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Indian Express Editorial Analysis

12-February-2024

1. CLASSROOM VS COACHING

Topic: GS2 – Social Justice – Education This topic is relevant for both Prelims and Mains in the context of understanding of the complexities within the Indian education system, aligning with the exam’s multidisciplinary approach and the need for a comprehensive understanding of contemporary socio-political issues.
Context:
  • The Ministry of Education recently announced significant guidelines for coaching centers in response to concerns regarding student welfare, increasing student suicides, and the unregulated expansion of private coaching institutions.
  • The coaching industry in India, generating an annual revenue of Rs 6,000 crore and growing at a rate of 7-10% per year, has extended beyond traditional exams like NEET and JEE to include coaching for newer exams like CUET, along with tuitions across various school subjects.
More about the news: Impact of Unregulated Coaching Culture:
  • A concerning trend has emerged where students are leaving traditional schooling after Class X to join “dummy schools” that admit them without requiring attendance, facilitating enrollment in coaching centers to crack exams like CUET.
  • This shift has led to a diminishing value of formal education, raising questions about the government’s decision to give weightage to board exam results in competitive exam applications, potentially jeopardizing the future of high school education.
Coaching Centers vs. Schools:
  • The failure of policymakers to adequately support students beyond school has allowed coaching centers to become parallel systems, exemplified by institutions like Kota, entrenched in Indian society for over three decades.
  • While the National Education Policy emphasizes holistic development, mental health, and understanding, the coaching culture neglects these aspects, pushing children away from classrooms into high-pressure coaching environments, often with parental support.
Addressing Mental Health and Well-being:
  • The coaching culture fails to address crucial aspects of mental health and well-being.
  • Students suffer from unseen conditions like anxiety, and the lack of downtime for sleep and social interaction affects long-term personality development.
  • Coaching centers, focused solely on exam preparation, do not provide the nurturing and supportive environments necessary for healthy adolescent development.
Redefining the Role of Education:
  • Education in India must redefine itself to cater to the diverse social and economic landscape, addressing the needs and aspirations of all children.
  • True education imparts values and sets goals, aligning with societal expectations to reduce stress and foster emotional stability.
  • However, the current emphasis on coaching perpetuates false expectations and stress among students, hindering true learning and innovation required for human flourishing.
Promoting Agency and Innovation:
  • To foster a truly inclusive and innovative educational environment, the focus must shift from coaching to empowering students with agency, responsibility, and sensitivity.
  • A shared vision emphasizing well-being as the primary goal of education is essential, guiding students to become purposeful, reflective, and responsible individuals capable of creating a better future.
Conclusion:
  • The obsession with coaching undermines the development of new ideas, approaches, and research vital for societal progress.
  • It is imperative to prioritize holistic education and innovation to nurture the potential of our youth and build a brighter future for generations to come.
What was The Need to Regulate Coaching Centres in India?
  •  Increase in student suicide cases– There has been an exponential rise in cases of student suicides from the competitive exam coaching institutes.
For ex- 28 cases of student suicides were reported in 2023 alone from Kota- the coaching capital for engg. and medical exams.
  • Exorbitant fees and lack of exit options– The coachings charge exorbitant fees and do not provide exit options with return of balance fees to students due to lack of regulatory guidelines.
  • False and Misleading Claims– The coaching centres have been indulging in false and misleading claims related to selection ratio from their institutes.
For ex- Recent fines imposed on UPSC coaching centres for making false claims.
  • Engineer or Doctor producing factories– The coaching centres function like a factory to produce candidates well equippied with practice and conceptual clarity to solve the JEE and NEET questions, but they lack heavily in extracurricular activities and life skills.
For ex- Kota is termed as KOTA FACTORY.
  • Absence of regulatory oversight– There were no penal provisions and there was complete lack of regulatory oversight.
For ex- Inapplicability of Consumer Protection Act for the coaching industry.
PYQ: National Education Policy 2020 is in conformity with the Sustainable Development Goal-4 (2030). It intends to restructure and reorient education system in India. Critically examine the statement. (250 words/15m) (UPSC CSE (M) GS-2 2020)
Practice Question:  Examine the impact of the coaching culture on the Indian education system and its implications for student welfare and societal development. (150 words/10 m)

2. Securing the sea lanes

Topic: GS3 – Internal Security – Security challenges and their management in border areas
This topic is relevant for both Prelims and Mains in the context of India’s geopolitical positioning, maritime security, and defense strategies.
Context:
  • In contemplating India’s naval needs for 2047, an esteemed Royal Navy Admiral’s insight during World War II underscores the meticulous time and effort required to build both naval capabilities and enduring maritime traditions.
  • As India approaches its centenary of independence, poised to become the world’s third-largest economy, the discourse on future naval requirements gains significance.
  • However, it’s evident that the naval force envisioned decades ago may no longer suffice in the evolving geopolitical landscape.
More about the news: Challenges to Maritime Security:
  • Presently, India faces critical challenges to its maritime security, exemplified by the perilous condition of vital sealanes due to escalating attacks by groups like the Houthis in Yemen.
  • Reluctance among shipping companies to utilize traditional routes like the Red Sea and the Suez Canal amplifies concerns, leading to increased insurance rates and economic repercussions.
  • Despite the global impact, responses have been limited, leaving India, a maritime nation, in a defensive stance.
Need for Strategic Naval Assets:
  • To address these challenges effectively, there’s a pressing need for strategic naval assets tailored to modern maritime threats.
  • The acquisition of a third aircraft carrier is imperative, albeit with a renewed strategic outlook.
  • Unlike existing carriers designed primarily for sea control, a future carrier must possess power projection capabilities, capable of influencing political decisions and safeguarding national interests.
Utilization of Naval Diplomacy:
  • The strategic deployment of naval assets can significantly enhance India’s diplomatic leverage on the global stage.
  • Noteworthy examples include the presence of the USS Gerald Ford off Lebanon during regional conflicts, demonstrating the deterrent effect of naval power in crisis management.
  • Similarly, Indian initiatives, complemented by a formidable aircraft carrier fleet, can bolster diplomatic endeavors and protect national interests in critical regions.
Future Role of Indian Navy:
  • In envisioning India’s role as a regional power in 2047, the Indian Navy assumes paramount importance in safeguarding maritime interests and contributing to global stability.
  • A proactive approach, characterized by power projection and regional security assurances, necessitates a paradigm shift from defensive postures to proactive engagements.
  • Investment in advanced naval capabilities, including power projection aircraft carriers, is essential to uphold India’s maritime sovereignty and counter emerging threats effectively.
Conclusion:
  • As India progresses towards becoming a global economic powerhouse, the evolution of its naval capabilities is imperative to address contemporary maritime challenges and shape future geopolitical dynamics.
  • Strategic investments in naval assets, coupled with proactive diplomatic engagements, will position India as a pivotal maritime player, ensuring regional security and safeguarding national interests in an increasingly contested maritime domain.
What are the Initiatives Taken by India to Enhance Maritime Security?
  • Capacity Augmentation of Maritime Security Agencies: This includes the modernization and expansion of the Indian Navy, Coast Guard, and Marine Police to enhance their capabilities for surveillance and patrol of the nation’s maritime zones.
  • It also involves the acquisition of advanced platforms, systems, and equipment such as aircraft carriers, submarines, frigates, helicopters, radars, and satellites.
  • Enhanced Technical Surveillance of Coastal and Offshore Areas: This includes the implementation of various projects and schemes such as the Coastal Surveillance Network, the National Command Control Communication and Intelligence Network, the National Automatic Identification System, and the National Maritime Domain Awareness Project.
  • These aim to provide a comprehensive and integrated picture of the maritime domain and enable timely detection and response to any threats or incidents.
  • Establishment of Mechanisms for Inter-Agency Coordination: This includes the creation of various bodies and committees such as the National Committee for Strengthening Maritime and Coastal Security, the National Maritime Security Coordinator, the Joint Operations Centres, and the Coastal Security Operations Centres.
  • These aim to facilitate effective coordination and information sharing among various stakeholders involved in maritime security such as the Navy, Coast Guard, Customs, Intelligence, Fisheries, and Ports.
  • Integration of the Fishing and Coastal Communities: This includes the implementation of various measures such as the issuance of biometric identity cards, the installation of transponders and distress alert transmitters, the conduct of community awareness and education programs, and the provision of livelihood and welfare schemes.
  • These aim to involve the fishing and coastal communities in the maritime security framework and enhance their security and well-being.
  • Security and Growth for All in the Region (SAGAR)
  • Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS)
  • Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA)
PYQ: Consider the following in respect of Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS). (2017) 1) Inaugural IONS was held in India in 2015 under the chairmanship of the Indian Navy. 2) IONS is a voluntary initiative that seeks to increase maritime co-operation among navies of the littoral states of the Indian Ocean Region. Which of the above statements is/are correct? (a) 1 only (b) 2 only (c) Both 1 and 2 (d) Neither 1 nor 2 Ans: (b)
Practice Question:  Discuss the strategic challenges and future naval requirements for India in the context of evolving geopolitical dynamics and maritime security threats. (250 words/15 m)

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