Sunday, 13 January 2013

Community college in US: An overview

From policy makers and researchers perspective
In the United States of America, community college refers to public institutions imparting education at a plane beyond that delivered by schools. Associate's degrees, certificates, and diplomas are granted by such community colleges. After graduating, some candidates enroll to a four-year liberal arts college or two to three years in university to secure a bachelor's degree. Community colleges have open door admission policy which is appealing to students seeking associate's degree or who have plans to enroll later to more expensive four-year schools.

An important thing that distinguishes community colleges is the fact that such colleges are funded by the state from revenues earned through taxes and other fiscal measures. As a consequence, community colleges are least expensive and designed to be made available for anyone willing to learn.

Problem of overcrowding

Practical, down-to-earth counsel for students
Although community colleges have traditionally attracted young college students, today large number of older adults also enrolls. The recent economic recession that started with the fall of Lehman Bros in 2008 has added to the problem of overcrowding. It is reported that classes in community colleges in Farmington are organized not only in junior and senior high schools but also sometimes in the conference room of a proximate hotel! 

One of the reasons why community colleges are overcrowded is because existing resources do not meet the investment required to expand space capacity. New challenges such as current economic recession and falling value of the dollar have only made the problem worse. According to a Blue Ribbon Commission report, United States of America urgently requires to reorganize its higher education system or lose its unique position of strength and competitiveness.

Interest of students at community colleges be properly safeguarded while accepting favors from capitalist entities

Capitalism has been the hallmark of US society. But its impact on education has never been so pervasive. Supplying computers in schools and universities to taking a right to run and own a private university, it can be a huge bonanza for capitalists. What appears as an act of benevolence for community colleges is often just to get tax benefits for huge profits that many private corporations earn. It is important to make sure that interest of students at community colleges are properly safeguarded while accepting favors from capitalist entities.

Leveraging state-of-the-art computer technology

The internet has become a new platform for new-age learners through which it is easy to create, upload, and share information on the Web. Cutting edge web computer technologies are a catalyst which increases capability many times at all stages. At a time when there is greater thrust towards e-Learning, it is not the space that should now make any community college overcrowded in real terms. What is needed today is a smarter application of Web 2.0 computer technologies that makes learning accessible to students anytime, anywhere with a laptop and an internet connection.

Steps are taken to address bureaucracy that even engulfs an open capitalist country like US. Amendment #3 removes the option to tender proposals through for program elements with effect from June 27, 2009. Amendment #3 has reduced the cost of grants because of better electronic proposal submission. 

Community college serves as one of the most important tools through which state can impact higher learning and create better human resource through its endeavor. Just to recollect, White Americans have 7 times more wealth than their black counterparts. Community colleges are sites where such inequities can be addressed in a meaningful manner.

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Future of journalism in India better with social media

Last updated: November 29, 2016

When it comes to journalism, there is an opinion that mainstream newspapers right from The Times of India to herds following it betrayed. What is expected from newspapers is reporting with a human touch. On the contrary, these popular newspapers contradicted themselves by advocating for an ethical society in their editorial pages while promoting illicit life-style elsewhere in the name of commercial ads, indecent contents to push sales. 

Reports about improving economic conditions and lifestyle in India are often exaggerated. Those who make such claims are frequently beneficiaries of the system. Booker Prize Winner Arundhati Roy is one Indian woman writer who is dissatisfied with the prevailing status. She refutes claims by the Indian government and even Nobel laureate Amartya Sen of significant improvement in the life of the poor people. Addressing a prominent business school in the UK, while economist Sen expressed satisfaction and called development in India an example to be followed, writer Anundhati Roy completely disagreed. She charged the government, the military and the police, the corporate sector, the media and the upper and middle classes. As reported by The Telegraph: "Amartya Sen and Arundhati Roy have presented sharply contrasting portraits of Indian democracy in their public pronouncements in the UK, with the Nobel Prize winner generally holding it up as an example to the world and the Booker Prize winner deploying her pretty looks and eloquence to trash the government, the military and the police, the corporate sector, the media and the upper and middle classes."

For centuries, money lenders have exploited poor farmers and peasants in this country. With democracy, they are a victim of corruption. Business owners in India frequently fudge data. Understating profit not only helps them grab profit without paying taxes but also makes them eligible to avail vivid state subsidies and loans for business revival. Laborers in private factories are frequently allocated residential quarters with below-standard sanitation facilities despite the factory making large profits. There is little doubt that workers without a vibrant trade union can be brutally exploited. All these indirectly mean depriving the marginal section of the society a rightful share of the resource. (Of late, the demonetisation drive by PM Narendra Modi of November 8, 2016 appears to be a step with good intention but there are reservations if the same could control generation of black income.) 

Interest in social media is perhaps not just because of technology. Readers are suddenly finding themselves empowered. Now, one is not forced to experience passively anger of a news reporter over hawkers taking over posh locality in a metropolitan city. Neutral readers may question that hawkers too are part of the society and victim of corruption. Social media like Twitter will see a flurry of negative comments from dissatisfied readers. Citizen journalism offers a platform which takes into account emotions of readers. This is important. Here lies the importance of citizen journalism which prompts towards impartiality. Take the recent Delhi gang rape case. Twitter users protested against the use of term 'eve teasing' and advocated for keeping the identity of the victim private. Many of the protesters were themselves women (housewives, college girls) giving them the authority to express anger over what hurts them.