Within Weeks Of Coming To Power, DMK On Course To Revising Textbooks

Within Weeks Of Coming To Power, DMK On Course To Revising TextbooksDravidian movement has always taken a special interest in the education field.
Snapshot
  • Parents in Tamil Nadu have already been moving their children to CBSE schools for some years now.

    The poorest of the lot, the one's who can't fork out large sums of school fees, will be stuck with poor quality government education.

‘Force equals mass times velocity. F=mv’'

Now, this is obviously wrong. But imagine the horror if this is said by a physics teacher. Even worse, imagine a state government appointing this person to act as the head of a body that drafts textbooks for school children.

The person in question is Dindugal Leoni – a popular public orator in Tamil TV debates and public functions. He also reportedly worked as a physics teacher.

Leoni came up with 'f=mv' during a press meet post his appointment as chief of the textbook society. In the press meet, he used a rather sexist example to demonstrate how he'd teach physics using practical examples. (His example involved a fat woman).

This according to him was the fun way of teaching and learning physics. His appointment is largely seen as a way for the government to start tinkering with the school textbooks.

The Dravidian movement has always taken a special interest in the education field. It was once said that the movement grew among the educated middle class by capturing local libraries.

So, the movement knows the power of media more than anyone else in the arena. It was a combination of attractive rhetoric and cultivation of minds through carefully crafted information campaigns that the movement anchored itself into the collective Tamil psyche. Therefore, when in power, the movement naturally wants to make sure that the education department remains under its ideological control.

What happens when education comes under partisan party-apparatchik control? It deteriorates.

We find that the students of Tamil Nadu are falling behind in competitive national examinations. In 2017, only 792 students from the state, an overwhelming majority of them from the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), were admitted to various Indian Institute of Technology (IITs), National Institute Of Technology (NITs) and Indian Institute of Information Technology (IIITs) compared to 1,757 from Madhya Pradesh, which has a comparable population but is very much behind it in development.

Telangana, which has approximately half the population of Tamil Nadu, sent 3,500 to IITs, NITs and IIITs in 2016, meaning four times as many students were admitted from Telangana than Tamil Nadu.

This deterioration was caused by the ‘Samacheer Kalvi’ scheme or ‘egalitarian-standardized education’ brought by the Dravida Munnetra Kazhadam (DMK) government during its previous stint (2006-2011). Instead of improving the syllabus and teaching qualities of the teachers the scheme brought about a steady dilution of standards.

A comprehensive survey in 2014 showed that 98 per cent of stakeholders, including teachers and parents, felt that the state's syllabus did not compare favourably against Central Board of School Education (CBSE) standards. The person who headed the survey effort had this to say, "While aiming for uniformity have we diluted standards to the lowest common denominator".

While the DMK's main rival Anna DMK (ADMK) regime did try to fix the rot in the system it may have come a little late to save many cohorts of students who may have already passed high school grades. (You can read more about ADMK government's efforts here).

As if a physics teacher who believes 'f=mv' was not enough, the government has now appointed one Suba Veerapandian, another ecosystem apparatchik—who somehow thinks Aryan invasions are real and relevant in 2021—has been made member of the text book society.

Veerapandian runs an obscure Dravidianist organisation that is mostly into anti-Brahmin rhetoric and likely has no real achievement in the field of improving education or industry in the state. His membership to the society that will produce the text books is more like a reward for loyalty than anything else.

Between a flippant Leoni and a racial theory-subscriber Veerapandian, the former is likely to oversee dilution of standards while the latter will likely attempt infusion of Dravidian ideology in school texts.

So what will parents do? They've already been moving in hordes to CBSE schools for some years now. The poorest of the lot, the one's who can't fork out large sums of school fees, will be stuck with poor quality government education. All in the name of social justice!

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