April 06, 2020
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Education: The Secular Culpability

We carried a piece by Prof Pervez Hoodbhoy on the state of higher education in Pakistan yesterday. And if anyone thought that the situation in India was A-Okay, here is a reminder from Pratap Bhanu Mehta, writing in the Indian Express, as if on cue, and underlining once again how the news gets consistently worse in higher education and how there are far wider complicities than just one or two ministers. The problem, as he points out, is not just reservation, excessive government control but, behind all this, what routinely gets swept under the carpet: 

...politician turned educational entrepreneurs that have the greatest vested interest in blocking competition. A bad public system and high entry barriers benefits these entrepreneurs the most. They are also, because of political connections, very adept at navigating the licence permit raj of the state, something that would deter the most formidable genuine education entrepreneur

So much of the communalisation of politics is directly linked to state arbitrariness in education. The sense amongst many institutions that they are denied basic rights of freedom of association and trade in education that are made available to so-called minority institutions has fuelled immense resentment. 

But sometimes it is our secular friends’ idolatry of state power that is more worrying than the false gods of the fanatics. For nowhere in this new demand is the slightest acknowledgment that the deep communal crisis we have has its roots in the fact that small cabals of Left intellectuals so controlled narratives of history that an open and frank discussion of complex historical issues became impossible. The state of West Bengal decimated its education system by thinking of it as a handmaiden of ideology; and yet there is deep communal tension simmerin

Education: The Secular Culpability
outlookindia.com
1970-01-01T05:30:00+0530

We carried a piece by Prof Pervez Hoodbhoy on the state of higher education in Pakistan yesterday. And if anyone thought that the situation in India was A-Okay, here is a reminder from Pratap Bhanu Mehta, writing in the Indian Express, as if on cue, and underlining once again how the news gets consistently worse in higher education and how there are far wider complicities than just one or two ministers. The problem, as he points out, is not just reservation, excessive government control but, behind all this, what routinely gets swept under the carpet: 

...politician turned educational entrepreneurs that have the greatest vested interest in blocking competition. A bad public system and high entry barriers benefits these entrepreneurs the most. They are also, because of political connections, very adept at navigating the licence permit raj of the state, something that would deter the most formidable genuine education entrepreneur

So much of the communalisation of politics is directly linked to state arbitrariness in education. The sense amongst many institutions that they are denied basic rights of freedom of association and trade in education that are made available to so-called minority institutions has fuelled immense resentment. 

But sometimes it is our secular friends’ idolatry of state power that is more worrying than the false gods of the fanatics. For nowhere in this new demand is the slightest acknowledgment that the deep communal crisis we have has its roots in the fact that small cabals of Left intellectuals so controlled narratives of history that an open and frank discussion of complex historical issues became impossible. The state of West Bengal decimated its education system by thinking of it as a handmaiden of ideology; and yet there is deep communal tension simmering under the surface there, as in Kerala.

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