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Today’s Talk on Editorials November 17, 2017- Civils360

ASEAN Outreach- The Hindu

Background: The Association of Southeast Asian Nations(ASEAN)is a regional intergovernmental organisation comprising ten Southeast Asian states which promotes Pan-Asianism and intergovernmental cooperation and facilitates economic, political, military, educational and cultural integration amongst its members and Asian states. India’s focus on a strengthened and multi-faceted relationship with ASEAN is an outcome of the significant changes in the world’s political and economic scenario since the early 1990’s and India’s own march towards economic liberalisation. India’s search for economic space resulted in the ‘Look East Policy’. It is since reoriented to ‘Act East Policy’ with comprehensive strategic, economic dimensions.

  •  India has recently attended the East Asia Summit, RCEP leaders’ meeting, ASEAN Business meeting. It shows India’s commitment to deepening ties with the ASEAN member states and the wider Indo-Pacific region as part of the ‘Act East’ policy.
  • With geopolitical importance shifting to Indo-Pacific region, it is important for countries like India to have a stake in the long-term stability of the region.
  • P.M.  of India underlined  importance of  ASEAN as a key pillar of its foreign policy. Referring to India’s Act East Policy,  P.M.  of India underlined that ASEAN is  central in the regional security architecture of the Indo-Pacific region.
  • Thus, it is vital for India to have a greater cooperation with ASEAN countries. India already has FTA with ASEAN states and is widening its outreach by its membership in RCEP as well.
  •  India’s service-oriented economy perfectly complements the manufacturing-based economies of ASEAN countries. It is evident with the Make Outside India initiative to have efficient manufacturing. There is however, more scope of cooperation.
  • India and ASEAN have to combine and cooperate to nullify the security challenges and bring in regional stability. India’s aspirations for a peaceful periphery is important to have a major stake in the region.
  • The measures that need to be implemented in the future thus includes  becoming  beneficial strategic partner of ASEAN by boosting its domestic economic reforms agenda, enhancing connectivity within the region like IMT highway, and increasing its presence in regional institutions like BIMSTEC.

 Upgrading Public Education System- Livemint

Background: Indian universities do not make it to the top 200 universities published by the Times Higher Education (THE) and Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings. Also, the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER), 2016, states that less than 75% of Class VIII students in rural Maharashtra can read a Class II text. The problem of quality education is not confined to poor accessibility and quality of tertiary education, rather it is a result of inadequate primary education. Upgrading our public education system is thus very important to improve quality, we must not rely on private education alone to meet the targets.

  • World Bank’s World Development Report outlines growing private scholl enrollment as one of the  immediate challenges of quality education. Families have been turning to private schools since they feel that they deliver better education, especially when public schooling itself is not fully free. India too fails to provide free secondary public education.
  • Report highlights that research across 40 countries finds no difference in the learning outcomes of children with similar family backgrounds in both public and private schools. Private schools appear better since they enroll children from relatively advantaged backgrounds who are able to pay, not because they deliver better quality.
  • This questions the basic perception of a family that private institutions are  far ahead of the public educational institutions. Instead they are just as culpable for the poor educational standards globally.
  • To improve quality,steps must be taken to ensure children come to school prepared to learn, teachers have the skills and motivation to teach effectively, inputs reach classrooms and management and governance systems are strengthened in schools that serve the poorest.
  • The long-term solution lies in strengthening the public education system in its complexity and ensuring that all of India’s children receive quality education. On a short term, private sector institutions have to be regulated with a fee control legislation and mandatory provisions to improve the basic infrastructure as well.
  • New Education Policy is set to be unveiled  in December 2017 after Kasturirangan Committee submits its final recommendations.It has to address the key concerns and should focus on equity in quality—ensuring universal access to free, quality, equitable and safe public education for all of India’s young citizens.