Thursday, 5 March 2009

Criminal Schooling

It has been in the news for last couple of months. The issue of a school in Dubai, which raised its fee structure to more than 90 percent and the parents' ongoing agitation over it and the various outcry which followed it.

The institution belongs to Sunny Varkey, owner of the GEMS group of schools, which run around 30 schools in UAE alone, including some upcoming ones, apart from multi-speciality hospitals and other things.

They have arbitrarily raised the fees in almost all their schools and raised it to astounding levels in this particular school. And naturally, the parents are agitated. No wonder. The reason cited for the rise is that this school would be relocated to a more spacious location and with more amenities. Education of course implies basic amenities, everywhere, but definitely it is not amenities that count, but rather, education, itself, for which GEMS and its schools were and are always way behind. But in pickpocketing the parents, there were and are in the forefront. This Sunny Varkey, incidentally was one of the recipients of Padmasri, a top civilian honour bestowed by Government of India to, mostly their most favoured pied pipers. Exceptions do occur sometimes.

According to the new structure introduced, over a period of two years starting from 2009, a KG 1 student who presently pays AED 14,094 per annum would end up paying AED 26,770 p.a. and a student who is in his/her matriculation trauma, would have to pay AED 35,920 in place of the present tuition fees of AED 18,908/-.

KHDA (Knowledge and Human Development Authority), the authority supervising the educational policies and matters of Dubai had been acting blind towards GEMS and their schools, for a long period. Even when last year when, KHDA had set 16% fee limit for schools in Dubai, and that too under strict conditions, GEMS had managed to sidestep it under many pretences and the fee hike was initiated by none other than GEMS, noted for their greed and stubborn profit motives. Dubai rulers have a soft corner towards this instituion, as some of them themselves were products of GEMS' parent school long back during 60s, and had gained their education from Varkey's aprents for a humble fees of 25 indian rupees. But that does'nt give a school or anyother institution to bypass law and launch daylight robbery as per one's own whims. Now, yesterday KHDA had come up with a ruling that it " refused an arbitrary increase in tuition fees by Dubai Modern High School if it decided to stay on in the current premises". This method would suit a police justifying or abetting a robber, rather than a state educational authority responsible for the future of children. It would be more better if KHDA stops this educational regulating business once for all and dive into Dubai's more lucrative business, that is real estate, another synonym for utter greed and manipulation. Perhaps KHDA allowed all this mess for the 27 million US$, which Varkey had pledged for Dubai Care programme. Art of favouring each other.

Now, come to parents. I cannot stand with them either. When good education on a much cheaper fees level is available in the Emirates, they chose the most expensive one befitting their own snobbish class character. They wanted their children to be different from others. Of course, no harm in that. Every parent secretly cherish that stupidity. But these parents thought that, paying more money for their education would make them and their kids a different breed. Yes, it would. As misfits. They never bother to learn that expensive education seldom make bright students. Social exclusiveness beget other more awkward things in young minds. If they can afford to pay one hundred thousand dirhams (convert it to our poor rupee) for 2 kids per annum, then why not they pay much more? In return, their kids might get a more hygenic swimming pool or a golf club or a racing course even minus what the one thing what they were sent for.

Padmasri crooks gets away with their daily plunder, fat-salaried snobberies wail over their minor losses and authorities look the other way. A global festival scenario for us, the Dubaites. Meanwhile the great questions of social responsbility of education, governments duties, deplorable mis-ethics of building-up two type of future citizens and etc. remain unanswered, uncared.

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Trial of a celebrity slumdog

Binayak Sen's trial has started. We dont know whether he would be acquitted or charged. But, considering the criminal nexus which binds the country's executive and legislative systems, it is natural if one fear that the judiciary too would easily be forced to toe the same line.

This is one of the state (alongwith Jharkhand, Andhra and tohers) which is being showcased by the Indian elite as infested by the naxalites (read, the terrorists). This is one of the state which possess immense natural wealth in the form of minerals. This is one of the states targetted by some of the most greedy multinational as well as domestic corporates for their unrelenting plunder. This is one of the state, which, despite its underground wealth, remains also an underdeveloped and malnourished one. This is one of the state where tribals are in majority and are continuously bullied and made subservient to the 'babus'.

Such a state cannot be expected without having its own share of subaltern uprisings. And that is what exactly happens in there. And then our Indian elite and media showcase this state (alongwith a few others like Jharkhand, Andhra and Madhya Pradesh) as infested by naxalites (read, the terrorists). For them, Salwa Judum is not terror. But Naxalites and Maoists are. And anybody who is suspected of having some or other connection with them are put behind bars and justice denied to them. Binayak is going through that fate. Unlike us, he had made it clear that he has trust in the system. Don't know where it comes from. And unlike us all, he was not wasting his time. He was serving up among tribals. He is a celebrity known all over. He is a dedicated health practitioner. State and judiciary openly spits on the face of democratic and human rights. Of course, we have all the right to tell United States to go to hell, when they preach about human right violations in our country. Their record is definitely a thousand fold worse than us. But let us not compete with them for that record.

Labels: , ,