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The best Chromebooks you can buy...
1 week ago
Chromebooks have earned a reputation for being cheap and limited, but that hasn’t been true for a while now. The combination of years worth of software updates and laptop manufacturers making more powerful and better-built Chromebooks means there are a ton of good Chrome OS machines that work well as everyday drivers. Of course, there are an unnecessary number of Chromebooks on the market, so choosing the right one is easier said than done. Fortunately, I’ve tried enough of them at this point to know what to look for and what to avoid.What is Chrome OS, and why would I use it over Windows?That’s probably the number one question about Chromebooks. There are plenty of inexpensive Windows laptops on the market, so why bother with Chrome OS? Glad you asked. For me, the simple and clean nature of Chrome OS is a big selling point. If you didn’t know, it’s based on Google’s Chrome browser, which means most of the programs you can run are web based. There’s no bloatware or unwanted apps to uninstall like you often get on Windows laptops, it boots up in seconds, and you can completely reset to factory settings almost as quickly.Of course, the simplicity is also a major drawback for some users. Not being able to install native software can be a dealbreaker if you’re, say, a video editor or software developer. But there are also plenty of people who do the vast majority of their work in a browser. Unless I need to edit photos for a review, I can do my entire job on a Chromebook.Nathan Ingraham / EngadgetGoogle has also added support for Android apps on Chromebooks, which greatly expands the amount of software available. The quality varies widely, but it means you can do more with a Chromebook beyond just web-based apps. For example, you can install the Netflix app and save videos for offline watching; other Android apps like Microsoft’s Office suite and Adobe Lightroom are surprisingly capable. Between Android apps and a general improvement in web apps, Chromebooks are more than just a browser.What do Chromebooks do well, and when should you avoid them?Put simply, anything web based. Browsing, streaming music and video and using various social media sites are among the most common things people do on Chromebooks. As you might expect, they also work well with Google services like Photos, Docs, Gmail, Drive, Keep and so on. Yes, any computer that can run Chrome can do that too, but the lightweight nature of Chrome OS makes it a responsive and stable platform.As I mentioned before, Chrome OS can run Android apps, so if you’re an Android user you’ll find some nice ties between the platforms. You can get most of the same apps that are on your phone on a Chromebook and keep info in sync between them. You can also use some Android phones as a security key for your Chromebook or instantly tether your laptop to use mobile data.Nathan Ingraham / Engadget Google continues to tout security as a major differentiator for Chromebooks, and I think it’s definitely a factor worth considering. The first line of defense is auto-updates. Chrome OS updates download quickly in the background and a fast reboot is all it takes to install the latest version. Google says that each webpage and app on a Chromebook runs in its own sandbox, as well, so any security threats are contained to that individual app. Finally, Chrome OS has a self-check called Verified Boot that runs every time a device starts up. Beyond all this, the simple fact that you generally can’t install traditional apps on a Chromebook means there are a lot fewer ways for bad actors to access the system.As for when to avoid them, the answer is simple: If you rely heavily on a specific native application for Windows or a Mac, chances are good you won’t find the exact same option on a Chromebook. That’s most true in fields like photo and video editing, but it can also be the case in fields like law or finance. Plenty of businesses run on Google’s G suite software, but more still have specific requirements that a Chromebook might not match. If you’re an iPhone user, you’ll also miss out on the way the iPhone easily integrates with an iPad or Mac, as well. For me, the big downside is not being able to access iMessage on a Chromebook.Finally, gaming is almost entirely a non-starter, as there are no native Chrome OS games of note. You can install Android games from the Google Play Store, but that’s not what most people are thinking of when they want to game on a laptop. That said, Google’s game-streaming service Stadia has changed that long-standing problem. The service isn’t perfect, but it remains the only way to play recent, high-profile games on a Chromebook. It’s not as good as running local games on a Windows computer, but the lag issues that can crop up reflect mostly on Stadia itself and not Chrome OS.What are the most important specs for a Chromebook?Chrome OS is lightweight and usually runs well on fairly modest hardware, so the most important thing to look for might not be processor power or storage space. That said, I’d still recommend you get a Chromebook with a relatively recent Intel processor, ideally an eighth-generation or newer M3 or i3. Most non-Intel Chromebooks I’ve tried haven’t had terribly good performance, though Lenovo’s Chromebook Duet 2-in-1 runs surprisingly well on its MediaTek processor.As for RAM, 4GB is enough for most people, though 8GB is a better target if you have the cash, want to future-proof your investment or if you’re a serious tab junkie. Storage space is another place where you don’t need to spend too much; 64GB should be fine for almost anyone. If you plan on storing a lot of local files or loading up your Chromebook with Linux or Android apps, get 128GB. But for what it’s worth, I’ve never felt like I might run out of local storage when using Chrome OS.Things like the keyboard and display quality are arguably more important than sheer specs. The good news is that you can find less expensive Chromebooks that still have pretty good screens and keyboards that you won’t mind typing on all day. Many cheap Chromebooks still come with tiny, low-resolution displays, but at this point there’s no reason to settle for anything less than 1080p. (If you’re looking for an extremely portable, 11-inch Chromebook, though, you’ll probably have to settle for less.) Obviously, keyboard quality is a bit more subjective, but you shouldn’t settle for a mushy piece of garbage.Google has an Auto Update policy for Chromebooks, and while that’s not a spec, per se, it’s worth checking before you buy. Basically, Chromebooks get regular software updates automatically for about six years from their release date (though that can vary from device to device). This support page lists the Auto Update expiration date for virtually every Chromebook ever, but a good rule of thumb is to buy the newest machine you can to maximize your support.How much should I spend?Nathan Ingraham / Engadget Chromebooks started out notoriously cheap, with list prices often coming in under $300. But as they’ve gone more mainstream, they’ve transitioned from being essentially modern netbooks to the kind of laptop you’ll want to use all day. As such, prices have increased a bit over the last few years. At this point, you should expect to spend at least $400 if you want a solid daily driver. There are still many budget options out there that may be suitable as couch machines or secondary devices, but if you want a Chromebook that can be your all-day-every-day laptop, $400 is the least you can expect to spend.There are also plenty of premium Chromebooks that approach or even exceed $1,000, but I don’t recommend spending that much. Generally, that’ll get you better design quality with more premium materials, as well as more powerful internals and extra storage space. Of course, you also sometimes pay for the brand name. But, the specs I outlined earlier are usually enough.Right now, there actually aren’t too many Chromebooks that even cost that much. Google’s Pixelbook Go comes in $999 and $1,399 configurations, but the more affordable $650 and $850 options will be just as good for nearly everyone. Samsung released the $1,000 Galaxy Chromebook in 2020; this luxury device does almost everything right but has terrible battery life. Samsung quickly learned from that mistake and is now offering the Galaxy Chromebook 2 with more modest specs, but vastly better battery life at a much more affordable price (more on that laptop later). For the most part, you don’t need to spend more than $850 to get a premium Chromebook that’ll last you years.Engadget picksBest overall: Lenovo Flex 5 ChromebookNathan Ingraham / Engadget Look beyond the awkward name and you’ll find a Chromebook that does just about everything right that’s also a tremendous value. It gets all the basics right: The 13-inch 1080p touchscreen is bright, though it’s a little hard to see because of reflections in direct sunlight. It runs on a 10th-generation Intel Core i3 processor, the eight-hour battery life is solid, and the backlit keyboard is one of the best I’ve used on any laptop lately, Chromebook or otherwise. The Flex 5 is now a little over a year old, but it still holds up well and is even cheaper than it was when it first launched. It can now regularly be found for well under $400 on Amazon. (As of this writing, it’s priced at $329.) That’s an outstanding value for a Chromebook this capable.Naturally, Lenovo cut a few corners to hit that price. Most significantly, it only has 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. Normally, I wouldn’t recommend anyone buy a computer with those specs — but Chrome OS is far less dependent on local storage. Unless you were planning to store a ton of movies or install a huge variety of Android apps, 64GB is enough for moderately advanced use. I was concerned about the non-upgradeable 4GB of RAM, but my testing showed that the IdeaPad Flex 5 can run plenty of tabs and other apps without many hiccups. If you push things hard, you’ll occasionally have to wait for tabs to refresh if you haven’t viewed them recently, but other than that this is a solid performer, particularly for the price.Other things in the IdeaPad Flex 5’s favor include that it has both USB-C and USB-A ports and a 360-degree convertible hinge. I personally don’t find myself flipping laptops around to tablet or stand mode very often, but it’s there if you like working in those formats. At three pounds and 0.66 inches thick, it’s not the lightest or slimmest option out there, but those specs are also totally reasonable considering the price.Ultimately, the Ideapad Flex 5 hits the sweet spot for a large majority of potential Chromebook buyers out there, providing a level of quality and performance that’s pretty rare to find at this price point. That said, given this laptop has been out for over a year now, we’re keeping an eye out for any potential replacements Lenovo offers, as well as comparable options other manufacturers release.Buy Lenovo Flex 5 Chromebook on Amazon - $430Upgrade picks: Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2, Acer Chromebook Spin 713EngadgetPremium Chromebooks with more power, better design and higher prices have become common in recent years. If you want to step up over the excellent but basic Lenovo Flex 5, there are two recent options worth considering: Samsung’s Galaxy Chromebook 2 and Acer’s Chromebook Spin 713.The Galaxy Chromebook 2 is infinitely more stylish than most other Chromebooks, with a bright metallic red finish and a design that looks far better than the utilitarian Flex 5 and Chromebook Spin 713. As I mentioned earlier, Samsung’s Galaxy Chromebook 2 fixes some of the serious flaws we identified in the original. Specifically, the 2020 Galaxy Chromebook had terrible battery life and cost $999; this year’s model starts at $549 and can actually last seven hours off the charger. That’s not great, but it’s far better than the lousy four hours the original offered.Samsung cut a few corners to lower the Galaxy Chromebook 2’s price. Most noticeable is the 1080p 13.3-inch touchscreen, down from the 4K panel on the older model. The good news is that the display is among the best 1080p laptop screens I’ve seen in a long time, and the lower resolution helps the battery life, too. The Galaxy Chromebook 2 is also a bit thicker and heavier than its predecessor, but it’s still reasonably compact.Finally, the Galaxy Chromebook 2 has a 10th-generation Intel Core i3 processor rather than the Core i5 Samsung included last year. All these changes add up to a laptop that isn’t as ambitious, but is ultimately much easier to recommend. Instead of pushing to have the best screen in the thinnest and lightest body with a faster processor, Samsung pulled everything back a bit to make a better-priced but still premium laptop.Nathan Ingraham / EngadgetAcer’s Chromebook Spin 713, by comparison, doesn’t look like much from the outside — it’s a chunky gray slab with little to distinguish it from many other basic laptops. While it doesn’t seem exciting, the Spin 713 is just as well-made as the Galaxy Chromebook 2, with a sturdy hinge and body. But what’s most interesting is the display, a 13.5-inch touchscreen with a 3:2 aspect ratio. That makes it a much better option than 1080p displays when you’re scrolling vertically through documents and webpages. It has a somewhat unusual resolution of 2,256 x 1,504, thanks to the taller aspect ratio, but it makes for a more pixel-dense display than you’ll find on your standard 13.3-inch, 1080p laptop. Long story short: The screen is great.As for the rest of the hardware, the 11th-generation Intel Core i5 processor is more than enough power for most tasks, and the keyboard and trackpad are solid, if not the best I’ve used before. The same can be said for battery life: I got about the same six to seven hours using the Spin 713 as I did using the Galaxy Chromebook 2. I wish it were better in both cases, but it’s in line with other premium Chromebooks I’ve used lately.The Spin 713 configuration that I tested costs $699, the same as the Galaxy Chromebook 2. Because I’m such a fan of the 3:2 display, I prefer the Spin 713 (which also has a more powerful processor), but the Galaxy Chromebook 2 is worth a look if you want a laptop that has a little more style and a better keyboard.Last year, Google’s Pixelbook Go was our pick for the best premium model. It’s still an excellent choice and one of my favorite Chromebooks to use, but it’s almost two years old. Its age coupled with its aging 8th-generation Intel processor make it tougher to recommend. That said, it’s still one of the thinnest and lightest Chromebooks around, and it still handles everything I can throw at it. It also has the best keyboard I’ve used on any recent Chromebook. There’s still a lot to like, but it’s harder to justify spending $650 or more on it. Hopefully Google will release an updated version this fall.Buy Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2 starting at $549Buy Acer Chromebook Spin 713 at Best Buy - $629A good option for kids: Acer Chromebook 512AcerWhile Lenovo’s Flex 5 is inexpensive enough that you could get one for your kid, Acer’s Chromebook 512 might be a better option for young ones in your life. First off, it’s specifically built to take abuse. In addition to the military-rated (MIL-STD 810G) impact-resistant body, you can spill up to 330mL of liquid on the keyboard. A drainage system will flush it out and keep the insides working. (Note that I haven’t actually tried that.) The keyboard features “mechanically anchored” keys that should be harder for kids to pick off, too. Regardless of exactly how much water you can pour onto that keyboard, the Chromebook 512 should handle a child’s abuse better than your average laptop.This computer isn’t a speed demon, but the Intel Celeron N4000 chip coupled with 4GB of RAM and 32GB of storage should be fine for basic tasks. The 12-inch screen isn’t a standout either, but it has the same taller 3:2 aspect ratio as Acer’s Chromebook Spin 713. That means you’ll get more vertical screen real estate than you would on the 16:9, 11-inch panels typically found in laptops of this class. (The Chromebook 512’s screen resolution is 1,366 x 912, whereas most 11-inch Chromebooks use a 1,366 x 768 panel.)All in all, it’s a fairly modest computer, but grade-school kids, a computer that can take some abuse and runs an easy-to-use OS that’s well supported in education should fit the bill well. The Chromebook 512 is priced at $249.99 direct from Acer, but it's going for $219.99 as of this writing at other retailers.Buy Acer Chromebook 512 at Best Buy - $220......
The best early Prime Day 2021 deals on Amazon devices — Echo Buds are already up to 33% off...
1 month ago
Summary List Placement Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky Amazon Prime Day 2021 will begin on June 21 and run through June 22. We're expecting tons of deals on tech across all categories, and shoppers can already find early discounts on select Amazon devices. Amazon's brand-new second-generation Echo Buds are now down to their lowest price yet. Other Amazon devices, like Fire TV Edition smart TVs and a couple Kindle bundles, are available with early Prime Day deals as well. Prime Day is traditionally one of the best times to find an Amazon Echo or Echo Dot on sale, and a few models are available for modest discounts already. That said, we anticipate better Echo device deals when Prime Day officially starts. To shop Prime Day deals, you need to be an Amazon Prime member. Prime subscriptions cost $13 a month or $120 a year. The service offers tons of perks, including free two-day shipping on many items. Prime Monthly Subscription (small) Best early Prime Day Echo Buds deals Amazon just released its second-generation Echo Buds in May, and the new wireless earbuds are already $40 off ahead of Prime Day 2021. The Echo Buds with wired charging case are down to $80, while the Echo Buds with wireless charging case are available for $100. The second-generation earbuds have a sleeker design and improved noise cancellation compared to the older model. Senior Tech Correspondent Lisa Eadicicco was impressed by the improvements Amazon made, and said the Echo Buds are "a great choice for anyone in search of affordable wireless earbuds that don't compromise on features like noise cancellation and customization." You can find our Amazon Echo Buds 2 review here. Echo Buds (2nd Gen) (medium, Preferred: Amazon)Echo Buds (2nd Gen) with wireless charging case (medium, Preferred: Amazon) Top early Prime Day Echo smart speaker deals Echo devices are some of the most popular smart speakers on the market, and they're often available for some of their lowest prices during Prime Day. Though select Echo speakers were recently up to 30% off, that discount has now expired. We expect big deals once Prime Day begins. Right now, however, you can find a modest $5 discount on fourth- and third-generation Echo Dots. The fourth-generation Echo Dot offers new spherical design and slightly improved sound quality. That said, if the third-generation Echo Dot dips down to a sale price that's significantly less than the fourth-gen model, we think it offers a better value. All-New Echo Dot (4th Generation) (medium, Preferred: Amazon)All-New Echo Dot with Clock (4th Generation) (medium, Preferred: Amazon)All-New Echo Dot Kids Edition (4th Generation) (medium, Preferred: Amazon)Echo Dot (medium, Preferred: Amazon) Best early Prime Day Fire TV Edition smart TV deals Amazon's Fire TV operating system comes built right into a number of smart TVs from Toshiba and Insignia. This enables simple streaming access with the same interface you'd see on a separate Fire TV Stick or Cube. Both brands sell 4K, 1080p, and 720p Fire TV displays in a range of screen sizes, and many of these models are on sale right now ahead of Prime Day. It's important to keep in mind, however, that all of these displays are considered entry-level TVs. They'll get the job done for casual viewing, but for better picture quality and speedier smart TV performance, we recommend stepping up to a mid-range model from brands like TCL, Vizio, Samsung, or LG. Though we don't typically recommend TVs with 720p screens, the benefits of higher resolutions are hard to see on screen sizes under 43 inches. If you're looking for a smaller TV in the 32- or 24-inch range for a bedroom or other secondary location, an inexpensive Fire HDTV could offer solid value, especially when they're discounted. If you're going bigger than 32-inches, however, it's worth paying more for a 4K model. 24-inch HD Smart TV (medium, Preferred: Amazon)50-inch 4K TV (medium, Preferred: Amazon) Top early Prime Day Kindle deals Amazon's Kindle devices are some of our favorite e-readers, and we expect deals across the entire lineup when Prime Day begins. Though there are no early deals on Kindle models right now, you can snag a discount if you purchase a Kindle bundle with a case and power adapter. The Paperwhite Essential Bundle includes a leather cover and a power adapter for charging, while the Kindle Kids Edition Essential Bundle adds a one-year subscription to Amazon Kids+, along with a cover, charger, and screen protector. Paperwhite Essentials Bundle (medium)Kindle Kids Edition Essentials Bundle (medium) When is Amazon Prime Day 2021? Amazon Prime Day 2021 will start on June 21. The two-day sales event will run through June 22. We'll be keeping track of the best deals throughout the sale, so check back for the latest discounts. Prime Day deals are exclusive to Amazon Prime subscribers, so you'll need to sign up to get deals on Amazon devices. Amazon Prime costs $13 a month or $120 per year, but new users can get their first 30 days of Prime for free.Join the conversation about this story »......
Utopian Universities: A Global History of the New Campuses of the 1960s
The most remarkable feature of the mould-breaking expansion of higher education that took place across the world in the 1960s was the foundation of some 200 entirely new universities. In most countries, growth had previously been confined largely to existing institutions or to lesser colleges of various kinds which were required to undergo a long period of tutelage and development before they could be considered for university status. But, in the 1960s, campuses were started from scratch, nearly always funded by the state, usually promising new institutional structures and innovative curriculum design, often boasting eye-catching new buildings by star architects. Examples of this phenomenon can be found across the world, especially in the countries of the former British empire, but, both at the time and since, developments in the UK attracted most attention, providing the models for what was to follow elsewhere. In the space of four years, seven new universities were opened in England: Sussex (1961), East Anglia [UEA], York (both 1963), Lancaster (1964), Essex, Kent, and Warwick (all 1965). Belatedly, and without either the brio or the funding of ‘the magnificent seven’, they were joined by the University of Stirling (1967) and the New University of Ulster (1968); the latter remains the last entirely new publicly-funded university to be established in the UK. Utopian Universities brings together twenty contributions on aspects of the new universities of the 1960s; two thirds of them concentrate on developments in the UK, with the rest addressing selected examples elsewhere, both in the former British dominions and in Europe. It is a truism, of course, that a university is in one sense never started ‘from scratch’. For even the most ‘utopian’ planner, the past provides a storehouse of models to be emulated and pitfalls to be avoided. In the British case, the story has to begin not in 1961 but in the debates about the character and purpose of higher education that were such a feature of the late 1940s and 1950s. A recurring motif of these debates was dissection of the alleged failings of what were usually called the ‘civic’ or (after the publication of Bruce Truscot’s Red Brick in 1943) ‘redbrick’ universities: over-specialization of the curriculum, departmentalism, lack of community, absence of close contact between teachers and taught. Some remedies were attempted within the redbricks themselves in these years, notably a big expansion of halls of residence, sometimes with living quarters for one or more members of the academic staff who were to act as warden or tutor. A more radical approach was attempted by what was in effect a precursor of the ‘new’ universities, the University College of North Staffordshire, started in 1949 and chartered in 1962 as Keele University (discussed here in a notably thoughtful chapter by Miles Taylor). Its founder, the Scottish philosopher A.D. Lindsay, who had been Master of Balliol, attempted to displace the civic model altogether, designing an institution that rejected departments and single-honours degrees while also aiming to have all students and, remarkably, their teachers living on site. But Keele was a one-off, tiny and almost freakishly experimental. In the course of the 1950s, it became accepted, both in Whitehall and the University Grants Committee [UGC], that a much bigger expansion would be needed, partly to accommodate the increasing desire for tertiary education from an already growing cohort of school-leavers, partly to provide future places for the members of the post-war ‘baby boom’ as they came of age. In accounting for the intellectual genealogy of the new institutions, it is important to recognize just how far some idealized picture of the workings of Oxford and Cambridge had underlain these critiques of redbrick universities in the first place. Grandees like Sir Walter Moberly, the first full-time chairman of the UGC and former Vice-Chancellor of Manchester, constantly harped on the great benefits of the small cross-generational communities represented by Oxbridge colleges, while nearly all of those involved in the planning of the new universities had been educated at Oxbridge and spent at least part of their careers there. It is telling that several of the features considered to be so crucial to the success of the new ventures, such as on-site residences, communal dining, and the indivisibility of intellectual and social contacts between teachers and students, were not only the kinds of thing that had been felt to be lacking in the redbricks: they had never been part of the Scottish university tradition and were even more alien to most continental European universities. Startlingly new in some respects, the ‘plate-glass’ universities, as they were soon christened, were deeply traditional in their fundamental identities. They were overwhelmingly undergraduate institutions in their early years, with graduate education only growing very slowly. The student body was predominantly male, with gender parity not reached until the 1990s. Nearly all of them confined the curriculum to the major arts and science subjects, with no engineering, business, medicine, or even law in most cases. And they all immediately resorted to ‘invented traditions’ in terms of crests, mottoes, academic dress for graduation ceremonies, and so on (students wore gowns when taking their exams at Lancaster, the first college at Kent had a ‘high table’ in its dining hall, ‘while UEA managed to get £10,000 from the [Norwich] City Council to lay down a good wine cellar and a suitably dignified butler to go with it’). From one perspective, they could look like British versions of the more ambitious of the ‘liberal arts’ colleges in the USA. For a different comparison, one might, at a stretch, see Britain’s new universities as, in some respects, sharing something with the grammar-school culture of the period (the majority of their students were drawn from these schools). Both the new universities and the grammar-schools attempted a modest broadening of access beyond the established social elite while still remaining fiercely selective; both concentrated on the major ‘academic’ subjects rather than more directly vocational or applied courses; both believed in the importance of fostering cultural and sporting activities alongside study. Both could encourage irreverent, even mildly seditious, attitudes while at the same time embodying a deeply traditional conception of education. It is often forgotten just how revolutionary the process of establishing the new universities was. Nearly all the existing universities in England outside Oxbridge and London had had to go through lengthy initial periods of tutelage to an established institution, usually preparing students for London external degrees. The UGC monitored the progress of ‘university colleges’, such as Leicester, Southampton, Hull and so on, over many years before they were chartered as universities and awarded degree-granting powers of their own. But the decision was taken in the late 1950s that the proposed new universities would be granted their charters and degree-awarding powers from the outset. The freedom to shape the institution that was given to the planning groups and the founding members of staff now seems extraordinary. It had its roots in the shared culture among senior academics, Whitehall mandarins, local worthies, and others in the middle- and upper-middle-class professions. The role of Sir Keith Murray, an exceptionally astute chair of the UGC over the relevant period, was crucial, as were the representatives of the Great and Good who populated the initial Academic Planning Boards and thereafter the Academic Advisory Councils (figures such as Sir Solly Zuckerman and Lord Annan clearly exercised considerable influence). A strong and well-researched chapter by Jill Pellew emphasizes both the part played by local Chief Education Officers in energizing local support for the proposed universities and the role, now largely forgotten, of private philanthropy in their earliest years. Keith Murray, in particular, was always insistent that universities needed multiple forms of support, rather than being reliant simply on a grant from the central state, but already by the 1970s the new institutions were all almost completely sustained by that one source (endowment accounted for 1% of income at all of them except Warwick - where it rose to 2%). The founding of these seven new universities met the concerns of the previous couple of decades unevenly. For some years after 1945 there had been repeated calls for the UK to increase its number of qualified scientists and technologists. This demand was partly addressed by expanding science numbers in the civic universities, partly by the founding of ten Colleges of Advanced Technology in 1956, and partly by attempts to beef up relevant forms of training in the technical colleges. These developments took some of the pressure off the new universities in this respect, and although they all had courses in pure science in one form or another, they mostly did not, at least to begin with, offer the more applied forms. The creation of the new institutions did, of course, go some way to meet the increased demand for places, but even here their contribution was, for a long time, dwarfed by expansion in the existing universities: by 1970 the new English universities accounted for just 8.5% of the total student population. The issues they addressed most squarely were the supposed failings of the redbricks: lack of community, over-specialization, departmentalism. Although attempts to bridge the arts-science divide largely consisted of unrealized, perhaps unrealizable, good intentions, and although research in the natural sciences tended to be pursued along narrow disciplinary lines, these institutions really did succeed for a while in ‘re-drawing the map of learning’ (the phrase was coined to describe Sussex’s founding ambitions), and their imaginatively-designed courses—wide-ranging, comparative, question-driven, and sometimes collaboratively taught—generated an intellectual excitement evident in the testimony of both staff and students in the early years. Once one gets beyond the media stereotypes and broad-brush polemical histories, the differences among the magnificent seven become at least as fascinating as their similarities. Sussex and UEA were perhaps the most successful in combining interdisciplinary aspirations with institutional innovation, while York and Kent deftly blended new thinking with more traditional structures. Those four represented the ideal of the ‘new’ universities in its purest form and all four of them displayed the clear imprint of Oxbridge. Lancaster bore some resemblance to Kent (both, like York, were collegiate), but under its maverick vice-chancellor, Charles Carter, it went in for commercially-sponsored residences and embraced a variety of more applied subjects, such as business and management studies, systems engineering, social administration, and law. Essex was in some ways the most ‘utopian’, and owed more to US models than the others, as well as being committed to a fiercely uncompromising form of modern urbanism in its design. Warwick was, from the start, something of an outlier. The other six were all built just outside attractive county or ‘cathedral’ towns: Brighton, Canterbury, Colchester, Lancaster, Norwich, York. By contrast, Warwick was initially intended to be sited in a large industrial city as ‘the University of Coventry’, only later taking the county name and being built on its greenfield campus. It had closer links with industry than the others and embraced various applied subjects sooner than most. It was in some ways nearer to the civic university model, an identity confirmed by its being the only one of the erstwhile new universities to be included in the Russell Group of ‘top’ universities when this was founded in 1994 (when the group expanded in 2012 York also joined it). No single story can be told about the various trends that coalesced into the new universities of the 1960s. According to one’s purposes, different elements can be emphasized—demographic, political, ideological, pedagogic, and so on. As a whole, this volume is strongest on the local sources of support for the new institutions, on the variable architectural achievements of their campuses, and on student activism in the years between 1967 and 1972; it also rightly emphasizes the role of central government, both in the UK and elsewhere. But perhaps from this distance what now seems most striking about the whole episode is how it represents the high-water mark of confidence in the university as an institution of liberal education. From the late 1940s to the late 1960s, and even in some respects up till the late 1970s, the dominant consensus favoured academic autonomy, the free pursuit of scholarship and science, and the realization of not just the intellectual but the human potential of students. The peak of this confidence was reached in the years between 1961 and 1967. The new universities still had warm local support. Relations, both internal and external, had not yet been scarred by clashes over student protests (which challenged some of the assumptions of the liberal founders). Money was available for continued expansion. The new institutions were still small, almost cosily so; Sussex, the largest in this period, only grew to 3,000 students by the late 1960s. This meant that the ideal of a community of teachers and taught could still have some everyday embodiment. The project of breaking down disciplinary boundaries and banishing departmental parochialism still seemed on course to be realized. Universities were not yet subject to pressures towards directly vocational or applied studies—indeed, Anthony Crosland’s announcement of the binary principle in 1965, establishing the parallel polytechnic sector, indirectly had the effect of allowing universities to concentrate on their traditional purposes. To class these universities as ‘utopian’ may create a misleading impression, one which emphasizes the political and counter-cultural trends for which ‘the sixties’ are now remembered. Focusing on the ideals of their founders, rooted as they were in the 1940s and 1950s or even earlier, it may be more accurate to see these institutions as notably self-assured expressions of a well-established belief in the value of scholarship and science in forming, not round pegs for the round holes of the employment market, but capable, reflective, informed citizens. In any collective volume, the chapters are bound to be of variable quality. In the present case, the general standard is high, though contributors seem to have been allowed a good deal of freedom in deciding what to cover. The best chapters—such as Allen Warren’s on York, or Marion McClintock’s on Lancaster, or, especially, Krishan Kumar’s on Kent—are those which combine the insights of long-serving insiders with an analytical historical frame. (The merits of the chapters on Keele and on philanthropy have already been mentioned.) Several other chapters tend either to stick close to the familiar official accounts or to be idiosyncratically selective (some of the latter, such as Carolyn Steedman’s discussion of E.P. Thompson and social history at Warwick, can be fascinating in their own right). In principle, it is a great merit of this collection that it attempts to cover some of the parallel developments elsewhere in the world, with chapters on California, Canada, Australia, India, France, and West Germany, together with an excellent overview chapter by Miles Taylor on the British Commonwealth as a whole (which incidentally brings out the importance not just of Oxbridge in general but of Balliol philosophy tutors and former students in particular). In practice, one or two of these chapters take a rather parochial or high-handed approach to their topic, making impossible any kind of comparison with the British example on matters such as curriculum, teaching methods, academic governance, and so on (the informative chapters on Australia by Hannah Forsyth and West Germany by Stefan Paulus are the most helpful for this purpose). One thing that does emerge from these accounts is the importance of the UK example, and especially of Sussex, as standard-bearer for the whole new university movement. From the Chinese University of Hong Kong to Simon Fraser University in British Columbia to Flinders University in Adelaide to Jawaharlal Nehru University in Delhi, Sussex was an explicit source of inspiration (which makes it even more of a pity that it is poorly served by the chapter ostensibly devoted to it). Overall, the volume is a brave stab at doing justice to the informing ideals of the new universities, but the story it has to tell is unmistakably a story of defeat. In every case, the creative curricula and the innovative institutional structures that flourished in the 1960s and into the 1970s became victims of the chill winds of the 1980s and 1990s. Most reverted to some version of the single-subject honours degree; most restored departments; most set up business schools, as well as coming to teach law, engineering, and social work. Governance became less and less democratic, moving towards having a ‘senior management team’ answerable to a largely external Court or Council, bypassing Academic Senates; staff-student ratios plummeted and with them went some of the more innovative forms of teaching; any idea of a residential community of teachers and taught was soon abandoned. By the opening decades of the 21st century, several of these supposedly ‘utopian’ institutions looked like lesser, sometimes slightly dispirited, versions of the old civics. Above all, they became much, much bigger, and it may be the enormous expansion of the higher education system as a whole that finally engulfed the ideas of the founding generation. So much of the thinking which inspired the new universities was premised on having institutions of what now seems an unfeasibly modest size: this was the precondition of community, liveable scale, close contacts between students and teachers, and—important if now unpopular—a highly selective intake (for a brief period, Sussex and York were receiving around 20 applications for every undergraduate place). It may be that another aspect of the resemblance to grammar schools is evident here: for good democratic reasons, comprehensive schools have replaced grammar schools (and secondary moderns) in most parts of the country, and something may have been lost thereby as well as much gained. Similarly, the huge expansion of universities has allowed large swathes of the population to benefit from some kind of higher education, an emphatically positive form of democratic enfranchisement. However, this expansion, when allied to other social and ideological changes, has meant a turn to universities being more and more regarded as competitors in a market, aiming to please their consumer-students, while increasingly, though not yet exclusively, functioning as service centres for the economy. There is now less room for the ideals which the new universities went a long way to actualizing in the 1960s. This useful if uneven volume provides abundant material for reflection on what has been gained and lost in this transformation. Theme: Empire and EducationReview type: ReviewPeriod: 20th CenturyHistory type: Administrative HistoryArt and ArchitectureEconomic HistoryEducationPolitical HistoryScience and TechnologySocial HistoryGeographical area: North AmericaAustralasia and PacificAsiaBritain and IrelandEuropeReview Number: 2434Publish date: January 2021Frontpage teaser: Stefan Collini explores what flourished and fell away from the establishment of some 200 new university campuses worldwide between 1961 and 1970, and what models and dreams inspired their creation.Reviewer: Stefan ColliniReviewed Item: Utopian Universities: A Global History of the New Campuses of the 1960sComputed title: Utopian Universities: A Global History of the New Campuses of the 1960s / eds. Jill Pellew, Miles TaylorArticle DOI: 10.14296/RiH/2014/2434...
Hamid Dalwai's "Muslim Politics in Secular India
Hamid Dalwai's "Muslim Politics in Secular India".This is the book "Muslim Politics in Secular India" by Hamid Dalwai, 1968, as entered in facebook by Vipul Kashyap. Chapter 3 is missing. Also an appendix has been added "Sita Ram Goel on Hamid Dalwai" from the book "Defence of Hindu Society" by Voice of India, 1983.THE PDF OF THIS ARTICLE HAS BEEN UPLOADED BY ME ON ACADEMIA.EDU MUSLIM POLITICS IN SECULAR INDIAby Hamid Dalwai[29-9-1932 To 3-5-1977] CONTENTSForewordPreface1 Historical Background2 Reading the Mind of Indian Muslims3 Muslims: The so-called nationalists and the Communalists [Missing]4 The Communal Malady: A Diagnosis5 Strange Bedfellows: Communists Intimacy with Communalists6 The Chief Obstacle in the way of Muslim Integration7 Muslim Opposition to Secular Integration: Nature, Causes and Remedies8 Humanistic Modernism the only Solution9 Indian Muslims at the Crossroads10 Failure of a Mission?11 The Meaning of Bangla Desh12 The Angry Young Secularist[Appendix added: Sita Ram Goel on Hamid Dalwai]FOREWORDA.B.Shah, Indian Secular Forum I shall not try to summarize Mr Dalwai's views in this foreword, forthe simple reason that I am in almost total agreement with him. Iwould rather mention here the central point of his argument andelaborate it with a view to bringing out its significance. Mr.Dalwai's thesis is that the basic malaise of Muslim society (in Indiaas elsewhere with the exception of Turkey and perhaps Tunisia) lies inthe fact that it has never had a renaissance in its entire history ofmore than thirteen hundred years. All other problems, including thatof its secular and democratic integration in the larger Indiansociety, are derivative in character. In the absence of suchintegration, what has come to be known as the Hindu-Muslim problemcannot be solved. However, the type of integration that is necessaryhere cannot be achieved unless Muslims no less than Hindus learn toseparate religion from the rights and obligations of citizenship of amodern state. And only those can promote such integration whothemselves are committed to the values of an open society and to theoutlook on man and the universe that is sanctioned by science andscientific method. Others can at best play a passive role, if notobstruct the process of integration. If one accepts this view of theproblem, one cannot help feeling that Integration Committeesappointed by Governments are not likely to accomplish anything worththe name. For instance, the Committee appointed among its members notMaharashtra includes among its members not only representatives ofall political parties but also of the Majlis-e-Mushawarat, whoseleaders do not believe in Hindu-Muslim co-operation for fightingcommunalism (see M. A. Karandikar's letter `Muslims & India' in `TheTimes of India', Bombay, November 11, 1968). Indeed, the Committee isso large - it has sixty members - that it could have easily been madecompletely representative by adding a Naxalite communist and a memberof the R.S.S. ! It is clear that good intentions are not enough for lesser men tosolve problems where one like Gandhi could not succeed. Hindu-Muslimunity and the abolition of untouchability were two of the mostimportant elements of his programme for the freedom and regenerationof India. In a sense they were among the pre-conditions of Swaraj ashe visualized it, and therefore he often described their attainment aseven more important than the withdrawal of British power from India.He succeeded in considerable measure in his fight againstuntouchability. Though much remains to be done, no Hindu except thelunatic fringe represented by the Shankaracharya of Puri would have amoment's hesitation in supporting measures designed to bring about thecomplete liquidation of untouchability. However, Hindu-Muslim unityevaded Gandhi throughout his active life in India except for a briefspell during the Khilafat agitation. Not only that; in spite ofGandhi's ceaseless effort the country had to accept partition as theprice of freedom. And soon after Independence Gandhi had to die atthe hands of a Hindu fanatic, though he alone among the leaders of theIndian National Congress was unreconciled to partition. Why did thishappen? How was it that Gandhi who advised the Hindus to be patientand generous to the Muslims, and who asked the British to hand overpower to Jinnah if they so preferred but quit, came to be increasinglyisolated not only from the Muslims but even from his own followers inhis quest for unity? And how is it that twenty-one years afterpartition the Hindu-Muslim problem is still with us, in the sense thatwe are still groping even for a valid theoretical solution? Asatisfactory discussion of these question would require an examinationof Gandhi's philosophy of life, his theory of social change and, mostimportant of all, the nature of the Hindu and Islamic traditions andthe types of mind that they mould. All this cannot be undertaken inthe space of a foreword and must wait for a later date. Here I shallonly deal with some of these questions and that, too, to the extentthat is necessary for indicating the lines on which further discussionmay usefully proceed.Gandhi was essentially a philosophical anarchist in his view of manand did not subscribe to the idea of original sin. On the contrary,he believed that man was 'essentially' good, for every human being hada spark of the divine in him and no one was beyond redemption eventhough the struggle for self-realization was bound to be arduous andlong. He therefore approached the problem of Hindu-Muslim unity as awell-meaning, persuasive, non-sectarian nationalist. He worked on theassumption, based on his experience in South Africa, that if onlyHindus and Muslims could be brought together in joint constructiveendeavour, they would see that unity was in their common interest andlearn to live together in peace and harmony. To this end he sought toproject the universal human values preached by all major religionsincluding Hinduism and Islam, and hoped that in the course of time theforces of unity would triumph over those of separatism. For, accordingto Gandhi's way of thinking, `true' religion could only join, not keepseparate men of different faiths. If Hindus and Muslims in Indiaregarded themselves as essentially separate groups the fault, Gandhithought, lay not in the beliefs and practices enjoined by theirscriptures but in a defective understanding of their 'real' message. This is a noble view of man and religion. But it overlooks thefact that man, as a product of evolution, is a union of good and evil,just as it overlooks the historically determined character of hisculture and institutions. Consequently, Gandhi missed the deepersocio-historical and cultural roots of the religious conflict inIndia. Instead, he attributed its origin to the wily British, whocertainly were interested in keeping the Muslims away from the`seditious' and `Hindu' nationalist movement. Gandhi was satisfiedthat if only there were enough goodwill on the part of a sufficientnumber of Hindus and Muslims, sooner or later they would realize thesuicidal implications of religious conflict and work together for theattainment of freedom from foreign rule. This approach, because itpostulated the peaceful coexistence of Hindus and Muslims without anyfundamental modification of their attitude to religion, was bound tofail. It did not take into account the hold that religion with itsdogma, tradition, custom and ritual has on the minds of men in apre-modern society. Also, it presupposed that the logic of individualor small-group behavior could be applied to huge, faceless masseswhose only common bond is blind loyalty to a tribal collectivity inthe sacred name of God and religion. This is another way of saying that the Gandhian approach wassaintly in the main. It was also akin to the Marxist, in the sensethat it assigned a derivative role to the cultural factor. Gandhibelieved that the urge for freedom would enable the Muslims to take anenlightened view of their religion. This, however, presupposes that acertain measure of individuation has already taken place in theculture system known as Islam, and Gandhi assumed that it had. TheHindu mind is essentially individualistic, indeed narcissistic, sothat it is easy for it to transcend intermediate loyalties and take tothe path of individual salvation. This has its disadvantages as wellas advantages, and perhaps the former outweigh the latter. The pointis that it is difficult for a Hindu to visualize, except by a specialeffort of reason and the imagination, a mind that is almost totallylacking in the conception of the individual and derives thesignificance of human life solely from the individual's membership ofcollectivity. This, however, seems to be a characteristic feature ofalmost all cultures based on revealed religion. If Christian cultureappears to be different in this respect that is because almost fromits inception Christianity was influenced by the Greek tradition. Itwas the revival of the Greek tradition that led to the Renaissance andthe rise of Protestantism with its stress on personal interpretationof the Holy Writ. The humanization of Christianity, with theconsequent growth of a secular conception of individuality was thus adirect outcome of its interaction with the Greek tradition. It isworth noting in this connection that unlike the People of the Bookthe Greeks were not blessed with a prophet nor, unlike the Hindus, torely on reason and observation alone for discovering the nature ofthings. Also they were polytheist and their gods were hardlydistinguishable from human beings with superhuman powers but entirelynon-transcendental interests. Consequently, the Greeks could developa tradition of critical inquiry and a climate of tolerance necessaryto let `a hundred schools contend' and `a hundred flowers bloom'.They had also another advantage. They had no counterpart of theVedas, which the Hindus regarded as eternal and uncreated by man.Unlike the Hindus, they were therefore free from the burden ofunchanging Truth and able to create science as quest and the idea ofscientific method as providing a tool of inquiry as well as acriterion for the validity of its findings. The Greek tradition might have had a similar effect on Islam too.But by the time Islam came in contact with it - in the reign ofal Mamun (813-833) - the latter had already lost its elan and Islam toohad outgrown its formative stage. More important still, Islam arosein a society that was riven with inter-tribal feuds, had no stateworth the name and did not hesitate to subject dissent to crude tribalpersecution. The founder of Islam had therefore also to found a statebefore its message was fully delivered, let alone developed in contactwith a more advanced culture without the arbitration of force. Therapid and spectacular expansion of Islam during the hundred yearsfollowing the death of the Prophet over the stagnant and oftendecadent societies of the surrounding region also had an inhibitoryeffect on its future development. For continued victory over othersstrengthened the Muslim's conviction that his faith was not onlyperfect but superior to others and its doctrine, infallible. Dissent,when it arose was as ruthlessly put down in Islam as in mediaevalChristianity, so that even the finest and most courageous of Muslimscholars were careful to avoid saying anything that might appear asquestioning the fundamental tenets of the faith. Thus the Mutaziliteswho made use of Greek ideas in the exposition and defense of Islamictheological doctrine, `were regarded as heretical by the main body ofSunnite Muslims' and were treated as such. Even Ibn Sina, one of thefew really great Muslim philosophers, was criticized by authorities ofthe Muslim tradition for `limiting the power of God to a predeterminedlogical structure' and for `diminishing the sense of awe of the finitebefore the infinite'. Nor is that all. Ibn Sina himself in the lateryears seems to have turned into - or posed as - a devout gnostic.Indeed, `it comes as something of a shock to be confronted with thethickening web of "irrational" elements in the writings of such apersonality as Avicenna'. I have deliberately dwelt at some length on this aspect of Islamas a cultural tradition. The reason is not that Islam is unique inits record of intolerance in the past: it is, rather, that Islam stillexhibits the same intolerance of free inquiry and dissent as it did inless enlightened times. What little possibility there might have beenof the softening of this attitude through the development of scienceand philosophy after the mutual persecution of the Mutazilites andtheir orthodox opponents was effectively destroyed by al-Ghazali (d.1111) for centuries to come. His work ensured that no renaissancewould ever take place in Muslim society unless, as in Turkey, it wereimposed from above. Muslim scholars look upon al-Ghazali as thegreatest thinker that Islamic culture has produced. I am inclined tobelieve that he was the greatest disaster that befell it since thedeath of the Prophet. So great has been the hold of orthodoxy on the Muslim mind thatnowhere has Muslim society so far been able to throw up an articulateclass of liberal Muslims committed to modern values and all thatsuch a commitment means in various fields of life. Such a class canalone subject the tradition of Islam to a critical scrutiny andprepare the ground for the entry of Muslim society into the modernage. For, as the experience of developing countries in the post-Warperiod shows, efforts to modernize the political and economic systemsin the absence of social and cultural modernization accompanying, ifnot preceding them can only result in frustration or perversion. That the issue is basic to the future of Muslim society isillustrated by the still unresolved conflict, characteristic of almostthe entire Muslim world, between the conception of territorialnationalism and that of a politico-religious ummat that cuts acrossnational boundaries. The repeated attempts of the Muslim Brotherhoodto assassinate President Nasser in the name of Islam merely show thatthe conflict cannot be resolved until the very ethos of Islamicculture undergoes a qualitative change. To initiate a process thatwould bring about such a transformation is the historic taskconfronting educated Muslims everywhere in the world. There are signsof this happening in some of the countries - Pakistan, forexample - where Muslims have to face the responsibility of running thestate. However, there are serious difficulties in their path, not theleast of which is the self-contradictory situation in which politiciansgenerally find themselves by trying to eat their cake and have it too.At home the demands of development often compel them to adoptpolicies, such as family planning and drastic modification of personallaw, which cannot but provoke the wrath of the orthodox. At the sametime, they do not hesitate to rouse and exploit the religious passionsof their people when it suits their convenience, especially ininternational politics. Duplicity of this kind may prove useful forthe time being but the price it exacts in the long run is likely to beout of all proportion to the gains. For instance, it inhibits thegrowth of genuinely critical, as distinguished from pedantic andapologetic, scholarship. The latter type of scholarship, of whichthere is enough in the Muslim world, is generally sterile if notpositively harmful, from the standpoint of modernization. It is onlythe critical spirit that can release the springs of creativity andwash away the debris of centuries. The tragedy of Indian Muslims does not lie so much in thebackwardness of a vast majority of them in relation to theHindus - which is only a symptom - as in the unwillingness of educatedMuslims to undertake a critical reappraisal of their heritage. Thecost would be insignificant compared to what it would be in a countryunder Muslim rule or what their Hindu counterparts had to pay in thepreceding century. But the consciousness of a separate identity orthe desire to conform is unbelievably strong among them. Forinstance, even an eminent scholar like Professor M. Mujeeb finds itadvisable to begin an otherwise magnificent work with the followingobeisance to orthodoxy : `It is the author's firm belief that theIndian Muslims have, in their religion of Islam, and in the true(sic) representatives of the moral and spiritual values of Islam themost reliable standards of judgment, and they do not need to lookelsewhere to discover how high or low they stand'. This is very muchreminiscent of Hindu pandits of the past, who began their treatiseswith an invocation to God regardless of whether in subsequent pagesthey were to deal with logic or mathematics, statecraft or erotics.If Gandhi was guilty of the saint's fallacy and educated Muslims ofexcessive group-consciousness or desire to conform, the Marxists wereguilty of over-simplification and false induction. They sought tointerpret Hindu-Muslim relations in terms of economic interests andthe machinations of the British. Gandhi as well as the Marxistsassumed that the Muslim masses, as distinguished from theirupper-class leadership, had at heart the same political and economicinterests as their Hindu counterparts. They therefore concluded thatas the struggle against political and economic injustice gatheredmomentum, the basis of Hindu-Muslim conflict would gradually beundermined. And once freedom was established and justice was on themarch, the two communities would, it was hoped, begin to live infriendship and peace. In this perspective no critical examination ofreligion as a socio-cultural institution, let alone a frontal attackon some of the values and attitudes it sanctified, was considerednecessary by either group. That Gandhi should not have seen the need for such criticism iseasy to understand. What is surprising is the attitude of those whoswore by Marx. For the left arose as a standard bearer ofenlightenment and was as much a protest against religious obscurantismas against exploitation in the secular field. It is true that IndianMarxists were unsparing in their criticism of Hindu obscurantism. Butthat was relatively easy in view of the rather amorphous nature ofHinduism and the tradition of critical self-inquiry started by thereformers of the nineteenth century. There was no such tradition inMuslim society nor was there a large enough class of liberal,forward-looking Muslims which, like its Hindu counterpart in thepreceding century, could initiate such a tradition. Consequently,Islam escaped the humanizing process through which Christianity in theWest and, to a certain extent, Hinduism in India had to pass.Inspired by considerations that were primarily political, the Marxistsno less than the Gandhians missed the true nature of the role that thedoctrine and tradition of Islam played in the evolution of Muslimpolitics in India. Gandhi made Khilafat a national cause in order towin the confidence of Indian Muslims. The Marxists were notparticularly impressed by Gandhi's support of the Khilafat agitation.But they too dared not criticize Muslim communalism except inpolitical terms, whereas what was required was a thorough-goingcritique of the philosophy and sociology of Islam of the type thatMarx considered `the beginning of all criticism.' Even M. N. Roy, whoalone among Indian Marxists subjected Hinduism to such an analysis,failed in this respect. It is here that Mr. Dalwai is breaking new ground, though in anindirect way. His interest in the non-religious aspect of Islam stemsfrom his concern over the problem of Hindu-Muslim relations and itsbearing on our effort to develop a modern and liberal society inIndia. He therefore does not deal with religion as such, or withIslam as a religion, except insofar as religion is used as a cloak forobscurantist and anti-humanist ends. It may therefore be useful toconsider here in brief the process by which all religions come to beso used and defeat the inspiration of their founders. Every religion offers to its followers a vision of life and atheory that incorporates this vision. In the history of everyreligion, however, a stage arrives when the vision fades into thebackground except for a socially ineffective minority, and the theoryachieves an absolute status unrelated to the historical situation inwhich it first arose. When this happens religion proves a fetter onhuman freedom and creativity, superstition triumphs over science, andethics itself is perverted into a specious justification of socialinequities. Mediaeval Christianity and Hinduism from classical timesto the early years of the nineteenth century provide ample evidencefor this view. The Renaissance humanized Christianity and Hinduismtoo underwent a partial but significant change of the same type in thenineteenth century. However, Islam still awaits its renaissance, andtill it takes place Muslim society cannot be modernized nor canMuslim society cannot be modernized nor can Muslims be integratedinto a modern secular society, regardless of whether it is liberal orauthoritarian. The problem of Hindu-Muslim unity thus appears as an aspect of thelarger problem of the modernization of Indian society. For, given thecomposition, past history and present context of this society, itwould be unrealistic to imagine that the Hindu and the Muslim can livetogether as equal citizens unless each were willing to dissociate hispolitical from his religious or cultural identity. For historical andother reasons, the Hindu is at an advantage in this respect. Butprecisely because of that, he has to accept the onus of promoting themodernization of Muslim society. So far, he has defaulted on thisresponsibility, apparently out of expediency but mainly because hisown understanding of the task of modernization has been superficialand imitative. Consequently, well-meaning Hindus in public life havegenerally been soft-headed secularists in relation to Muslim society.Over the years their attitude has seriously damaged not only the causeof democratic secular integration but also the interests of Muslimsthemselves. It has created a vested interest in obscurantism, andencourages among educated Muslims a tendency to self-pity of the MockTurtle kind instead of facilitating the emergence of a secular andforward-looking Muslim leadership. Worse still, in reaction to thepersistent refusal, in the name of religion, of the spokesmen ofMuslim society to meet the demands of the modern conscience and therequirements of the modern age, a growing number of well-meaningHindus are rallying under the banner of Hindu revivalism. If thepresent trend continues unchecked, in a few years from now mostpolitically articulate Hindus and Muslims will be confronting eachother from platforms like those of the R.S.S. and the Jamaat-e-Islami.One need not worry about their fate-indeed, I would say to them: `aplague on both your houses!' But an overwhelming majority of thepeople of this country, be they Hindu or Muslim, are entitled to amore decent society and its chances would suffer a great set-back.That is why Mr. Dalwai pleads that those who speak in the name ofsecularism and democracy should refuse to have any truck withobscurantist groups claiming to represent the interests of Muslimseven if it means the loss of the Muslim votes for some years to come.There are enough secular-minded Muslims, mostly of the youngergeneration, who would like to establish rapport with their Hinducounterparts. They feel alienated from the bulk of their communityand also from the Hindus because of the latter's narcissistic attitudeand short-sighted opportunism. Let secular Hindus seek them out andgive them a sense of belonging, not as Hindus or Muslims but asfellow-citizens engaged in building an open society in India. I do not know to what extent Mr. Dalwai will succeed in persuadingeducated Muslims of the older generation to look upon his approachwith sympathy. But I know from personal observation that he hassucceeded in striking a chord in the hearts of younger Muslims whoseem to be groping for new moorings in post-partition Indian society.I also know that he has been able to give well-meaning Hindus,particularly the idealistically motivated members of the youngergeneration, a feeling that Hindu revivalism is no way of meeting thechallenge of Muslim obscurantism. That also explains why those whobelieve that India should become a Hindu Rashtra have started havingsecond thoughts about him. And if the younger generation of Hindus,who constitute nearly eighty five per cent of the population of thiscountry can be prevented from turning obscurantist, what others thinkof Mr. Dalwai is of little consequence for the future of secularism inIndia. A. B. SHAH, President, Indian Secular Forum PREFACEOn January 24-25, 1968, Sadhana - a Marathi weekly published fromPoona - had convened a seminar on the Hindu-Muslim problem. Thesearticles are based on notes for my lecture in the seminar. Sadhanasubsequently published them in the form of four articles. To these, Ihave added more articles specially written for this English edition. I am grateful to professor A. B. Shah for the co-operation he hasgiven me in preparing this book for publication in Englishtranslation, and I must also thank Mr Dilip Chitre for translating thearticles into English. The Indian Secular Forum has sponsored the publication of thisbook and I am grateful to this organization for all the assistance ithas given me.HAMID DALWAIChapter 1HISTORICAL BACKGROUNDFor the last few years I have been writing and speaking in public onthe Hindu-Muslim communal problem in India. My analysis of theproblem has had a mixed reception. Now that I am publishing myarticles in the form of a book, I would like to explain my views insome detail to my readers-both Hindu and Muslim. And I also have tomake an appeal to them. It is obvious why the Muslim reaction to my views should be asadverse as it is. It is also understandable why the Hindus havegenerally welcomed my views, although there are some Hindus whobelieve that my articles and speeches are aimed at confusing them. Although the Muslims have generally reacted adversely to my views,there is some variety in their positions. Among my critics are somewho had opposed the creation of Pakistan. However, the reason whythey were opposed to the partitioning of the Indian sub-continent wasthat they dreamt of converting the whole of India into Dar-ul-Islam.Therefore, now that Pakistan has already been created, their effortsare directed towards merging the rest of India with that Islamicstate. On the other hand, there are Indian Muslims who are beingmodernized gradually. At present, such Muslims are few and they areconfused. They have doubts and anxieties about their future and theyare worried about the security of the Muslim community itself inIndia. Being in doubt and feeling insecure, these Muslims oppose anynew and different approach to the communal problem in India. Theyimagine that the security of Indian Muslims lies in clinging to thetraditional structure of Indian society. In short, they believe thatif Muslims were to have any place in Indian life they should remainexactly as they are today. Hence even such Muslims are opposed to myviews. Of these two broad types of Indian Muslims who find my viewsunpalatable, I would not attempt to initiate a dialogue with those whodream of converting India to Islam and of merging it ultimately withPakistan. If these people believe that it is their duty to convertall Indians to Islam by whatever means they can think of, they are theexact counterpart of those extremist Hindus who similarly wish toliquidate all Indian Muslims even if it involved mass extermination.I come from the Muslim community and yet I cannot entirely blame theextremist Hindu communalists. Whereas the extremist Muslimcommunalists have aggressive plans to destroy the Hindu community theextremist Hindus , in reaction to them, want to eliminate the Muslimsin self-defense. Thus I view extremist Hindu communalism as areaction to Muslim communalism. Unless Muslim communalism iseliminated, Hindu communalism will not disappear. At the same time,one has to bear in mind that extremist Muslim communalists are somuch obsessed by their grand dream of converting the whole of India toIslam that no argument at present will affect any change in theirattitude. Their grand dream has to terminate in a granddisillusionment first. They must become aware of the fact that theirefforts are foredoomed to failure and their objectives areunattainable. Today, they cannot be made aware of the futility oftheir ambition and hence my appealing to them would serve no usefulpurpose. However, I believe it to be my duty to appeal to those IndianMuslims who are confused and therefore still uncertain in theirapproach to the communal problem in India. They are misguided and,therefore, they are communalist. To initiate a dialogue with them andto make them aware of an alternative approach to the problem will behelpful. Wherever I travel in India, I meet local Muslims and try todiscuss the issue with them. I keep an open mind: for they may havesome genuine problems and difficulties. I try to understand them.Sometimes, I succeed; sometimes, I fail. Generally, old andtradition-bound Muslims uniformly oppose my views. Often, theyboycott my public meetings or have them cancelled. However, the youngMuslims I meet at such discussions do not greet my views with thehostility shown by the older generation. This does not, however, meanthat they agree with me on all points. But neither do they agree withtheir elders. I have always felt that these younger Muslims arestruggling to free themselves from the shackles of rigid, orthodoxthinking. My appeal is addressed to them. Even the younger generation of Indian Muslims imagine that it isthe Hindus who are responsible for all their problems anddifficulties. They often ask me why I single out Muslim communalismfor criticism. It is true that even Hindus are communal-minded.And it is wrong to say that I have kept silent about Hinduscommunalism while criticizing Muslim communalism in India. I havebeen ceaselessly criticizing the movement for a ban on cow-slaughter.However, when I criticize Hindu communalist trends I do not criticizethe Hindus as such. Nor is it the purpose of my criticism to ensurethat Muslims are able to eat beef. That would be a naive way oflooking at the problem. My criticism of the movement for a ban oncow-slaughter is from the agricultural and economic point of view. Ibelieve that such a ban would adversely affect two major nationalinterests: the development of Indian economy. Similarly, when Icriticize certain Muslim attitudes, I criticize them in the context ofbroad national interests which should be the concern of all Indiansregardless of their religious faith. I do not criticize Muslims assuch. It is an old habit of Indian Muslims to blame Hindus for theirwoes. However, the Indian Muslim intelligentsia has never really beencritically introspective. It has not sought to relate its problems toits own attitudes. It has not developed a self-searching,self-critical attitude. Compared to the Hindus, the Indian Muslimsaccepted Western education rather late. As a consequence, the Muslimsremained comparatively backward in several fields. The real cause ofMuslim backwardness is found in the Muslim opposition to educationalreform during the early days of British rule in India. Behind thisview was a peculiar sense of resentment. Muslims in India believedthat the British snatched away from their predecessors what was aMuslim Empire. When Sir Syed Ahmed Khan urged Muslims to acceptmodern Western education the ulema of Deoband came out with the fatwathat Sir Syed was a kafir. How can one blame the Hindus for this? Muslims remained backward because they were religion-boundrevivalists who refused to modernize themselves. Sir Syed Ahmed Khanin this light appears as a great visionary who heralded the IndianMuslim renaissance. It was due to his great efforts that the rigidlyreligious mind of Indian Muslims began to show the first signs of athaw. Educated Muslims began to redefine life in terms of the modernage. They gave up the grand dream of converting India to Islam. Thiswas the beginning of a great upheaval among educated Indian Muslims.A process that should have brought Muslims close to Hindus and broadenedtheir view of man and society. The trend of this process was toward aview according to which Hindus and Muslims would have been looked uponas equals. This process was, however, ironically reversed because modernIndian Muslims proved unequal to the task. Their modernity provedlimited and they lacked the broad vision that could have ensured thecomplete success of the Aligarh renaissance. Ironically, this veryprocess separated the Muslims from the Hindus instead of bringing themcloser together. The old Muslim habit of blaming the Hindus for theirproblems reappeared and was set more firmly than ever. Although SirSyed Ahmed Khan was free from the vice of religious fanaticism helacked the virtue of being free from the atavistic vanity of aninheritor of the Moghul past. In this very period when it waspossible for a national consciousness to emerge Sir Syed Ahmed Khanhimself succumbed to the egoistic conception that Muslims were theconquerors of India. It was he who was the father of separatistMuslim nationalism, and not Jinnah as it is erroneously supposed.Jinnah is only a later version of Sir Syed revised and enlarged. Thusthe aberrant modern Muslim himself was responsible first for aseparatist Muslim nationalism and later for the creation of Pakistan.The foundation of Muslim nationalism is the postulate that Hindu andMuslim societies are autonomous and parallel social structures. It is no fault of the Hindus that the Indian Muslims embraced thistheory of a separate, Muslim nationalism. Nor is it the fault of theHindus that Indian Muslims regarded their own (Indian Muslims')security in India. It is only once in a while that an individual or asociety gets an opportunity to make or mar its own future. TheMuslims lost their rare chance of embracing modernity simultaneouslywith the Hindus when they yielded to the pressure exerted on them bythe ulema of Deoband and rejected English education. History gavethem another chance a little later-the opportunity to strengthenIndian nationalism by joining forces with the Hindus. But they let goeven this opportunity by succumbing to the erroneous notion that Hinduand Muslim societies were autonomous and parallel social structures.They paid scant heed even to geographical realities and refused toconsider where they lived and would live in the future. The problemsfaced by Indian Muslims today can be traced back to these two lostopportunities. If a chance that comes only once in a century iswasted, it takes another century to make up for the loss. It is high time now that younger Muslims became criticallyintrospective and learnt the nature of their own mistake. It is atragic fact that there does not yet exist a class of criticallyintrospective young Muslims in India. A society which puts the blameon the Hindus for its own communalism can hardly be calledintrospective. If Hindu communalism is responsible for Muslimcommunalism by the same logic it would follow that Muslim communalismis equally responsible for Hindu communalism. The truth of the matteris that the Muslim intelligentsia has not yet given up its postulateof parallel society. It has still not learnt to separate religionfrom politics. Their idea of religious freedom is merely that thestructure of the Muslim society in India should remain unaltered.Basically, they are still `Muslim nationalists'. They have notaccepted the modern concept of nationalism, and hence their attemptsto preserve Muslim nationalist trends in the present structure of theIndian polity. There is a curious collusion between these IndianMuslims and the others who envisage the conversion of India to Islam.This is precisely what brings Maulana Abdul Hasan Nadvi of theJamaat-e-Islami and Dr Faridi of the Majlis-e-Mashawarat together onthe same platform. These are the two broad trends one discerns among Indian Muslimstoday. One group has taken its inspiration from Shah Waliullah andthe other regards Sir Syed Ahmed Khan as its mentor and pioneer.Today it is necessary to reject both. The Hindus too had similartrends; they exist even today. But the Hindus also had a liberalhumanist tradition. Nehru kept this tradition alive; Gandhi was asymbol of this same great tradition. That the Indian Muslim communitycould not produce a Gandhi underscores its failure. Only theNorth-West Frontier Province could produce a great man like AbdulGhaffar Khan. But it is significant, though not difficult tounderstand, that Indian Muslims did not respond to him. Will the younger generation of Indian Muslims face this challenge?This is their third, and perhaps last, chance to liberate andmodernize themselves. If they avail themselves of it, they can stillmake up for the loss the Muslim community has suffered by wasting thetwo previous opportunities to create a tradition of modern enlightenedliberalism. The only effective answer to the problems of IndianMuslims would involve on their part a total rejection of theprejudices of history. Only when they rid themselves of themisconceptions that history and tradition produce can they arrive atthe conception of a free, modern mind committed only to fundamentalhuman values. The articles which follow are an attempt in thatdirection. I would earnestly appeal to my young Muslim readers togive them serious critical consideration.I would also like to make a similar request to my Hindu readers.Several Hindu friends have welcomed the attempts of persons like me tomodernize the Muslim community in India. However, there is a class ofHindus which views with suspicion any Muslim's attempt to transformthe consciousness of the community. This does not surprise me. Themotives of even a man of Gandhi's stature were suspiciously viewed bya vast number of Indian Muslims. In such a situation, it is butinevitable that a number of Hindus would suspect the motives of anordinary man like me. It would scarcely be worth the trouble to tryto convince them of my bona fides. However, there are some Hindus whoview Muslim society as a society which, like any other, can betransformed in the course of time. My appeal is addressed to suchHindus. I urge them to accept the facts of the situation first: thereis no class of thoroughly secular Muslims in India today. At the sametime the idea of a common Indian nationality requires that Muslimsociety be integrated in the fabric of a secular Indian society. Theonly way in which this can be achieved is by first creating a smallclass of modern, liberal and secular Muslims. This is precisely whatpeople like me are attempting to do. Personally, I believe that noreligion can provide the foundation for an ideal society. It followsthat neither Islam nor Hinduism can be the basis of an ideal socialorder. Several people ask me where precisely I differ from communalHindus. It should be fairly obvious now where I differ from them andhow radical the differences are. However I agree with them on certainpoints and it would be worthwhile to demarcate clearly the area ofagreement between us. I agree with them that Muslim communalism is astrong force in this country at present. I also agree with them thatin this nation minorities have a claim to equal rights and equalopportunities but they should not have a claim to special status orprivileges. I also agree with them that Kashmir is a part of Indiaand that every Pakistani aggression on Indian soil must be answered bya strong counter-attack. Finally, I agree with the communalistHindu's view that Pakistan was not the last demand of the Muslims ofthis sub-continent. Even today, both among Indian Muslims and amongthe rulers of Pakistan, there are influential groups whose `lastdemand' would be the conversion of the whole of India to Islam. However, I consider suicidal the Hindu communalist attempt toanswer Muslim communalism by obscurantist Hindu revivalism. Muslimcommunalism will be defeated only when the Hindu achieves a greaterdegree of social progress and modernizes himself. By making theHindus more obscurantist - by making them more puritan andorthodox - Muslim communalism can never be eliminated. The movement fora ban on cow-slaughter provides an apt example. I oppose the ban onagro-economic grounds. But I oppose it even more strongly onnon-economic grounds, because if the Hindu belief in the sacredness ofthe cow is encouraged, it would prevent the Hindus from modernizingthemselves and from achieving a greater degree of social progress.The Hindus have slid backward only because of their religiousobscurantism. Mahmud Ghaznavi could defeat Hindu armies simply byusing herds of cows as a shield for his own army! One hopes that suchhistory will not be repeated in modern times. Hindus must discard allthose religious beliefs which hindered their progress and deprivedthem of their freedom. I say this as a friend of the Hindus and notas an antagonist. No Muslim communalist will object to Hinduobscurantism for the reasons I give here, simply because no Muslimcommunalist ever wishes that Hindu society should become modern anddynamic. As a matter of fact, to protect their own medievalobscurantist beliefs the Muslims would find it convenient that theHindus also remained medieval-minded religious puritans. I attackall aspects of medieval religious obscurantism whether it is Muslimor Hindu. And hence I am opposed to the movement for a ban oncow-slaughter. Eighty-five per cent of the population of this countryis Hindu and therefore the progress of this nation depends on theHindus becoming dynamic, modern and advanced. And I want this nationto be advanced, powerful and prosperous because my individual futureis inextricably tied up with it. I would go even further and tell thecommunalist Hindus that they cannot free Muslims from the shackles oftheir own obscurantist beliefs if the Hindus themselves remainreligion-bound. To modernize Indian Muslims, Hindus must firststrengthen the forces of modernization among themselves. When IndianMuslims are shocked out of their slumber by the advancement andmodernization of Hindu society, a similar process will start in Muslimsociety and that would help the efforts of persons like me. Hindu communalists should not continue to make the tragic blunderof mistaking every Muslim for a communalist. It is true that today itis difficult to find a thoroughly secular Muslim in India. But if wewant secular-minded Muslims in the near future we must encourage andsupport those Muslims who are already stepping in that direction. Onecan cite numerous cases where the Hindus can and ought to supportcertain Muslims by acknowledging the worth of their efforts. Forexample Mr. Sadiq is making sincere and systematic efforts in Kashmirto free Kashmiri Muslims from the hold that Sheikh Abdullah has ontheir minds. It would also be honest to admit that the HealthMinister of Maharashtra, Dr Rafiq Zakaria is making sincere efforts topropagate family planning among Indian Muslims. I mention thisparticularly because the communalist Hindu, in his zeal to condemnall Muslims as communalists, weakens the emerging liberal and modernforces among the Muslims. Indian Muslims will change only when theybegin to present a differentiated picture in their thoughts and theirview of society. Hindus would also benefit from such differentiationamong the Muslims. For as long as the Muslims remain monolithic intheir thinking their communalism will become increasingly awesome. Ifthey divide into two camps, the modern liberals and the orthodoxpuritans, their communalism would be much weakened. I suggest thatcommunalist Hindus and particularly the younger Hindus should pauseand consider this. History, which has bred prejudices and animosity, is a hindranceto all of us. All of us have to come out of the grip of ourprejudices which originate in our past. Hindu communalists must alsobreak away from the grip of their prejudices. It is not the fault ofthe young Brahmans of today that their ancestors gave inhumantreatment to the untouchables, and today's Indian Muslim is notresponsible for the oppression to which Mahmud Ghaznavi or Aurangzebsubjected the Hindus. Fortunately, there is a class of Hindus todaywhich bears the burden of its ancestors' sins and conscientiouslytries to undo the damage by embracing social equality as a fundamentalvalue. Similarly, there has to emerge a class of Muslims which wouldaccept the sins of Aurangzeb and, to undo the damage, would thereforeembrace the concept of secular citizenship. The emergence andsustained growth of such a class of modern, secular dynamic liberalsis the only effective answer to the Hindu-Muslim communal problem.And therefore my appeal to communal Hindus is that they should freethemselves from historical prejudices before they examine the viewsexpressed by me in the articles that follow.Chapter 2READING THE MIND OF INDIAN MUSLIMSThe previous article was a brief review of the problem of Indian Muslims and its solution. I have described the symptoms of a disease and outlined its treatment without naming the disease as such. One of the reasons for doing so was to focus attention on certain aspects of the problem at the very outset. I also wanted toshow how certain pitfalls cannot be avoided when one begins to discuss a problem from the end to the beginning. My main reason, however, was to invite my Muslim friends to do some necessary critical introspection so that they might start the discussion in a frank and systematic manner. It is my experience that the arguments of Muslims leaders always sound like the arguments of defense attorneys in a court of law. In a court of law the lawyer's sole interest is to win his case. The argument is addressed to a judge, who is a third party and who gives his verdict in the end. If a lawyer defending an alleged murderer argues the defendant's case effectively, his client is acquitted even if he in fact is a murderer. The sole emphasis in this kind of argument is on convincing the judge. Muslim leaders in India argue in much the same manner. One does not know whether they expect some judge to give a favorable verdict in the end. For instance, most Muslim leaders in India advance the old argument that Muslims were not responsible for partition, and even argue that Hindus alone were responsible for it. Of course, there can be different arguments as to who really was more responsible for partition but it is factually wrong to suggest that Muslims were not responsible for partitioning the sub-continent. When Muslims say this, they do not want to claim merely that they were not responsible for partition. Their claim is much larger; they want to claim that it was not the Muslims who demanded the partitioning of the sub-continent. History provides some clues to the strange behavior and arguments of Indian Muslim leaders. Indian Muslims always tried to impose their own demands on Hindus with the help of the British, who were a third party in the position of a judge. It was enough for the Muslims to have presented effective arguments to the British. If one recalls the entire history of the efforts made to solve the Hindu-Muslim problem, one can easily verify this. It was Muslim leaders who obstinately held that the Hindus should not be granted freedom unless Muslim demands were met. When they saw that the judgment in this dispute was to be given by a third party, they tried to tilt the balance in their own favor even by resorting to an unscrupulous and fallacious argument, and the Hindus who were eager for independence conceded their demand. It is not important to discuss how the third party arrived at its verdict. The important thing is to remember the historical fact that the Muslims got their verdict from a third party. They never even paused to consider that the real decision was to be taken by the Muslims themselves in collaboration with the Hindu majority. They looked at the dispute as if it was matter of litigation and could never think of the possibility of a compromise. In short, Indian Muslims committed the most grievous sin of obstructing the movement for Indian independence. They took undue advantage of the presence of a third party. They refused to arrive at a compromise with the Hindus. Muslims in the entire sub-continent were responsible for this. But there is an important difference between Indian and Pakistani Muslims. Muslims in Pakistan did not have to face the consequences of this wrong-headed agitation. In fact if the agitation were to succeed, it would be of benefit to them. And therefore, it must be said that Pakistani Muslims deliberately took a wrong step the consequences of which were to be suffered by Muslims who were to remain in India. But Indian Muslims have committed an even worse sin. They not only relied on a third party but also participated in a movement which aimed at creating a separate nation comprising all provinces which had a Muslim majority. In short, in order to solve their own problems, Indian Muslims as a whole came to an understanding with the British as well as with the Muslim majority provinces; and they refused to make any compromise with Hindus. What was the nature of this understanding? To solve our problems, argued the Muslims in the sub-continent, a sovereign and independent state comprising provinces with a Muslim majority had to be created. In this new state Hindus should be in a minority. That way only, they further argued, would Muslims in India have security. This argument is known as the hostage theory. In the middle ages the cruel and inhuman practice of holding human beings as hostages was quite common. It is tragic that Muslims in the sub-continent resorted to this old practice to solve their problem. ` But the interesting thing is that while Pakistan needed some Hindus at least as hostages she did not even keep a sizeable number of them in her territory though the subcontinent was partitioned only because Muslims decided to experiment with the theory of hostages. At the time, several observers had warned that this theory would create a problem of minorities in both India and Pakistan and that in both countries politics would be centered on vengeance wreaked on the minorities. A prominent Muslim intellectual had issued this warning in a book published before partition. Shaukatulla Ansari, at present Governor of Orissa, in his "Pakistan - A Problem of India" published in 1944, has made a very significant observation. He predicted that if the sub-continent were to be partitioned, it would be partitioned inan atmosphere of bitter hostility which would last for generations and would be difficult to eliminate. All of us are witness to the accuracy of his prophecy. Muslims in India agreed to remain in India as hostages in accordance with the theory propounded by the Muslim League. Why should Indian Muslims complain about it now? Do they say now that this entire theory was wrong? No; their only complaint is that Hindus have started implementing the theory. They are not worried whether Hindus are themselves unhappy about the theory. Their only demand is that the theory should not affect themselves. All Muslim leaders following the theory demand that there should be no anti-Muslim riots in India. If one asked them any question about the fate of Hindus in Pakistan, they would dismiss it. I have already observed that among Indian Muslims there still is no liberal class whose members would take an honest and just view of things. It is sufficient for Muslim leaders in India to argue that Hindus in Pakistan are not treated in an unjust manner. If one points to instances of injustice done to Hindus in Pakistan, Indian Muslim leaders have a ready answer. They would say that it is a problem of Pakistan with which they are hardly concerned. On the other hand, they would criticize the questioner for raising an issue which has to do with Pakistan and not with themselves. The question which arises here is: Why do Indian Muslims make the obviously false claim that Pakistan Hindus are treated with due justice? And why did Indian Muslims earlier refuse to rely on the conscience of Hindus to get full justice for themselves? I shall begin with the first question. Those who claim that Hindus in Pakistan get due justice assume that this entire problem is still a case pending trial in a court. They still imagine, perhaps quite honestly but no doubt unrealistically, that if they argue forcefully enough there still is a third party to give them a verdict in their favor. They do not see the plain fact that the third party has already left the sub-continent and that, in India, it is replaced by the defendant in the case. Now the judge's position is occupied by Hindus. If it is justice that the Indian Muslims expect, they have to win the confidence and goodwill of the Hindu majority. Do these Muslim leaders honestly believe that arguments like those of lawyersin a court of law are going to secure justice for them? But they refuse to look at this problem in a sober and realistic manner. For they still believe that a third party is going to judge their case and that all they need to win their case is an effective argument, however fallacious it may be, coupled with the right amount of pressure.They do not clearly name who the third party in the judge's position is today. But one need not go very deep to find out what is fairly obvious: Indian Muslim leaders believe that in their dispute with the majority in India. Pakistan is the third party occupying the position of the judge. I must say that the leaders who think so are still living in the pre-Independence age. Some months ago, I had an opportunity of meeting Dr A. J. Faridi, leader of the Majlis-e-Mashawarat. Dr Faridi claims to have a balanced view of things. He also believes that one ought to point out the mistakes committed by Indian Muslims. But it is an interesting experience to discuss this issue with Dr Faridi.Once one enters into an argument with him, Dr Faridi has the knack of evading the very principles he himself professes. For example, when I asked him why Hindus were driven out of West Pakistan, Dr Faridi came up with the fantastic answer justice that if Vallabhbhai Patel had not sent planes to bring them back the West Pakistani Hindus would not have come back to India at all. in short, Dr Faridi is against any injustice done to anyone. In that respect he is a perfect secularist. But if one choose to go into factual details about the injustice done to Pakistani Hindus, Dr Faridi would categorically assert that there had never been any act of injustice towards them. On top of this, Dr Faridi is always ready to declare that he would protest the moment he learns that there has been any injustice done to Hindus in Pakistan. However, Dr Faridi always insists on being `convinced' and, as one might guess, it is very difficult to convince Dr Faridi. Let us now consider some of the views of Mr. Mohammad Ismail President of the All-India Muslim League. In an interview given to U.N.I. before the last general elections, Mr. Mohammad Ismail said, "If I am convinced that the Hindus of Pakistan are ill-treated or that they are forcibly converted to Islam I would not hesitate to criticize Pakistan. For Islam does not permit such injustice." In short, Mr Mohammad Ismail is always prepared to say that if Pakistan ever treated her Hindus badly he would consider it to be a very wrong thing. The real question therefore is of determining empirically whether Pakistan really does so. It is a question of assessing plain facts. it is the responsibility of whoever argues with Mr. Mohammad Ismail to convince him that it is a fact that Pakistan treats her Hindus unjustly. Once he is able to convince Mr. Mohammad Ismail about the truth of this proposition, the rest follows quite easily. As soon as he is convinced, one would find Mr. Mohammad Ismail unsheathing his sword and brandishing it against Pakistan. But wait! Nothing of this sort is really going to happen. For even if Pakistan does in fact treat her Hindu population badly, to convince Mr. Mohammad Ismail of it is not an easy job. In fact, Mr. Mohammad Ismail hasdecided not to be convinced on this point by anyone. When Mr. Shri Prakasa was Indian high Commissioner in Pakistan he had a very significant experience at Karachi. In this book "Birth of Pakistan", Mr. Sri Prakasa has noted the following incident: In one place a Hindu temple was broken into. Mr. Sri Prakasa brought this to the notice of a Central Minister of Pakistan. He urged the Minister to give police protection to the temple. But the Minister refused to do so. What he said is quite memorable. He said, "Islam has given us the notion of perfect justice. How, in the circumstances, can a temple be broken into at all? Such a thing is unthinkable in an Islamic state."! Mr. Sri Prakasa was obviously flabbergasted. It was a fact that the temple was broken into, but an Islamic state isalways perfectly just. And all Muslim leaders would readily point to the idea of justice in Islam whenever such allegations are made. They do not find it necessary to go into the facts of the matter. If there is any injustice done to the Hindus in Pakistan, it would be a verifiable proposition. But if facts are different from the claims to perfect justice made by an `Islamic justice', Muslims do not use thecriteria used for verifying facts by ordinary people. When they do injustice, they apply the canons of `Islamic Justice'. When injustice is done to themselves they would demand justice by universally accepted principles and would demand an application of the universal criteria of evidence. As to themselves, since Koranic justice is supposed to be equitably applied in an Islamic state, Muslim leaders believe that an Islamic state is always just. It is only others who err. Therefore, outside the Islamic state, Muslim leaders insist on the universally accepted principles of evidence and inference. Such are the double standards they apply. Can Pakistan ever hope to get a better lawyer than Mr. Mohammad Ismail? However, Mr. Mohammad Ismail would never admit that he pleads on behalf of Pakistan. Perhaps it does not even occur to him. There are a number of similar examples. When questioned, these Muslim leaders indignantly claim that they are one hundred per cent Indian, that have fully identified themselves with the aspirations of this nation, and that they regard the Hindu majority in India as their fellow-citizens. What, however can one make of these claims when they are seen in juxtaposition with the actual behavior of Muslim leaders and the opinions they frequently express? Even while they claim to be perfect nationalists, Muslim leaders advance arguments to support the Pakistani claim on Kashmir. In the same way, they argue that all Pakistani infiltrators in Assam are in fact Indian Muslims. It follows that they do not believe in any rules to determine citizenship. They are prepared to go to any absurd length to argue that Pakistani infiltrators are in fact Indians. At the same time, they admit that all Pakistani infiltrators should on principle, be evicted from India. They claim that they have no quarrel with Hindusas such; and yet at the same time they issue religious rescripts objecting to the recitation of the Koran after Nehru's death on the ground that such a recitation is not permitted by the side of the dead body of a kafir. They want Dr Zakir Husain to be the President of India. However, they are quick to point out that it is unbecoming of a good Muslim to take the oath of office in Hindi or to obtain a benediction from the Shankaracharya. While justifying the creation of Pakistan, they would also argue that they have nothing to do with Pakistan which is a foreign country like any other. They compete with one another to vouch for the peaceful intentions of Pakistan. Who is responsible for disturbing the peace in the sub-continent?Their answer is ready: it is the mistakes of the Indian leadership that have created all the trouble that exists in the sub-continent. Indian leaders according to these Muslims have never been reconciled to the creation of Pakistan and hence they bear animosity towards that country. Pakistan quarrels with India over Kashmir. Once Kashmir is handed over to Pakistan these people argue, there would be no quarrel. It is obvious, they feel, that India has created hostility with Pakistan by not giving up Kashmir. I would like to point out that these views extend to even further extremes. There is an organization of Indian Muslims known as the Jamaat-e-Islami. The objective of this organization is to establish an Islamic State in India. Margdeep, the Marathi organ of the party once wrote, "Religious conflicts in India are not likely to be resolved easily. Only when all Indians embrace a single religion, religious conflicts in India would end." If one tries to view the inconsistencies in the views of Muslim leaders quoted earlier in the light of the above quotation from Margdeep, it will be obvious that Muslim leaders are engaged in a gigantic jehad - a holy war- against Hindus. this war would be over only when all Indians have embraced Islam. to achieve this objective, Muslim leaders are prepared to indulge in all kinds of acrobatics. It is quite true that they regard themselves as Indians. For they look forward to ruling the entire nation. Why did Muslims demand Pakistan? The answer is obvious. Muslims believe that their community is a separate nation. Why did they follow Jinnah? This too is obvious. Jinnah's anti-Hindu views attracted them. In this context, one ought to remember that as long as Jinnah had not propounded his two nation theory Muslims did not accept him as their leader. The reason for all this are quite clear. Muslims were fiercely anti-Hindu. As soon as Jinnah inflamed their communal passions. Muslims supported him. The passion proved to be so consuming that Indian Muslims failed to see its simple consequence which would turn them into a minority everywhere in India. However it must be pointed out that the support of Indian Muslims to the creation of Pakistan was not entirely based on emotional frenzy. It was also based on the theory of hostages. At the same time, Indian Muslims believed that India would eventually be ruled by Islam. The creation of Pakistan was only the first step towards an integrated Islamic state in India. One has only to recall Jinnah's tactics for the creation of Pakistan to see this point. he tried to induce the princely States in Rajasthan to join Pakistan. He tried to get Junagadh merged with Pakistan. He instigated Hyderabad to rebel against India. His propaganda that riots took place in India alone disregarded its consequence in Pakistan itself. What did the Muslims expect? They expected Hyderabad to become independent. They expected Bhopal to follow. Junagadh had already joined Pakistan. Kashmir had a Muslim majority and would therefore naturally go to Pakistan. They expected all princely States to refuse to join India and to proclaim their own independence. They predicted balkanization of India, from which Muslims would eventually benefit. These hopes were later proved to have been false. Sardar Patel merged the princely States within the Indian Union and thus shattered their hopes. This is why Muslim leaders hate Sardar Patel. One can easily understand why Dr. Faridi insists that it was Patel who brought Hindus from Pakistan to India. In my opinion, Muslim society still mentally lives in the pre-partition world. I would like to cite another personal experience. Sometimes ago, I visited Agra where I met a few educated Musli...
FBISE to conduct two annual SSC, HSSC exams from 2022
ISLAMABAD: The Board of Governors (BoG) of the Federal Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education (FBISE) has approved a new policy under which two exams of the Secondary School Certificate (SSC) and Higher Secondary School Certificate (HSSC) will be conducted in a year. The exams will now be held in May as well as September. It was also decided that the FBISE would conduct annual exams of Class 8 for the first time. The new policy will come into effect from the academic year 2022. According to a press release issued on Wednesday, two annual exams will provide unlimited chances to students who fail in some papers to clear them and save precious time. The BoG also decided to introduce more combinations of subjects like Biology with Mathematics or Economics, Environmental Studies with Chemistry and so on. The board officials said mix and match would help in preparing new programmes such as mechatronics and bio-informatics. Board exams for Class 8 to be introduced; Papers to be set in line with new curriculum “This policy will make FBISE consistent with international practices,” read the press release, adding that the BoG also approved relative marking, stating that it was more dynamic and allowed flexibility compared to absolute marking. The baseline is set by highest and lowest scores. “It is important to have a competency-based exam in Grade 8 to guide students towards education pathways. In these examinations only key subjects/skills should be tested. FBISE shall split subjects for external exams over two years for Matric. Same will apply for Intermediate,” the press release said, adding that this would help release burden on students as they could choose the subjects to appear in the first year and second year of the exams. The board will issue certificates for classes 10 and 12 only, it said. The BoG also decided to reframe paper setting, aligning it with the curriculum, instead of testing for rote learning. Meanwhile, sources said a subcommittee formed by the BoG in its previous meeting also finalised its report regarding auction and purchase of vehicles, which is likely to be presented in the upcoming meeting. The subcommittee was recently formed by the BoG in response to the board’s proposal to auction vehicles and purchase new ones. The subcommittee’s meeting recommended that instead of purchasing new vehicles for local use in Rawalpindi and Islamabad, the board should avail online taxi service or a similar facility. The subcommittee allowed auction of four vehicles of the board and as replacement, it recommend purchase of one Toyota Hilux Single Cabin and three Toyota Hiaces. It decided that all other vehicles, whose details were presented before it, could be auctioned after the approval of the BoG. The subcommittee comprised of Secretary AJK Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education, Mirpur, Sajid Aziz Noor, MNA Ali Nawaz Awan and Principal National School and College Chaudhry Javed Iqbal. Published in Dawn, March 18th, 2021...
Video: Building on Solid Foundations: What Learning Profiles Tell Us about Prioritising for Learning
Blog Video: Building on Solid Foundations: What Learning Profiles Tell Us about Prioritising for Learning 18 December 2019 Video Transcript A big challenge in analysing education systems is the limited data that's available on learning outcomes for many low and middle-income countries. Typical sources of international learning data such as PISA or TIMMS don't cover many lower-income countries, but even if they did, they have important limitations. They typically only cover one or a couple of grade levels making it difficult or impossible to trace out the trajectory of learning across multiple grades. They also usually only cover children who are in school leaving out those who have dropped out or never started. In lower-income countries this can leave out a substantial portion of the population, and to track progress on universal learning goals such as universal literacy or numeracy it's critical to have that data on all children, not just those who have persisted in school. More countries have national learning assessments such as primary leaving exams, but these tend to have similar limitations and cover only one or a couple of grade levels. Primary leaving exams, in particular, only occur at the end of primary school so they don't provide any information on learning in the earlier years of primary school when many children begin to fall behind. They also usually only cover children who are in school. So they again leave out those who have dropped out or who never started. At RISE, we've done a lot of work on learning profiles to help fill this gap. Learning profiles give the empirical relationship between years of schooling and learning achieved allowing us to trace out the dynamics of learning across age and grade. They do this by using data on a full cohort of children including those both in and out of school, across multiple ages and grades, or a full cohort of young adults including those with varying levels of schooling completion. They also typically provide unique data on learning in those early years of primary school. For example, we've analysed learning profiles from Demographic and Health Surveys which are large-scale national representative surveys across many countries worldwide that have included a simple literacy test in recent rounds. We've also analysed learning profiles using ASER and UWEZO data which are based on very large scale surveys covering a full cohort of children within a certain age range. Altogether, RISE has analysed learning profiles for more than 50 countries covering more than 6 million individuals. Our work on learning profiles has two main sets of results with related implications for each. First, learning profiles show that learning is highly varied across countries and on average is low. For example, learning profiles have shown that among young women with six years of schooling and no higher literacy rates vary from less than 10 percent in Nigeria to upwards of nearly 100 percent in Rwanda. This shows there is massive variation in the amount that's learned from the same number of years of schooling across countries. That also indicates that a common schooling target like six years or universal primary completion is not going to yield anything resembling a common learning goal like universal literacy. The implications are two-fold. First, because learning varies so much, the right policy priority is also going to vary. So in countries with low schooling attainment and high learning per year, expanding access to schooling could yield large learning gains. For example, analysis of learning profiles and related simulation suggests that expanding to universal primary completion in Ethiopia could increase literacy rates by as much as fifty-seven percentage points. However, the reverse is also true in places where attainment is high and learning per year is low. Expanding access to schooling could yield very little in terms of learning. In Nigeria for example, similar simulation suggests that expanding to universal primary schooling could increase literacy among young women by as little as five percentage points. Because learning varies so much, the right policy priority is also going to vary. Second, because learning is so low on average, many countries fall into that second category. This suggests that for many countries expanding access, such as through pre-primary school or universal secondary completion, may yield very little in terms of learning gains. Countries in this situation are likely to need to steepen their learning profiles in order to achieve their learning goals. The second set of key findings relate to disaggregated learning profiles. Disaggregated learning profiles allow us to analyse and compare learning across groups such as by gender or by wealth. Findings from this set of analysis shows that achieving goals of equality such as gender equality for girls and boys or equality for the poor and the better off in terms of either schooling or learning or both, could leave many children without even basic skills. This is because in many countries even among the more advantaged groups learning outcomes are low on average. This means that a policy priority of equality may not yield the policy goals of learning for all. In these situations countries are likely to need to prioritise something like universal, early, conceptual and procedural mastery of basic skills for all children. All children need to master the basics, and learning profiles show that in many countries that is going to require a radical steepening of the learning profiles for all. Related content Blog 9 January 2020 Learning Profiles: An Important Tool for Understanding and Addressing the Learning Crisis Marla Spivack Read more Insight Note 13 December 2019 A Typology of Learning Profiles: Tools for Analysing the Dynamics of Learning Michelle Kaffenberger Read more...
Our Federation and education in the wake of COVID-19 | ANU-CPD Policy Dialogue | October 2020
On 8 October, we hosted our first ANU-CPD Policy Dialogue for 2020, on ‘Our Federation and Education in the wake of COVID-19’. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are now hosting this series as virtual roundtables, focussing on issues of the Federation and related topics that have emerged during the pandemic. The Dialogue was hosted by Travers McLeod (CEO, Centre for Policy Development) and Sean Innis (Director, ANU Public Policy and Societal Impact Hub) and moderated by Glyn Davis AC. The discussion featured initial remarks from Myra Geddes (Social Impact General Manager, Good Start), Natalie Howson (Advisor, ANU Public Policy and Societal Impact Hub), Terry Moran AC (Chancellor, Federation University, and Chair, Centre for Policy Development) and Mary Ann O’Loughlin AM (Former Deputy Secretary, Skills and Higher Education, NSW Department of Education). The roundtable brought together leaders from across academia, government and civil society under the Chatham House Rule. The discussion provided participants with the opportunity to consider the future of our Federation and education as Australia moves beyond the COVID-19 pandemic. Discussion The discussion opened with participants discussing how COVID-19 has presented the education sector, from early childhood education, to schools and post secondary institutions, with a range... The post Our Federation and education in the wake of COVID-19 | ANU-CPD Policy Dialogue | October 2020 appeared first on Centre for Policy Development....
Pakistan loses two spots on Global Gender Gap Index, slides into ranks of worst four countries
Pakistan has shown a dismal performance when it comes to gender parity, according to the 'Global Gender Gap Report 2021' published by the World Economic Forum on Wednesday, slipping two spots since last year to rank 153rd out of 156 countries on the index. The report found that Pakistan's gender gap had widened by 0.7 percentage points, to 55.6 per cent, making it one of the worst countries for gender parity. Only Iraq, Yemen and Afghanistan fared worse. The scorecard for the country places Pakistan at 152 in economic participation and opportunity, 144 in educational attainment, 153 in health and survival, and 98 in political empowerment. In the South Asian region, Pakistan ranked seventh among eight countries, Afghanistan being the lowest. In its overall observation, the report commented that "progress has stagnated", observing that the estimated time to close the gender gap has now increased to 136.5 years. It also pointed out that the Covid-19 pandemic may have widened the existing disparities. Global Gender Index rankings by region, 2021. — Photo courtesy: WEF report Pakistan featured among the bottom 10 countries in two of the four sub-indexes — economic participation and opportunity and health and survival — according to the report. The country closed just 31.6pc of its gender gap in economic participation and opportunity. Worsening with time Pakistan's rankings have worsened over time, with data collected showing that in 2006, the country ranked 112 in economic participation and opportunity, 110 in education attainment, 112 in health and survival, and 37 in political empowerment. "Few women participate in the labour force (22.6pc) and even fewer are in managerial positions (4.9pc). This means that only 26.7pc and 5.2pc, respectively, of these gaps have been closed so far, translating into very large income disparities between women and men: on average, a Pakistani woman's income is 16.3pc of a man's," the report stated. However, improvement has been seen with more women taking on professional and technical roles — 25.3pc, up from 23.4pc in the previous edition of the index. It pointed out that women do not have equal access to justice, ownership of land, and non-financial assets or inheritance rights. When it comes to education, gender gaps as large as 13pc or more exist across all levels. According to the report, "these gaps are the widest at lower education levels (84.1pc primary enrolment gap closed) and are somewhat narrower for higher education levels (84.7pc gap closed in secondary enrolment and 87.1pc closed in tertiary enrolment). "Further, only 46.5pc of women are literate, 61.6pc attend primary school, 34.2pc attend high school and 8.3pc are enrolled in tertiary education courses." Pakistan has closed 94.4pc of its health and survival gender gap, the report stated, adding that the gap on this sub-index was negatively impacted by wide sex ratio at birth (92pc) due to gender-based sex-selective practices. Around 85pc of women have suffered intimate partner violence, it further said. Pakistan's rank is relatively higher for political empowerment, the report said, observing however that only 15.4pc of this gap has been closed to date. "With just 4.7 years (in the last 50) with a woman as head of state, Pakistan is one of the top 33 countries in the world on this indicator. However, women's representation among parliamentarians (20.2pc) and ministers (10.7pc) remains low." Regional performance The South Asian region is the second-lowest performer on the index, after Middle East and North Africa, with 62.3pc of its overall gender gap closed. Progress has been too slow in the recent past, and this year has actually reversed, the report said. "Within the region, a wide gulf separates the best-performing country, Bangladesh, which has closed 71.9pc of its gender gap so far, from Afghanistan, which has only closed 44.4pc of its gap. India is the third-worst performer in the region, having closed 62.5pc of its gap. "Only Bhutan and Nepal have demonstrated small but positive progress towards gender parity this year, while all other countries in this region have registered either slightly reduced or stagnant performances," the report stated....
Effect of COVID-19 on Students Studying in the Secondary and Higher Secondary Level
The novel Corona virus has been declared a pandemic due to its high transmissibility rate, influencing human life to its heights. It has affected the psychological and mental health of all people, including the functioning of various sectors. This study is based on a micro-level survey that discusses the pandemic's effect on 600 students pursuing education in secondary and higher secondary levels in Kolkata. The school students’ effect was analysed based on four parameters— school, home, a shift in the medium of education from offline to online, and the effect on the students’ future plans, aims, and ambition. The survey was conducted using a questionnaire, which was comprised of structured and semi-structured questions circulated online among the respondents. The respondents were asked to initially rank the indicators and the variables they considered the most critical cause affecting their studies. The respondents were then asked to rate the indicators on a five-point Likert scale to judge the degree of impact of the variables on the respondents....
The Value of Online School Accreditation
Parents looking at online schools for their children often come across the term “accredited.” Although many parents recognize that this important, not many know why it is so important or what it means to be an accredited school. What Does it Mean to be Accredited? For many K-12 schools, accreditation is completely voluntary, meaning the school volunteers to be evaluated to receive accreditation. When a school becomes accredited, it means that it has met certain predetermined criteria and has gone through a process to prove the education it provides meets these standards. The school is evaluated by an external agency that reviews the courses and educators to determine whether it meets the necessary qualifications. Overall, accreditation assures the school’s academic excellence. This helps to ensure students will have credit and course reciprocity should they attend other schools as well as diploma validation for college or employment. What Is an Accrediting Agency? While the U.S. Department of Education approves accreditation agencies for higher education (e.g. college), the Department does not claim jurisdiction over the accreditation of K-12 schools. Rather, most of the accrediting agencies are self-appointed to evaluate elementary and secondary schools. This has led to multiple organizations that bestow accreditation to K-12 schools, however, not all of these hold the same weight. In the U.S., there are six original accrediting agencies. Middle States Association New England Association of Schools and Colleges North Central Association of Colleges and Schools Northwest Accreditation Commission Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Western Association of Schools and Colleges These six agencies are known as regional accreditation agencies. Because of their history and the large number schools they accredit, regional accreditation agencies are the most widely accepted. Acellus Academy is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). This accreditation agency is made up... Continue Reading The post The Value of Online School Accreditation appeared first on Acellus Academy....
Pakistani startup launches exam prep app, gets $320,000 pre-seed funding
Edkasa, a Lahore-based education technology startup has managed to raise pre-seed funding of $320,000 to help launch a new mobile application for exam preparation, the company said on Tuesday. The new app will leverage and make use of Edkasa's existing userbase of 55,000 students and more than 40 schools throughout Pakistan which currently avail its services, according to a statement from the startup. The company says it has already helped thousands of students, and recorded over 1.3 million hours of viewing time with over 250,000 queries answered by its teachers in 2020. Edkasa raised the funding in a pre-seed round led by i2i Ventures, with participation from Walled City Co, Zayn Capital and strategic angels in Southeast Asia. The investment was made to build out the exam prep app and scale Edkasa’s e-learning impact with students across the country, the statement said. "The new mobile application features an initial quiz to gauge a student’s requirements, and then offers customised studying paths based on their needs such as a specific exam, subject, or exam board," according to the company. It added that students could view on-demand video lectures and access quizzes based on past papers as well as compare their rankings on the app's leaderboard. Students sign up for the app for free and can continue to avail its services with a monthly subscription fee which gives them access to Edkasa's learning materials across various subjects. "The Edkasa app has been designed with feedback from Edkasa’s pre-existing user base, and is also aimed at countering the effects of school closure and an uncertain learning environment due to Covid-19," said the press release. It also noted that the app launch was geared towards helping Pakistan resolve the issue of access to quality education for over 14 million secondary and higher secondary students, a hurdle that leads to poor exam performance of over half of those who appear in standardised examinations across the country. “Education is the biggest bridge between the world that we have, and the world that we want,” said Annum Sadiq, co-founder of Edkasa along with Fahad Tanveer. “Edkasa is a dream coming to fruition, as we prepare to educate millions of Pakistani learners.” Sadiq is a Lahore University of Management Sciences (Lums) alumnus and Fulbright Scholar who co-founded Edkasa in 2017 with Tanveer — a Lums and Harvard alumnus. Its chief technology officer, Muneeb Ali, is also the founder and chief executive officer of OneByte — which works with pre-seed, early-stage, and growth-stage startups to help build their products....
The Digital Nation – Lessons in building a successful digital economy
The pandemic has turbocharged digitalization across industries and countries, stress testing existing national strategies and bringing any gaps and shortcomings into sharp focus. Drawing on the example of digital leader Sweden, this article focuses on the wider lessons that every country can learn, and the capabilities required to build effective and successful digital nations moving forward. The COVID-19 pandemic has massively accelerated the demand for, and supply of, digital goods and services. Digital lifestyles and methods that were previously expected not to develop until several years into the future have suddenly become a reality today. Although virtually all countries already had national digitalization policies, the crisis and its continuing aftermath have put into sharp focus the gaps and shortcomings in existing digital infrastructures and plans. It is becoming clear that new thinking is needed for nations to become digitally robust and resilient across all sectors, both public and private, as we face the future – we need a new “Digital Nation” norm. To help inform the way forward, it is helpful to look at the best-performing digital nations in the world today. One such nation is Sweden, and we believe there are some valuable lessons to be learned from how it is approaching the digitalization challenge that are relevant for nations across the world. The impact of COVID-19 on digitalization The pandemic brought about a comprehensive test of the resilience of digital plans at a previously unimaginable speed and depth, as the avoidance of physical contact, hygiene, and restricted mobility drove huge increases in digital usage across sectors. There has been a widespread and enduring impact on human behavior, communication, and consumption, as well as the supply of digital goods and services and ways of working in both the private and public sectors. Teleworking, remote education, e-commerce, digital socializing, digital healthcare and streamed entertainment are all examples of where step changes have already taken place. The crisis also demonstrated the reliance countries have placed on digital infrastructure to maintain national safety and security. All countries, not only the most digitally savvy, have had to step up their games in digitalization. New initiatives to develop digital tools can now be found all over the world, for example: Fake news and disinformation: Information sharing has been vital to spread critical messages about the progress of the pandemic and communicate actions to be taken. However, there has also been a substantial problem with fake news and disinformation. Many governments have started online campaigns to combat this threat. For example, Brazil’s Ministry of Health implemented an SMS service to combat fake news, and in France, the government’s information service has developed a dedicated chatbot to answer questions about COVID-19. Disease monitoring: Information sharing has been critical to not only communications, but also monitoring disease spread and creating dedicated COVID-19 portals. For example, the Danish Health Authority has developed a portal displaying health regulations, recommendations and statistics, and the National Health Information Center in Slovakia created an app to map disease hotspots. E-health solutions: The development of innovative e-health solutions has also accelerated. For example, the Republic of Korea launched a self-service healthcheck app that enables everyone entering the country to report their health status. In Croatia, an AI-based digital assistant has been developed to process thousands of health requests via social media and a government portal, and Greece implemented paperless e-prescriptions. As we know, the economic impacts of the pandemic have been severe in every country. However, the impact was far greater in countries with low digital resilience and lack of comprehensive digital plans. For instance, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused acute and unparalleled disruption of education in nations where remote schooling is not an option for the vast majority of students. This is particularly the case in low-income countries that lack robust digitalization, in terms of both infrastructure and access to hardware and digital strategies. As much as 90 percent of pupils in sub-Saharan Africa do not have access to computers. Only six out of 39 World Health Organization (WHO)-studied countries in the same region had open schools as of August 2020, which illustrated the COVID-19-induced education crises in countries without solid digital capabilities. School closures also have severe economic impact, highlighted by the OECD, which has estimated that an average member country will suffer a GDP reduction of 1.5 percent, on average, through the rest of the century due to school closures in the initial phase of the pandemic. The example of Sweden Sweden is a digital leader in the EU. As shown in Figure 1, it is ranked second after Finland in the European Commission’s Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI), which measures the digital competitiveness of member states, with high performance across every dimension of the Index, including connectivity, use of internet, digital public services, human capital and integration of digital technology. In 2017 the Swedish government set out a clear goal to become the foremost nation in the world to realize the possibilities provided by digitalization. A set of policies and a framework guiding this ambitious objective were put into action, including large-scale investments in digital infrastructure to improve the conditions for digital innovation, in order to ensure digital efficiency and secure an effective digital transition. The generic model is shown in Figure 2. In 2020, Sweden was ranked number one in the 2020 Network Readiness Index (NRI), an annual global comparison of countries’ ability to take advantage of the opportunities of digitalization. Sweden has already seen a high degree of digitalization compared to other OECD nations, including: One of the highest internet-access rates in the world, at 98 percent A high number of pupils who access personal computers, at a reported 95 percent compared to the OECD average of 88 percent Widespread use of public digital services However, the shift to more complete cross-sector digitalization has been advancing at only a modest pace. The drivers for greater teleworking, implementation of digital communication, and reform of obsolete IT systems within public organizations have been lacking, as the need was not seen as urgent – until the pandemic hit in early 2020. A report conducted by ADL into how digital tools were used to handle the social consequences of COVID-19 in Sweden highlighted the pressing requirement for key economic sectors such as retail, education and healthcare to transition faster to digital. It also concluded that although the digital strategy so far had been beneficial to organizations and businesses coping with the crisis and remaining operational, additional measures to increase digitalization were crucial to ensure further preparedness and adapt to new circumstances and conditions in the post-COVID-19 world. The gaps identified included: Information inequalities affecting disadvantaged groups Obsolete policies A low usage rate of certain digital tools and services, even though the infrastructure was available Gaps in digital policies for key sectors including retail, education and healthcare (see below) We can see from the example of Sweden that even leading countries with already-built-out digital infrastructure, high levels of digitalization and advanced plans have gaps in their digital blueprints that the pandemic has highlighted. Lessons for the key sectors of retail, education and healthcare Three of the sectors most impacted by the transition to digital are retail, education and healthcare, and these sectors are also common to nearly all countries. What lessons have we learned from the pandemic? Retail sector The general trend of digitalization in the retail industry has been growing for many years, favoring large e-commerce actors and driving market consolidation. On an international scale the pandemic has driven a giant leap in digital-enabled consumption, with half of all consumers stating that they buy more online now than they did in pre-COVID-19 times. Amazon enjoyed a 40 percent increase in sales during 2020. Additionally, nationwide distribution has been enabled through digitalization and e-commerce solutions. The shift is also dramatic in terms of the broadening of the customer base – people who had never used digital retail channels before swiftly found themselves ordering everything from spaghetti to new laptops online. The increase is particularly significant among the elderly, who (individually or with the support of their more digital-savvy family members) are expected to drive e-commerce growth in the postpandemic period. As shown by changed behavior in the Republic of Korea following the MERS outbreak, increases in online retail are likely to continue, stabilizing at a significantly higher level than before COVID-19. This poses logistical challenges and strain on infrastructure, as has been seen in Sweden. Key aspects of enabling polices therefore include: Regulation and transnational agreements to align and control logistics Policies to ensure the competitiveness of smaller national/local players, including creating a level playing field with larger players and ensuring equality between cities and more rural parts of a country Education sector As schools closed due to coronavirus-related restrictions, the abrupt shift from traditional education to digital methodologies transformed the learning experience for hundreds of millions overnight. According to UNESCO, 1.5 billion students worldwide were unable to receive on-premise education in March 2020, and this number remained as high as 320 million in late December the same year. Around 90 percent of high-income countries shifted to remote education during the pandemic, whereas the equivalent rate for low-income countries was just 53 percent. The OECD estimate that the GDP of an average member country will reduce by 1.5 percent through the rest of the century translates to 69 percent of an average GDP in current value terms – all due to closure of schools during the first half of 2020. Countries that could continue education online were far less impacted. Learnings from digitalization within the education sector from Sweden can be summarized as follows: Digitalization of education should be further prioritized to avoid the significant adverse effects seen during the current pandemic and any similar events in the future. The impact of COVID-19 on education was lower where schools already offered digital education. Improving accessibility to education through digital means will increasingly disrupt conventional approaches as to how education is conducted, particularly in higher education. This will enable students to participate in programs and specific courses remotely and facilitate greater geographical flexibility. Digital leadership and competence need to be further developed and secured through targeted national policy agendas. National, holistic frameworks that ensure equality across the education system and on a microlevel are essential. Healthcare sector Digital transformation within the healthcare sector has enabled completely different access to services for caregivers and patients alike. The rapid change has proven the agility of these two key supply and demand populations. Throughout the pandemic and beyond, virtual healthcare solutions have had substantial mitigating effects on the sector’s potential economic loss as patients refrained from visiting physical clinics. The digital transformation has therefore aided handling of the pandemic while maintaining well-being on a national level, as well as spurring e-health innovations. The potential for significant efficiency gains and wider access to care, regardless of ability, geographical presence and time, is immense. In order to truly capture the potential of digital healthcare, in terms of access advantages, efficiency gains and improved ways of working, the conditions for incentives have to be transformed. The key policy learnings include the following: Policies are needed to level the playing field around outcomes and results, rather than favoring existing systems. This may include changing reimbursement models. For instance, Swedish policies regarding economic incentives for performing healthcare favor physical visits to a clinic, even if the same care can be performed remotely. In China, a giant surge in virtual physician meetings was unleashed when the country’s digital health insurance agency implemented payment for such visits. As telehealth becomes more common and thus enables enhanced collection and access to medical data, the need for implementing adopted data protection regulations emerges. Such regulations would serve to protect the individual, while simultaneously ensuring that this valuable data could be used for continuous medical improvement. Lessons for national digital policy – The Digital Nation norm Beyond supporting these sector-specific learnings, nations should always be cognizant of the continuous investments needed to make digital impacts more sustainable and scalable, particularly as unforeseen needs (such as the pandemic) may require rapid change. These investments should cover ensuring that digital capabilities and competence are spread across all segments of society, stimulating innovations to drive future solutions and building out further infrastructure. These need to be combined with large-scale societal digital transformation, supported by suitable policies to support implementation and governance. Investment to ensure extensive digital infrastructure and access to equipment and knowledge are prerequisites, but to realize the full potential of digitalization in the post-pandemic world, new models and national plans will be needed. Building on the experience of Sweden, we envisage a new Digital Nation norm, which will be aimed at progressively offering more digital applications and services across all sectors in a way that will be rapidly scalable and agile in terms of its implementation. There are some key success factors for this new Digital Nation norm to succeed. (See Figure 3.) Empower digital leadership: Having empowered and capable digital leadership to realize the potential of digitalization on a societal and corporate level is key. This leadership should advance end-to-end humancentric thinking and implementation, enable coherent and congruent national systems, and drive pan-national agreements that are aligned on standards, protocols and interoperability constructs across sectors. Leverage digital competence: Competence is different to digital knowledge. For instance, digital pedagogy differs from digital teaching – digital pedagogy incorporates digital tools and different methods of teaching for enhanced learning through digital means, whereas digital teaching is the mere use of digital tools in a traditional setting. In this regard, pedagogical performance and success factors depend on how well education is adapted to changed circumstances, rather than simply transferring traditional classroom teaching to digital delivery channels. Broaden digital inclusivity: The conditions to enable digitalization need to be enhanced both between sectors and across diverse groups in society. COVID-19 has highlighted how differences in digital access and know-how can greatly affect economic and social wellbeing. Through the design and rethinking of e-solutions, digital access will be a key instrument for broadening societal inclusion. Access for all to basic services through digital means is essential. Practice agility and flexibility: Governments and authorities need to become more agile and flexible in policy making, decision processes and implementation. Readiness of public and private stakeholders to rapidly test and assess practices in accordance with the updated digital blueprint is also required. The quick feedback loops and iterations that were seen during the pandemic have demonstrated the “art of the possible”, and these practices need to be continued going forward. Digital Nation plans need to be impactful, yet flexible enough to cope with changing requirements and needs, some of which cannot be foreseen. Plans need to be agile, constantly reviewed and enhanced iteratively as and when needed. Boost innovation everywhere: Innovation needs to be encouraged in digital tools and methods as much as for traditional methods, for instance, through making sure reimbursement models and incentives in key sectors are properly aligned with new ways of operating. In a regulatory sense, digital supply, tools and methods cannot be viewed as mere secondary choices, but have to be regarded as equivalent options. Reimbursement and incentives should be based on results achieved, rather than the mode of service delivery. For example, in healthcare, physicians should be reimbursed according to number of patients catered to, whether physically or remotely, rather than number of physical visits made. Strengthen digital security: In many countries, information security was not prioritized during the pandemic. However, the increasing reliance on digital technology for every aspect of daily life in the postpandemic world means that attacks and data losses may have severe consequences and damage trust in a country’s governance abilities. For example, increasing levels of homeworking require tighter IT security and more digital competence on the part of users, since it is generally the user that is targeted during attacks. Some countries need to clarify regulations around the usage of cloud solutions by public administrations. Invest in digital infrastructure: The increasing need for digital communication drives higher demands from IT and communication infrastructure. To push development and increase broadband penetration, continuous investments in infrastructure are necessary, in both cities and rural areas. For example, research from Briglauer and Gugler shows high payback and impact from broadband investments generally, and these effects are even larger in societies that are already operating digitally. Insights for the executive The pandemic has undoubtedly provided a huge impetus towards digitalization across sectors and groups in countries across the world. As well as changing the behaviors of consumers, business and government towards digital tools and approaches, it highlighted gaps and inadequacies in existing national digital policies, infrastructures and plans, and provided a test bed for new approaches and tools. Countries now have a unique opportunity to rethink their national digitalization policies and plans. This means much more than just investment in digital infrastructure and security, although this will also be required. The pandemic has taught us several things that will be critical, including building responsiveness and agility into policy and regulation, ensuring that business models and incentives are aligned to support digital innovation, and building new capabilities and competences. Above all, becoming a true digital nation will require the participation of all stakeholders in the new digital society. Governments have an important role to play in stimulating, encouraging and legislating to ensure and enable access and participation among all citizens. They need to work with regions and municipalities, as well as private companies, to ensure enhancement of digital competence across all sections of society, tailored to the requirements of different stakeholders. Simultaneously, private actors play an important role in this transition – providing a unique opportunity to contribute and collaborate with the public sector in achieving a common objective that will provide mutual benefit. How effective countries are at becoming digital nations, and how fast they get there, will be a key factor in their economic success over the coming years. Language EnglishYear: 2021Number: 1Image: https://www.adlittle.com/sites/default/files/prism/arthur_d_little_prism_digital_nation_article_cover_0.jpgFile: arthur_d_little_prism_digital_nation.pdfAuthor (team): Johan TreutigerAgron LaskuFlipbook link: /flipbook/Prism-S1-2021/Full Prism: arthur_d_little_prism_brochure_01_2021.pdf...