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Undersanding Inter-Connections

Sudhanshu Bhushan

Edited by Karuna Chanana
Sage Publications, Delhi, 2004, pp. 355, Rs. 650.00

VOLUME XXIX NUMBER 10 October 2005

The organic growth of education calls for an understanding of “inner- connections” between, basic, secondary and higher education. Karuna Chanana explores the linkages between higher education and basic education. The linkages need to be understood in a historical context where the model of basic education i.e., education around life and skills of the learner was discarded in favour of an elementary schooling based on a “borrowed” (other than the learner) perception. At the same time the transformation of higher education was taking place from elite to mass, and in recent decades from public to private sector domination with wide ramifications on the effects and the roles and functions of the university system. The fundamental premise of the university as creator of knowledge and supporter of society and hence basic education through knowledge transformation still holds true. In more concrete terms the university system adds value to human resource supplied through basic education and secondary education stages. It supports basic education through teachers, training, research and extension services. Anything wrong with either system is bound to affect the other. Hence transformative links must be visited, revisited and built afresh to shape the future without creating any dichotomy or a hierarchy of basic and higher education.   The book has explored the links in different parts. Part 1 deals with the historical and contemporary overview. Karuna Chanana poses the central question relating to the non-achievement of universal elementary education and the role of higher education in directly or indirectly helping to improve basic education indicators. She proves the point with great concern that elementary education has been an area of relative neglect in higher education institutions both due to the mindset of the university academia to include elementary education in teaching, research and extension services and also due to the lack of bureaucratic support. She not only raises an alarm but also suggests the future directions of the links in the lead paper. Anil Bordia’s paper confirms the limited contribution of universities in supporting basic education. After tracing historically the links between basic and higher education he suggests that universities ‘ …can diagnose the real situation, they can train and empower teachers, they can help basic education to improve quality and they can infuse in the vast, unproductive system of basic education the energy of youth and enlightenment which can make all the difference.’ A.K. Jalaluddin in his paper elaborates the links ...

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