Saturday, September 26

A Pakistani bibliophile fulminates

Sort of hit the spot for me. I can appreciate Masood’s angst.

This is of course very interesting and explains largely why we have continued to turn and twist inwards into our little shells because we simply do not wish to read any books any more. It is not difficult to conduct your own little survey and find out how bad things are. I frequently ask aspiring youngsters, both males and females, from some of the best universities and colleges and prosperous backgrounds, the name of the last book they have read and invariably have been treated to a show as they have looked heavenward, scratched their heads and wrung their hands but the name of the book has simply eluded them. Amazing. The conversation having by then degraded to lower levels, the next probes are names of authors they can recall, (Keat is one, Shakis – Pir another) but mostly it is, ‘sorry I can’t remember.’ Any book they read some time back that they liked? And here too most often, there is a large blank and a shake of the head. Of course no one reads newspapers and invariably no newspapers ever come into their homes. As for magazines, perhaps one or two but here too, they are unable to recall names. And it is more or less the same story at the numerous dinners and GTs that Pakistanis specialize in. There is never any talk of any book and no one is prepared to broach the subject almost as if doing so would in turn lead to a major catastrophe. But here I exaggerate. I would say that the notion of discussing a book simply does not figure anywhere on the agenda of most Pakistanis.

Friday, September 25

Protesting against Health Care

These were taken by somebody at the various rallies protesting against the Obama Healthcare initiative.






The mind boggles. But the best was Morans :)

Sunday, September 20

Media Studies or Chemistry, which is easier?

Very interesting question and loads of data here. This graphic surprised me:

Saving money in the education system

Two political parties in the UK have pronounced on ways to save money in the education system. The Labour Party says that it can save up to £2bn by cutting thousands of senior staff and restraining pay. Here’s his proposal:

Mr Balls spoke of comprehensives merging to form federations, so a head teacher and a team of deputies would work across the different schools.

He estimated this option could save the department about £500m a year.

Another £250m could be saved by losing about 3,000 senior school jobs, mainly through "natural wastage", he said.

It was also likely more than 300 jobs in Whitehall which involve advising schools about the curriculum could go, he said.

Quite interesting and something that could actually work out. A federation of schools with good IT technology to work across the schools can work out. And yes, losing senior school jobs without replacement is a relatively good idea to save money and finally yes, definitely cut the damn bureaucrats.

The LibDems now are thinking about changing their promise to drop the tuition fees. I have made my views quite clear, primary and secondary education must be free, the state has a responsibility to have educated students. But tertiary education, in college and university, has to be made fee paying.

There is nothing in any form of logic which says that the taxpayers should pay for something that you personally as an individual will gain. And its a very highly regressive step. In effect, as a proportion of tax take, you are taking money from the lower strata to pay for somebody in the middle or upper strata to get educated. The middle and upper strata of the society can very well pay for their education, so in effect, the lower and poor people in this country are getting a double whammy.

Watch the left moan, but then, the left makes fleecing the poor into a master class while dressing it up as social justice. BAH!

But where are the ideas for improving the education system from the political parties? Where is the additional investment which we will actually require to improve the mathematics, the innovation, the science and technology, the pools of intelligent students? sighs, long way to go…