i. Too many students are competing for too few potential opportunities. Be it professional courses or general science streams, number of seats are limited given the sheer number of students that pass out of board exams.
ii. Cut off for choice subjects in Delhi University has become unattainably very high.
iii. A lot of private universities have come up. Many are willing to give admission, many a time just looking at high school marks. But expense of studying in a private university of any repute is nearly 3 – 4 times that of a government run universities.
Another debate that has emerged is that are high marks in board exams do justice to ability of students? Many a students that score very high marks in board exams, are unable to apply themselves. It has been a common complaint that despite so many students coming out of academic institutes, there is shocking lack of innovators and original thinkers. Does this mean, our education has become mostly a memorising exercise? Is there no scope for application?
I was watching a program on TV about high grades in our board examinations.
i. Most panelists agreed that our education system is rote learning.
ii. It is also agreed that beyond a certain point more than the grades it is the application of knowledge that becomes important. Even students agree, grades open doors but beyond entry point one has to survive on their ability.
iii. In a country like India where seat to applicant ration can be as high as 1 to 100, some degree of objectivity in marking is must to avoid arbitrary decision making.
iv. Many students from under privileged background have found access to higher education through current education system.
Society has a way of looking at students and their parents through a prism of grades, schools, colleges and jobs. Many people who have stood up to societal pressure and found their own drummers, have become successful. But most of us do not find our inner calling. We do not know what we like? We enter courses which we do not like, our parents may like them based on their assessment of success in life, yet continue with them.
Ideally, we should follow what we like to do in life. Many of us do not develop many hobbies, many do not read books beyond course work, most of us are really horrible in our soft skills. No wonder, we do not produce likes of Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and others. I guess, there should be emphasis on application rather than rote learning. There is should be some emphasis of awareness of outside world, of literature, philosophy and softer aspect of life. What good is a professional with 100% marks in hard science but totally corrupt because of lack of value system?
- Ideally, humans should be stopped from encroaching in forests and animal territories. Rising population of humans in India is the real problem. Population control of humans is a distant dream and may not happen in short term. More so when politicians believe population is an asset.
- Compensating a farmer in a speedy manner for loss of cattle and farm produce may be an option. But in our country government machinery works slowly. Many farmers may find it is easy to kill animal than extract compensation from government.
- Animals stray into human settlement in search of food and in the face of depleting forest cover. Approaches like use of energised fences or digging trenches have not really been very successful.
- Connect different reserve forests and create corridors for passage of animals from one forest to another. This may minimise animals straying into human settlements.
- In some developed countries, highways that pass through reserve forests are elevated with tunnels underneath for passage of animals. In India, trains passing through reserve forests run over animals. Though situation has improved greatly in Rajaji National park but trend continues in other parts of the country.
- Create awareness and sensitivity about human animal conflict. Indians are reasonably tolerant about any life form. Still when livelihood is threatened, people may lose sense of balance.
- Sterilisation of animals may be a good option. It is done regularly on stray dogs in some Indian cities. But who will sterilise a bull elephant or a lion?
- In a state like Himachal Pradesh which has almost 50% forest cover still see monkey menace. Monkeys attack humans for food, often bite people and create nuisance in general. Depleting habitat may not be a problem here. Easily availability of food in cities may be bigger problem. It is advisable not to feed wild animals, dispose garbage scientifically without dumping it in the open. Practice of such civic sense may be hard to expect in India.
Animal right activists too must exhibit a balanced view between human and animal rights. I recently heard a noted animal activists lamenting how hungry monkey mothers have to carry their babies when they go searching food. She forgot to mention that monkeys have been doing this since eternity. They do not leave their babies in a creche when they go out to work.
In the evening, I came back to the same junction. This time I was to go to a different zone. As our canter came out in open, we saw people from another zone peering into a bush. A sambhar deer was barking at a distance. Guide said there is tiger. We even saw a tiger under the tree. But it entered a bush nearby and became invisible. Occasionally, we would hear it pulling something. Some time we would see its tail thrashing. But tiger was no where to be see.