Pranab Mukherjee still close to his students
Bidyanagar (WB), Jan 21,2013 : President Pranab Mukherjee has not forgotten Bidyanagar College in South 24-Parganas district from where he began his career in the 1960s, nor have his former students and colleagues forgotten him.
"He (Mukherjee) was always close to his students. He impressed us very much as a teacher and we remember him as such even after so many years," former students Swapan Roy, a panchayat samiti chairman, Sudhangshu Karar, a retired teacher and Geeta Rani Karmakar, told PTI here. Mukherjee, who laid the foundation stone of the new building of the college on its golden jubilee today, was a lecturer in political science and history from August 18, 1963 to 1968 when he joined active politics.
"He remembers and instantly recognises us by our names ... He has kept in touch with us during his very busy days as a central minister. We are in contact with him and seek his advice in our private lives," Roy and Karar said. "He had a personality and a smile that attracted us. We feel happy that he has retained his smile and happy face. We see it in the newsfeeds on the TV," they said. Mukherjee, they said, still took keen interest about the college and its welfare.
"The students of Bidyanagar College can never forget him. We, because of our long relationship with him and the present students because the institution would never have become what it is today without his help," they said.
The college has grown in size and stature with Mukherjee's help. From only 60 students in the humanities stream it has over 2000 students in science, commerce and humanities now with funds from UGC.
The ASER report also found that only five out of 10 students studying in class V in rural India could solve simple arithmetic problems. It said that while in 2010 more than half of class V students were able to read class II level texts, the proportion came down to 46.8 per cent in 2012.
"The decline in reading levels is more visible among children in government schools as compared to those in private schools... It has fallen from 50.7 per cent in 2010 to 41.7 per cent in 2010," it said. Barring Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Kerala, it said every major state has shown signs of a "substantial drop" in the arithmetic learning levels. Incidentally, 2012 was designated as the year of mathematics in India.
The report also sought to put a big question about the outcome of Right To Education (RTE) noting that though compliance with norms and standards specified by RTE has improved since 2010, "most children in schools today are at least three grade levels behind where they should be". Learning deficit from primary school influence learning outcome at the secondary school level too, it said.