suggested by the Committee such as merging the UGC and AICTE into one NCHER (National Commission for Higher Education and Research), because these structural changes, in our opinion, do not address the problem at its core - even though they certainly have the ability to make small improvements in the status quo. Challenging the IITs and IIMs too is bold and beautiful, but does not address the problem.
That’s why we’ve termed the Committee’s recommendations as an attempt to re-structure the same old vamp – the “vamp” being the definition of a University popular amongst post-independence influential educationists and thinkers in India. Since we cannot agree with that definition, no amount of systemic re-structuring based on the wrong definition can bring the system closer to ideality.
Two people who do not agree on the definition of a house must not discuss whether the Verandah and the Living Room must be merged into one room. It’s a waste of time. Our time is better invested in putting across our definition of a house, our definition of a University, and hoping that contemporary thinkers and policy-makers are open to evaluating our definition with an open mind - since we sincerely believe that our definition is most in-line with the development of Kannada, Kannadiga and Karnataka - and by induction of the whole of India.
Philosophical reconciliation always precedes implementational reconciliation. If the former is impossible, any attempt to do the latter is wasteful.
Next in series>>>