Indian Express Editorial Analysis- 28 February 2024

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Indian Express Editorial Analysis- 28 February 2024

1. Our burdened children

Topic: GS2 – Social Justice – Education
This analysis, which explores the societal effects of educational pressures on kids, parents, and teachers, is pertinent to both Prelims and Mains because it offers important background information for comprehending these larger social dynamics.

– The history of our nation is replete with instances of sporadic experimentation in the field of education.
– The open-book examination is the most recent experiment being examined. Although nothing new, the goal of its current implementation is to lessen the stress that students experience.
– Committees have been investigating this pressure for decades in an effort to determine its underlying causes.

The Persistent Problem of Educational Pressure: A Historical Perspective:

  • Attempts to address the problem of educational pressure in the past have failed.
  • A committee headed by the late Professor Yash Pal examined schoolchildren’s stress in the early 1990s.
  • The creation of this committee was prompted by novelist RK Narayan’s moving speech in the Rajya Sabha, which highlighted the daily struggles children faced as a result of their heavy school bags and copious amounts of homework.
  • The Yash Pal committee determined that a competitive social ethos fostered by schools, a faulty conception of knowledge, and inadequate curriculum design were among the systemic factors contributing to this pressure.

Evolution of the Problem: From Systemic Issues to New Challenges:

  • The educational landscape has seen advancements as well as setbacks over time.
  • Although there has been some progress with reforms in teacher education and the school curriculum, the COVID-19 pandemic has halted these efforts.
  • There are new challenges in the form of textbook deletions, a persistent teacher shortage, and the undefined effects of technology on education.
  • Students are under even more pressure due to the growth of technology-driven testing methods and the proliferation of coaching centres.

Pervasive Anxiety: A Shift in Educational Burden

  • The burden that was covered in the Yash Pal report has grown into a more widespread problem of anxiety that affects kids, parents, and teachers.
  • Pressure to succeed in traditional fields like engineering and medicine has increased due to uncertain economic times and fewer career options.
  • The testing landscape has changed due to the rise in popularity of coaching programmes and technology, which prioritises rote learning and multiple-choice formats over comprehension and critical thinking.

The Unforeseen Impact of Technological Transformation:

  • The The COVID-19 pandemic has sped up the profound changes in children’s lives, which has brought attention to the shortcomings of online learning.
  • The post-pandemic push for online learning, despite its flaws, is indicative of a lack of teacher participation in educational decision-making.
  • The emergence of new pressures on top of preexisting ones highlights the necessity for a comprehensive approach to address intrinsic motivation and sincere interest in learning.


  • Although an encouraging start, the open-book examination might not adequately address the more fundamental problems brought to light by the Yash Pal report.
  • Rethinking the objectives and priorities of the educational system is necessary as part of a larger solution to address the lack of intrinsic motivation in education.
  • It is critical to give priority to comprehensive reforms that encourage students’ sincere curiosity and passion for learning as the educational landscape changes.

Yashpal Committee Report 
– The Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) formed the Yashpal Committee in 2009 with an emphasis on higher education.
– The committee was formed to look into suggested changes for higher education in India, and Dr. Yash Pal serves as its chair.
– Yash Pal was a globally renowned physicist, scholar, and higher education reformer.
– In its report, the Yashpal Committee emphasised the idea of a university and recommended a number of important structural changes.

Recommendations from the Yashpal Committee ReportThe Yashpal Committee Report’s key recommendations are listed below:
– The committee recommended that the deemed university status be removed in its Final Report, which was submitted to the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD).
– It was also proposed to abolish or convert all of the deserving universities into full-fledged establishments.
– The report also recommended creating a test for university admissions that is similar to the GRE.
– The committee suggested that institutions like the NCTE, AICTE, UGC, and others be replaced by the seven-member Commission for Higher Education and Research (CHER).
– It was suggested that this new regulator should not be subjected to political pressure.
– It was proposed that the CHER chairman be appointed to a post commensurate with the election commissioners’.
– It was proposed that other regulators, such as the Indian Bar Council, Indian Medical Council, etc., should only handle administrative matters, with universities taking full responsibility for all academic responsibilities.
– The report suggests that IITs and IIMs should be encouraged to extend their reach and develop into full-fledged universities.

PYQ: The fourth Sustainable Development Goal (2030) is aligned with the National Education Policy 2020. It aims to reorganise and realign India’s educational system. Analyse the statement critically. (15 minutes, 250 words) (UPSC GS-2 2020 CSE (M))
Practice Question: Talk about how educational pressures have changed in India over time, as evidenced by the Yash Pal committee’s findings and later initiatives. Analyse the systemic elements causing these pressures and assess how well previous reforms handled them. (15 m/250 words)

2. Culture as development

Topic: GS2 – International Relations
Because the analysis explores the global development strategy and highlights the significance of culture in inclusive and sustainable development, this topic is pertinent to both the Prelims and Mains exams.

– A major milestone was reached when members of the G20 unanimously supported the advancement of culture as a stand-alone objective, during India’s presidency.
– This paradigm change emphasises how important culture is to inclusive and sustainable development.

Culture’s Absence in Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs):

  • Culture has a significant impact on society, yet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) noticeably omit it.
  • In contrast, the 2030 Agenda recognises its relevance but does not provide a clear definition for its role.
  • This ignorance ignores culture’s multifaceted contribution to sustainable development.

Critical Role of Culture in Sustainable Development:

  • Culture has shown to be essential in modern settings for guaranteeing inclusive, rights-based sustainable development models.
  • It takes into account the diversity of societies and encourages the SDGs to be localised.
  • Culture acts as both a catalyst and a facilitator for a number of developmental goals by promoting intergenerational communication, upholding social norms and values, and permeating diverse public policies.

Integral Contribution to Achieving SDGs:

  • Culture has an impact on all 17 SDGs, even though there isn’t a single SDG devoted to it.
  • Targets pertaining to social justice, employment, high-quality education, poverty alleviation, and environmental preservation all acknowledge the importance of culture.
  • Beyond the social, economic, and environmental pillars of sustainable development, it is integrative.

Proposing Culture as a Standalone Goal:

  • Because culture has such a profound effect on society, it must be acknowledged as a separate goal in the post-2030 development agenda.
  • As a stand-alone objective, this one would inspire international action, foster intercultural dialogue and creativity, strengthen marginalised communities, and protect fragile cultural heritage.
  • Development’s transformative potential is unlocked by incorporating cultural considerations into its fundamental design, guaranteeing a more just, equitable, and sustainable world.

India’s Commitment to Holistic Sustainability:

  • India’s dedication to holistic sustainability and rich heritage serve as the foundation for its support of culture on the international arena.
  • Utilising traditional knowledge and customs from long ago, India has created creative answers to modern problems.
  • Indian society is deeply rooted in sustainability, which promotes interdependence, harmony, and peaceful coexistence.

Innovative Solutions and Eco-Conscious Lifestyle:

  • India has developed creative solutions by utilising its cultural ethos and modifying traditional wisdom to meet contemporary demands.
  • Indian culture is strongly ingrained with values like recycling, resource conservation, and frugal living.
  • India’s commitment to global sustainability is demonstrated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call for Lifestyle for Environment (LiFE), which encourages eco-conscious living and responsible resource usage.

Significance of G20’s Endorsement:

  • The international community attaches great significance to the G20’s unanimous endorsement of culture as a stand-alone goal, led by India.
  • It underlines once more how crucial culture is to building diverse, resilient, and interconnected societies.
  • All nations and peoples must embrace culture as a fundamental element of their global development agenda if they are to have a better, more peaceful future.

Role of Cultural Diversity in Progress and Development
Different civilizations have played different roles in the growth and development of cultural diversity. Because they uphold societal ideals, improve living conditions for individuals, and enable people to lead sustainable lifestyles, diverse cultures are vital to development.

Cultural Diversity and Economic Growth:
– Culture diversity fosters innovation and creativity, which is crucial for the development of companies, communities, and organisations. It blends a wide variety of skills, ideas, and expertise.
– Group diversity, particularly in terms of culture, has an impact on self-employment and the application of critical thinking to problem-solving, both of which have an impact on entrepreneurship. Increasing ethnic diversity has a positive impact on the hospitality, food, and agricultural industries.
– Saskatchewan is one of the many diverse societies in Canada that are experiencing economic prosperity.

Cultural Knowledge:
– Numerous cultures bring a wealth of knowledge with them. The cultural ethos of various societies is embodied in the diverse cultural practices that aim for a harmonious coexistence with the environment, for example.
– The loss of this knowledge in traditional education has led to the emergence of a number of conventional and technological ways to protect the environment.
– Through inclusive representation in businesses, corporate employee teams, political parties, administrative positions, educational institutions, and other contexts, deeper knowledge is added to these domains. In an effort to leverage diversity’s potential for economic expansion, Europe has supported “inter-cultural cities.”

Progress towards a Peaceful World:
– It is possible to have a more peaceful coexistence and a reduction in armed conflict by accepting diverse cultural viewpoints.
– Fear of other cultures often leads to attempts to homogenise them, sometimes to the point of eradication (e.g., the ethnocide against the Sami or Lapp people in Norway and the genocide against the Armenians in Turkey).
– Rather than isolating individuals from countries devastated by conflict, we ought to acknowledge them as strangers in far-off places and endeavour to enhance their standard of living.

Better and Just Development Policy Creation:
– More equitable distribution and access to resources are ensured by the cascading effect created when ethnically diverse populations hold positions of power.
– More representation in local, national, and international knowledge-creation and policy-making organisations that define development and carry it out in a variety of cultural contexts leads to inclusive policy formation.
– The Council of Europe’s support for intercultural cities enables the formulation of policies that embrace cultural variety.
– The UN Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions and the Universal Declaration on Cultural Variety, both of which have been ratified by 152 parties, both have as their primary objective the protection of cultural variety.

Development of Culture-Centric Tourism:
– We can mitigate the risk of cultural deterioration caused by profit-driven tourism by providing unique, immersive cultural experiences that place an emphasis on language, food, and culture overall.
– Promoting participation in these programmes among locals contributes to the creation of a more equitable development process.

Practice Question: In the context of global development strategy, talk about the significance of India’s recent endorsement of culture as a stand-alone goal during its G20 presidency. Examine the effects of including cultural factors in frameworks for sustainable development and how they relate to India’s pledge to achieve holistic sustainability. (15 m/250 words)

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