The state of public instruction in the country is incontrovertibly dismal. Not only are the people directly concerned with the running of schools, colleges and universities unhappy with their inadequate functioning, but various other segments of the populace are also utterly dissatisfied with unsatisfactory delivery system of educational institutions. As a result the prevalence of this menacing malaise is a cause of worry for every discerning individual. All this had been agitating the thoughtful minds of the learned members of the Institute of Sikh Studies (IOSS) for long. Responding purposefully, members of the Institute of Sikh Studies resolved that the problem should be discussed coolly and deliberatively in a sound manner at an assemblage of knowledgeable individuals, with creditable credentials in the field of public instruction and to glean and hammer out concrete ideas for improving school education, especially in rural areas where the bulk of Indian population resides, and a seminar of adequate duration should be held at Chandigarh. The IOSS, in collaboration with its sister organization International Sikh Confederation decided that the eminent scholar Dr Kharak Singh be requested to convene a seminar on the subject for two days. Dr Kharak Singh very kindly acceded to this request and put his heart and soul to organize the seminar on ‘The State of School Education in Rural Punjab’ on October 1-2, 2006 at Chandigarh.
By dint of his serene commitment, intellectual acumen and wide range of contacts, he was successful in arranging a very high level of scholarly participation from a broad spectrum educationist. The problem was discussed in detail for two days on October 1 and 2, 2006 in a learned assemblage of eminent educationists representing varied streams of educational facilities. This compendium of views, approaches and steps that ought to be taken, has been painstakingingly prepared by Dr Kharak Singh, ably assisted by Prof Kulwant Singh.
I hope the outcome of this seminar will act as a good catalyst to bring about the much desired improvement in the field of public instruction.
I express my sincere thanks and appreciation to the honourable members of the IOSS and ISC who whole-heartedly endeavoured to make the seminar a great success. I am beholden to the learned participants who spared their greatly valuable time to come to the seminar and furnish their highly commendable views to the distinguished audience. My special thanks are owed to Dr Kharak Singh, who deftly and diligently laboured for a long period: firstly to organize the seminar and thereafter to bring forth this erudite compendium.
President, Institute of Sikh Studies
December 20, 2006