THE HINDU EDITORIAL : JULY 13, 2018
THE HINDU EDITORIAL : JULY 13, 2018
THE HINDU EDITORIAL – July 13, 2018 is one of the must read for the competitive exams like SBI PO Mains , SBI CLERK Mains Exam, BOB PO Manipal Online Exam. These topics are widely expected to be asked in the reading comprehension , Cloze Test or in Error Detection topics in the forthcoming exams. So gear up for your Exam preparation and learn new words daily.
a) Moon shine: on India-South Korea ties
That South Korean President Moon Jae-in undertook a four-day visit to India this week, when there is hectic diplomacy over the Korean peninsula, speaks of his commitment to improving bilateral ties. In fact, during his election campaign last year he had promised to raise bilateral ties to the level of South Korea’s relations with what it calls the four major powers: the U.S., Russia, China and Japan. Prime Minister Narendra Modi too has often said he sees South Korea as a significant partner for India, and had travelled to Seoul. But despite the personal touch, and ambitions to align India’s Act East policy with Korea’s New Southern Policy, ties have drifted for lack of focus. Trade, at $20 billion, is a fraction of the potential, given that India and South Korea are Asia’s third and fourth largest economies. This figure has been a cause for worry, as the two countries had hit the $20-billion mark in 2011 after the signing of the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement. The large trade deficit in South Korea’s favour has led India to be wary of further opening up. In turn, Korean companies cite problems in doing business in India, despite a special “Korea Plus” desk set up by the Prime Minister’s Office in 2015. Tourism between the two countries has always been low, and strategically both New Delhi and Seoul are preoccupied with tensions in their immediate neighbourhoods and ties with the big world powers than with each other. On Mr. Moon’s watch, this may change. Both Mr. Modi and he exuded a sense of purpose and there is a clear road map on converging interests. Agreement to invoke the “early harvest” clause in the 2010 CEPA will allow both to do away with tariffs in 11 areas, benefiting Indian seafood exporters and food processing units, as well as South Korean petrochemical companies. The inauguration of Samsung’s biggest mobile factory in Noida will bring investment and create jobs in India. More Korean companies should be persuaded to invest, by projecting a counter-narrative to the failed bid by the steel company Posco to set up its plant in Odisha. Much will depend on negotiations on the regional free trade agreement, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership. On the strategic front, India has asserted its place as a “stakeholder” in the Korean peace process, while South Korea has for the first time shown an interest in talking about an Indo-Pacific policy. In the short term, a symbolic token towards shared interests will be seen in a joint “capacity-building” programme in Afghanistan. At a time when U.S. foreign policy is capricious and unpredictable, and China’s is making purposeful moves towards global domination, it is important that the South Korea-India partnership grows and consolidates, to contribute to stability in the region.
b) A list of questionable eminence
The government’s list of ‘Institutes of Eminence’ (IoEs) was waited for the simple reason that finding a place in it would help an educational institution avoid the clutches of a dreaded regulator. Regulators are meant to ensure that we have a socially desirable outcome but in the case of higher education in India, the opposite seems to have happened. The University Grants Commission (UGC) has, over more than half a century, micromanaged this space, leading to a large number of publicly funded universities, producing low-level ‘knowledge’, which have shattered the aspirations of our youth. Aware of the public anger at the functioning of the UGC, two governments in the past decade have tried to revamp the regulatory environment for higher education. The latest offering is in the form of a proposed Higher Education Commission of India (HECI). The intention is to leave the HECI to focus on quality while leaving funding of public institutions to the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD).
Engagement with ideas
This arrangement has raised the issue of the possibility of bias, leading to concerns that the government may use its discretion to reward institutions according to its ideological predilections. While this is an ever-present hazard in a democracy, one cannot in principle object to an institutional arrangement whereby an elected government exercises its right to allocate funds. One can only pressure it to be impartial and accountable in its actions. In higher education, one would imagine that this accountability would be manifested in enabling the pursuit of excellence. It is not as if excellence is difficult to identify, even if it may be impossible to measure. In the world of ideas, excellence lies in the ability to participate as an equal in the global knowledge commons. The emphasis here must be on engagement; it is not necessary that institutions should produce knowledge in every field or that its members abide by every idea and protocol in the fields chosen. Whether the criterion of equal engagement is met by the majority of our universities is a moot question. This could be a high-priority issue for the proposed HECI. However, even as we wonder if the HECI is going to be more than just old wine in a new bottle, we have an inkling of where it could go wrong. The government has chosen a total of six institutions — three public and three private — for the IOE status. The public institutions are: the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru; and the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) at Delhi and Mumbai. The private ones are: the Birla Institute of Technology and Science (BITS), Pilani; the Jio Institute; and the Manipal Academy of Higher Education. The list suffers from a serious lack of credibility as the most obvious question that arises is: Where are the universities?
Ignoring the universities
Universities by definition embody knowledge across a wide range of disciplines. While the early European universities started as academies of the arts, they soon had medicine and astronomy as areas that they pursued with vigour. The emphasis was on depth of knowledge across a broad horizon. Somewhere along the line, we seem to have lost this breadth and come to revel in a landscape dominated by engineering schools. These engineering schools, notably the IITs, have done us proud but cannot be equated with the great universities of the world for the simple reason that they are focussed on a narrow domain. Also, if the idea behind preparing a list of the IoEs is giving them greater autonomy and enhanced financial support, it must be acknowledged that until very recently, the IITs were not meddled with; neither were they starved of resources. The IISc’s scope is of course broader than that of the IITs but it does not embrace the social sciences and the humanities, the presence of which would be considered necessary for an institution to be considered a university. Assuming that an IoE list is needed, the absence of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) from the present list striking. If, as I mentioned earlier, the possibility offered by a university for engagement with global ideas is accepted as a criterion, the JNU would count as among India’s eminent educational institutions. One need not agree with any of the political ideas emanating from the university to recognise that if there is one Indian institution that engages a student as an equal in the global commons, it is the JNU. Its research work in various disciplines, ranging from history to economics, is top-quality. Its faculty have brought many of the world’s leading ideas to Indian students and also come close to building a new school of thought. It is not as if similar efforts have not occurred elsewhere in India but JNU has perhaps sustained its reputation as a university for longer. It would require a scientist assess the contribution made by the JNU to the sciences, but it may be noted that it has had schools of Computer Science and the Life Sciences for many decades, right from the time when they were just nascent disciplines in the country. The choice of the three private institutions that made the cut is as surprising as the exclusion of JNU. While BITS Pilani made significant contribution to the country at a time when it desperately needed engineers, it still doesn’t have the breadth of disciplines to be considered a university.
However, the presence of the two other institutions on the list leaves one nonplussed. One of them, we are told, has been conferred the status solely on grounds of its promise, a dubious position to take as it has little to show but for the financial heft that will surely undergird it. The other is known largely for its practice of charging capitation fees. Eminence is not usually understood in terms of money. So where does this leave us? Even before the HECI is a reality, we can get an overview of what to expect when such a limited approach to education guides the hand of the state. While there may be no political partisanship involved in the matter of finding eminence only in engineering schools, the choices do reflect short-sightedness when the social sciences and the humanities are completely ignored. It is indeed conceivable that the politicians who govern us have little time to bother with the constitution of committees. But then, we do maintain a machinery of government, at considerable expense, to advise the Cabinet. In this episode of drawing up a list of IoEs, we are able to see what will determine whether the HECI can make a difference. Its membership will matter more than the institutional architecture governing higher education in India.
Meaning: Full of incessant or frantic activity.
Example: “a hectic business schedule”
Synonyms: Frantic, Furious
Antonyms: Leisurely, Quiet
Meaning: A strong desire to do or achieve something.
Example: “her ambition was to become a pilot”
Synonyms: Aspiration, Intention
Meaning: (of a person or their attention) digress or stray to another subject.
Example: “I noticed my audience’s attention drifting”
Synonyms: Digress, Depart
Meaning: (of a matter or subject) dominate or engross the mind of (someone) to the exclusion of other thoughts.
Example: “his mother was preoccupied with paying the bills”
Meaning: (of a person) display (an emotion or quality) strongly and openly.
Example: “Sir Thomas exuded goodwill”
Synonyms: Emanate, Radiate
Meaning: Induce (someone) to do something through reasoning or argument.
Example: “it wasn’t easy, but I persuaded him to do the right thing”
Synonyms: Make, Get
Antonyms: Dissuade, Discourage
Meaning: Cause others to recognize (one’s authority or a right) by confident and forceful behaviour.
Example: “the good librarian is able to assert authority when required”
Synonyms: Uphold, Defend
Meaning: Changing according to no discernible rules; unpredictable.
Example: “a capricious climate”
Synonyms: Variable, Unstable
Antonyms: Stable, Consistent
Meaning: Strengthen (one’s position or power).
Example: “the company consolidated its position in the international market”
Synonyms: Strengthen, Tighten
Meaning: A small group of people or things.
Example: “a clutch of brightly painted holiday homes”
Synonyms: Group, Collection
Meaning: Regarded with great fear or apprehension.
Example: “the dreaded news came that Joe had been wounded”
Meaning: Control every part, however small, of (an enterprise or activity).
Example: “he did not want to give the impression that he was micromanaging the war”
Meaning: Damage or destroy (something abstract).
Example: “the crisis will shatter their confidence”
Synonyms: Destroy, Wreck
Meaning: Give new and improved form, structure, or appearance to.
Example: “an attempt to revamp the museum’s image”
Synonyms: Renovate, Redecorate
Meaning: A thing intended; an aim or plan.
Example: “she was full of good intentions”
Synonyms: Aim, Intent
Meaning: The freedom to decide what should be done in a particular situation.
Example: “local authorities should use their discretion in setting the charges”
Synonyms: Option, Judgement
Meaning: A preference or special liking for something; a bias in favour of something.
Example: “your predilection for pretty girls”
Synonyms: Liking, Preference
Antonyms: Dislike, Disinclination
Meaning: A danger or risk.
Example: “the hazards of childbirth”
Synonyms: Danger, Risk
Meaning: Treating all rivals or disputants equally.
Example: “the minister cannot be impartial in the way that a judge would be”
Synonyms: Unbiased, Objective
Antonyms: Biased, Partisan
Meaning: Be evidence of; prove.
Example: “bad industrial relations are often manifested in strikes”
Synonyms: Evidence, Indicate
Antonyms: Mask, Deny
21) Abide by
Meaning: To accept or obey an agreement, decision, or rule.
Example: Competitors must abide by the judge’s decision.
Meaning: Subject to debate, dispute, or uncertainty.
Example: “whether the temperature rise was mainly due to the greenhouse effect was a moot point”
Synonyms: Debatable, Doubtful
Meaning: Effort, energy, and enthusiasm.
Example: “they set about the new task with vigour”
Synonyms: Hardiness, Robustness
Antonyms: Weakness, Lethargy
Meaning: Gain great pleasure from (a situation).
Example: “Bill said he was secretly revelling in his new-found fame”
Synonyms: Adore, Appreciate
Meaning: Handle (something) without permission.
Example: “you have no right to come in here meddling with my things”
Synonyms: Interfere, Intrude
Meaning: Deprive of something necessary.
Example: “the arts are being starved of funds”
Meaning: Include or contain (something) as a constituent part.
Example: “his career embraces a number of activities—composing, playing, and acting”
Synonyms: Include, Contain
Meaning: Originate from; be produced by.
Example: “the proposals emanated from a committee”
Synonyms: Proceed, Emerge
Meaning: Strengthen or support physically or mentally.
Example: “this thought had sustained him throughout the years”
Synonyms: Comfort, Assist
Antonyms: Torment, Plague
Meaning: (especially of a process or organization) just coming into existence and beginning to display signs of future potential.
Example: “the nascent space industry”
Meaning: Used to emphasize the extreme degree of something.
Example: “he desperately needed a drink”
Synonyms: Seriously, Severely
Meaning: So surprised and confused that one is unsure how to react.
Example: “Henry looked completely nonplussed”
Synonyms: Stun, Surprise
Meaning: Grant (a title, degree, benefit, or right).
Example: “the Minister may have exceeded the powers conferred on him by Parliament”
Synonyms: Converse, Consult
Antonyms: Withhold, Remove
Meaning: Hesitating or doubting.
Example: “I was rather dubious about the whole idea”
Synonyms: Doubtful, Uncertain
Antonyms: Certain, Definite
Meaning: ability or influence.
Example: “they lacked the political heft to get the formulation banned”
Meaning: Provide support or a firm basis for.
Example: “that’s a philosophy that needs to undergird retailers’ business plans this year”
Meaning: Lack of imagination or foresight.
Example: “the policy is flawed by its extreme short-sightedness”
Meaning: Capable of being imagined or grasped mentally.
Example: “a mass uprising was entirely conceivable”
Synonyms: Imaginable, Possible
39) Drawing up
Meaning: To prepare something, usually something official, in writing.
Example: I’ve drawn up a list of candidates that I’d like to interview.
Meaning: Conduct the policy, actions, and affairs of (a state, organization, or people) with authority.
Example: “he was incapable of governing the country”
Synonyms: Rule, Control
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