Archive for July, 2011

Perhaps time for us to take a long hard look at our current notion of capitalism…

July 13, 2011

Scary isn’t it… that ‘The Development Set’ penned 35 years ago still manages to paint a near perfect picture of the situation that faces us today. With the failure of aid organizations and the erosion of trust in the various arms of the capitalistic juggernaut led by large banks and corporations in solving the world’s most pressing issues around poverty, education, healthcare and human rights, it is perhaps time for us to take a long hard look at our current notion of capitalism…

Amplify’d from www.owen.org

The Development Set
by Ross Coggins

Excuse me, friends, I must catch my jet
I’m off to join the Development Set;
My bags are packed, and I’ve had all my shots
I have traveller’s checks and pills for the trots!

The Development Set is bright and noble
Our thoughts are deep and our vision global;
Although we move with the better classes
Our thoughts are always with the masses.

In Sheraton Hotels in scattered nations
We damn multi-national corporations;
injustice seems easy to protest
In such seething hotbeds of social rest.

We discuss malnutrition over steaks
And plan hunger talks during coffee breaks.
Whether Asian floods or African drought,
We face each issue with open mouth.

We bring in consultants whose circumlocution
Raises difficulties for every solution –
Thus guaranteeing continued good eating
By showing the need for another meeting.

The language of the Development Set
Stretches the English alphabet;
We use swell words like “epigenetic”
“Micro”, “macro”, and “logarithmetic”

It pleasures us to be esoteric –
It’s so intellectually atmospheric!
And although establishments may be unmoved,
Our vocabularies are much improved.

When the talk gets deep and you’re feeling numb,
You can keep your shame to a minimum:
To show that you, too, are intelligent
Smugly ask, “Is it really development?”

Or say, “That’s fine in practice, but don’t you see:
It doesn’t work out in theory!”
A few may find this incomprehensible,
But most will admire you as deep and sensible.

Development set homes are extremely chic,
Full of carvings, curios, and draped with batik.
Eye-level photographs subtly assure
That your host is at home with the great and the poor.

Enough of these verses – on with the mission!
Our task is as broad as the human condition!
Just pray god the biblical promise is true:
The poor ye shall always have with you.

Adult Education and Development” September 1976

Read more at www.owen.org

 

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Lowering the bar…

July 2, 2011

280,000 engineering seats in AP and only 95,000 were filled last year. Lowering standards seems to be the way forward to sustain the colleges. Please spare a thought to the rest of us who will be serviced by this lot of engineers!

Amplify’d from www.deccanchronicle.com

AICTE lowers cut-off for tech courses

The All India Council for Technical Education has reduced the cut-off marks in Intermediate for admissions to engineering courses, bowing to pressure from several states, including Andhra Pradesh.

It has brought down cut-off marks in 10+2 to 45 per cent for students from open category and to 40 per cent for reserved category students.

The AICTE had in January made it mandatory for students in the open category to secure 50 per cent marks in 10+2 group subjects (maths, physics and chemistry), and 45 per cent marks for students from reserved categories, in order to improve standards in engineering education.

However, several states have opposed the move, arguing that it will prevent students from studying engineering, particularly those from reserved categories and rural areas.

To date, getting pass marks (35 per cent) in the Intermediate was enough for a student to get admission in BE, B.Tech courses, apart from securing 25 per cent marks in Eamcet.

For students from scheduled castes and scheduled tribes, even a ‘zero’ in the Eamcet would fetch them BE, B.Tech seats if they managed to pass Intermediate.

This has led to a deterioration of standards in engineering colleges. The state currently has 2.8 lakh engineering seats of which 95,000 seats remained vacant last year.

Read more at www.deccanchronicle.com