Saturday, April 27, 2013

Kerala- withering away of an educated society

By D.Dhanuraj

This year also, as per the custom, Minister of Education announced SSLC examination results in Kerala. He announced the results and took the credits away from his counter parts of the previous years for the highest pass percentage in the history," 94.17%". 
Looks like 100 meters race where the studies have shown that the world record in 100 m would be difficult to be broken as it might be a humanly impossible task. But at times, I tend to think that in Kerala, SSLC results may even touch 100 % unlike the impossible 100 meters sprint record. But then, what would be the implications of such a record breaking pass percentage?

I see a Tsunami waiting for Kerala in another 4 to 5 years. It would be largely because Kerala is producing a dishonest new generation who does not believe in merit as a virtue. Passing SSLC through learning is no more their concern, its a matter of pride for the Minister of Education and he will do his best to make sure that he announces the highest pass percentage every year.

I don't believe in the figure 94.17. I dare to challenge; how many of these students know how to read and write in Malayalam? How many of them know the elementary Arithmetic

The political leadership find their satisfaction in the highest percentage they attribute to SSLC results every year. I am surprised when Education Minister himself announces SSLC results every year as a ritual. Why should he? I strongly believe that we are over emphasizing on SSLC exams results by the similar kinds of actions mentioned above. In fact, if that was the case, it would have been the Union HRD Minister to announce CBSE and Prime Minister to announce UPSE results!! 

Kerala Government should be proud of producing NASA scientists and not SSLC pass percentage.

What is the end result of such a poor policy of generating high pass percentages? Merit and dishonesty are the values inculcated in the future generations. They become lazy and expect freebies and moderation from the State every time. Though these are the long term impacts, there are immediate end result in the higher education. 

Having 134 Engineering Colleges in Kerala, everyone will be aspiring to become an engineer. In this case, most of the engineering students in these colleges would end up either failing in the exams or grab a B.Tech degree even without minimum high school qualification. 

This will show the engineering stream of Kerala in a poor light. This will have an impact on the long term survival and sustainability of the private engineering colleges. 

The society may lose their interest in these colleges and that will compel them to shut down these shops. Most of the engineering colleges in that scenario may become Beer Parlors and hotels. This would be the case with other educational institutions in higher education. 

The economy and market revolving around these higher education institutions will burst

Teachers in all the categories will suffer as they struggle to get equipped to teach the future generations. Many among the teachers themselves would not be the fit for the profession as they belong to the 95 % pass percentage category mentioned above. 

Private companies will not recruit from Kerala as they find only misfits here. This will have a negative impact on the investments in Kerala. 

Keralites going abroad for jobs will shrink as they will be incompetent on job. This will have a serious repercussion in the remittance economy that has sustained Kerala for many decades. There will be a distorted market of the skilled, semi skilled and unskilled professionals from Kerala finding it difficult to living up to the reputation of the past.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Labhaprabha –The Illusion???

By Mary Honey, Research Associate, CPPR

I am not a typical cynic who always opposes new government initiates by providing false and useless statements. But sometimes I have raised questions to get a clear cut answer. I was wondering the durability of the efforts done by the ‘most efficient’ Kerala State Electricity Board in bringing out the new initiatives for energy conservation.
Recently on 23rd March 2013 the Kerala State Electricity Board switched to “Labhaprabha” the brand new name set up for its energy conservation scheme which lasts till 31st May through its first phase. This scheme which was meant for domestic consumers, guaranteed gifts and other incentives for saving electricity. The first step towards participating in the scheme was to get oneself registered. For this one need to send the SMS with the following details ,KSEB <space> Section code <space> Consumer number to 9287088808.The participant will immediately be informed of his/her average consumption through SMS and phase by phase instructions as to when meter readings should be taken and tips for saving energy send through SMS. If the consumer wins prizes, he/she will be intimated via SMS.
The energy credits programme is proposed to address all 85 lakh domestic consumers in the State. Half of the earnings made through savings under the scheme will either be returned to consumer or rewards of equivalent value made available to him/her. The KSEB declared rewards for up to Rs2 crore as part of the Labha Prabha campaign These include 50,000 compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) bulbs every week, solar lamps for every 1,000 consumers, table lamps, light emitting diode (LED) tubes and bulbs, water heaters, and T-5 tube lights. The bumper prize will be in the form of a 1-kilowatt (KW) solar installation (Rs1.25 crore) for the first 100 consumers who make maximum energy savings.
The KSEB is also launching another campaign - ‘No Loadshedding Campaign’ under which consumer groups like residents’ associations can escape from the loadshedding by saving electricity. Places coming under any of the KSEB feeders will be exempted from power restrictions if consumption is reduced by at least 10 per cent.
Statistics shows that 8532111 domestic consumers comes under this scheme, 1221370 domestic consumers are out of this scheme because of bad meter ,while 1177276 and 44094 single phase meter and 3phase meter respectively  does not work. This is also a major issue to be addressed along with this scheme and campaign.
Conditions like weather extremes, size of family, change in living habit, use of old or defective appliances etc influence the high consumption of electricity in every household. While, these are some of the factors that are not under the control of KSEB, the Board need to proactively engage in its duty of distributing power. People in Kerala are already facing power disruption for 2 hours daily with prior information from KSEB and without information many a times in between the day; owing to lack of pro-activeness and planning.
But is this camouflaging the inefficiencies of KSEB? It is the responsibility of the government to provide electricity as per demand for reasonable price. But it seems like we are all extravagant in misusing the power KSEB providing us for free. Needless to say the KSEB fail’s to plan and supply according to consumer requirements needs. Just compare the developmental projects/malls/industries that was set up in the state within last 5 years, and can see the gigantic boost that transformed the state into a commercial center. These developments and its related issues like shortage of electricity should have been foreseen by the KSEB and must adopt the required strategies to rise above the concern.
Though Kerala gets abundant rainfall every year, the state cannot wholly depend on hydro electric projects as during summer, water in dams and reservoirs will get dried up and generators will not work. Maybe ‘Right to Electricity’ can be seen effective if the state monopoly of electricity is been privatized! Electricity for every household will be inclusive only if KSEB would be able to provide ample electricity (Though it should not be KSEB all the time). The government must encourage with the new innovative ideas and solutions from the private parties for solving the energy crisis and thus can put an end to the KSEB model of solving energy crisis by providing free ‘ power cuts’ all the day