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Unformatted text preview: COMMENTARY Economic & Political Weekly EPW JUNE 26, 2010 vol xlv nos 26 & 27 29 his judgment pronounced on 28 Novem- ber 2007, justice S Ravindra Bhat noted …I cannot help in commenting on the ut- terly indefensible conduct of the University which show it in poor light. Conceived as a premier institution of higher learning with an international reputation, the defence put forth, by it, about futility of an enquiry against someone likely to be irreversibly prejudiced by its action, or even deny in- formation to him of its actions, is disquiet- ing at this point of time. Such a stand per- haps would have been considered proper in medieval times where the writ of a monarch could run unquestioned and his authority, accountable to none. That Vice Chancellor of the University has chosen to support such a stand and apparently ‘applied his mind’ is alarming to say the least. Justice Bhat continued: Sadly, the stark reality of caste prejudice has been highlighted in this case. There is no more justice where the victim and the oppressor are treated alike. As where the lion and the lamb are afforded the same treatment. That JNU has done so, betrays its callousness… He advised the university to admit A mritashva Kamal and ordered it to pay him within two weeks Rs 25,000 as cost of the proceedings. Incredibly – as a pointer to its attitude on caste – the JNU administration choose to challenge the judgment in the higher court and Amritashva Kamal is yet to find a place in the university. Panchayat Participation in Adult Literacy Programmes Tanu Shikha Arya The Saakshar Bharat Mission aims at 80% adult literacy and is to be implemented by gram panchayats. However, not only are these local bodies already heavily burdened with a multitude of roles and responsibilities, it is also a fallacy to presume that their members are adult literacy experts. While adult literacy is a non-formal exercise, the members of the committees to be constituted under this mission are to be drawn from the formal education system. These factors are bound to affect the functioning of this much needed scheme. O n International Literacy Day, 8 September 2009, Prime Mini- ster Manmohan Singh launched the Saakshar Bharat scheme of the Na- tional Literacy Mission Authority ( NLMA ). The Saakshar Bharat Mission ( SBM ) aims at 80% literacy 1 and reduction of regional, social and gender disparities in literacy rates by extending the coverage of the pro- gramme to the 15+ age group. The Human Resource Development ( HRD ) minister K apil Sibal announced in 2009 that “We aim to bring the country’s literacy level to 80% by 2017”. 2 The underlying assump- tion is that only the achievement of adult literacy can help India to meet the Educa- tion For All ( EFA ) goals within the next five-year plan. The Saakshar Bharat scheme a ttempts to cover seven crore non- literate adults, of whom six crore are women. Since illiteracy is far more wide- spread in the rural areas, the programme will concentrate on these areas, especially...
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