Alamgir Mosque, Allahabad, brickwalls, bureaucracy, Committee on Social Marketing and Career Guidance, DTET, English, inability, resistance to change, staff, structural reforms, Varanasi, Viswanath temple, VTA
but something ere the end,
Some work of noble note, may yet be done
Though we had achieved much with regard to structural reforms, I began to realize towards the end of 2016 that ensuring they were entrenched was another question. There was much resistance to change, and it became clear that the various institutions in the Ministry which had to implement the reforms were either unwilling, or unable, to take things forward.
This was most obvious with regard to the problem of English. As noted, I had found when I started work that the Department of Technical Education and Training had fewer than 50 permanent staff for the 39 colleges, in all of which English was supposed to be taught to most if not all students. I was assured that 18 more had been recruited, and would be in place in January, and that there would be 14 more in July. The 18 did turn up and were generally good, but the 14 did not appear and various excuses were offered as to why they could not be recruited. Instead the DTET managed with Visiting Instructors, some of whom were not at all willing to use the new books or the new methods prescribed. Instead they were quite happy to continue to inculcate the different tenses in all their forms, the traditional method of teaching grammar and thus destroying any interest in the language. Encouraging speech was quite beyond them.
The Vocational Training Authority was worse. To begin with they had only about 20 permanent staff, in their 245 centres, and half of these knew very little English, having earlier taught stenography, which does not really require a command of the language (incidentally, other stenographers, when that course was stopped, had been turned into cookery instructors, it obviously being assumed that, since they cooked at home, they would be able to train youngsters to work in the hospitality industry). Continue reading