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Should we doubt the integrity of MBOSE review experts?

Editor,

Being associated with the text book trade for the past three decades I quite know where the shoe pinches. So, with reference to the article ‘“Small time booksellers given preference over reputed publishing houses by MBOSE” (ST, Nov 20, 2017), I would like to question how the book publishers from outside the state spell doom for the locals? How can the local publishers be sidelined and discouraged by the academic board like MBOSE? Is there any state policy that seeks to dampen the spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship of the local wannabes? 

What if the ‘Shillong Chamber Choir’ was not patted on the back by the local folks during its trying time? What if the pop songs of UK and USA were allowed to drown out the songs of Neil Nongkynrih and his dedicated team? Could it then have brought so many laurels for the state? My dispassionate investigation gave me the real insight into MBOSE. I now understand how the board operates as far as textbooks selection exercise is concerned. MBOSE felt the need of changing the old textbooks. Before that, it called for a series of meetings and conducted symposiums. It posted questionnaires to seek opinions from the concerned public.  

Taking a cue from past “misunderstandings,” MBOSE has this time adopted all precautionary measures in the book selection process. It drove home the point that it would not budge an inch on the quality of the manuscripts. It informed the publishers that their books must measure up to the set standards and laid down syllabus. The Chairman and his team also  demanded from all the publishers that the books from Classes1 to 5 must include chapters from Meghalaya , be well-customized, with sufficient inputs on the state’s culture, tradition, and values.

               In order to achieve the set goal impeccably, MBOSE conceived the ideas and methodology so that utmost transparency and secrecy is maintained. All the names of the authors, labels of publishing houses were removed and systematically codified so that no subject experts reviewing the books would know about the authorship and ownership of the submitted manuscripts.

 MBOSE roped in over 300 experts to review the books subject-wise.  On their part, having thoroughly reviewed the submitted manuscripts, they presented their “verdicts” in the most confidential manner. As informed by the academic team, even the Chairman was not aware what books have been selected by the respective review committees.

But now, to the sheer annoyance of everyone, some publishers from outside Meghalaya are throwing a tantrum. Since they doubt the integrity of the review experts many local people have been feeling humiliated.  Most of them have visited the MBOSE offices wanting to know why their sincere efforts were being doubted. One teacher on condition of anonymity remarked, ‘How can a few dissatisfied and greedy publishers hold the future of our students to ransom. The government should know that a businessman would never admit that his item is inferior’.  Another teacher lamented, “We did not know which manuscripts belonged to which publisher. Since our sincerity is being questioned we shall not participate if the Board calls us again for the book review”.

I don’t wish to speak much about the history of ‘Student Publication’ of Shillong but I have to praise the proprietor’s determination to hunt for a proficient English teacher to write English textbooks for MBOSE. This publisher met with one writer of international repute, Ms Sarita Dasgupta who is a  product of Loreto Convent, Shillong. Ms  Dasgupta, who now lives in Kolkata, is also the resource person of ‘Orient Blackswan and Macmillan’ companies. Till recently, she was a GESE Examiner for “Trinity College”, London. Her short poem for Class -3 on “Meghalaya” captivated my heart and I am sure this poem will lift the spirit of not only tiny school kids but the entire teaching community of Meghalaya. Should we not take pride in this good product of Meghalaya?

Should the Government not be pleased with the local publishing houses that picked out the “gems” from the crowd and paraded them before the state academia? Let’s learn to be self-reliant than being dependent.

Yours etc.,

Salil Gewali,

Via email    

Kudos HDFC Bank!

Editor,

Your esteemed newspaper highlighted about the Company Social Responsibility (CSR) or Parivartan, being executed by HDFC Bank at Umpathaw village near Nongpoh, Ri Bhoi District, through Mr Paresh Sukthankar, Deputy Managing Director of HDFC Bank with the objective of transforming the lives of the 500 odd villagers of this hamlet. This is praiseworthy indeed. Though this is just being launched and the outcome is yet to be seen on the ground, yet it is hoped that this step will definitely yield the desired results.  I would like to ask other banks and companies located here as to what CSR activity they have taken up? Or are they here only to loot and plunder? 

Many private banks are set up here in Meghalaya, including many financial agencies, including Chit Fund agencies. Even public sector banks were set up in Meghalaya to meet the banking needs of the people here but almost all of them are least interested in advancing loans to the needy, especially the genuine local tribals here, forget about CSR. They are interested only in deposits, offer the lowest of interests in the market today and invest the precious savings of the people outside the state to enrich elsewhere. This has already brought about imbalance in development. The reports placed at the various SLBC meetings clearly prove the point that the credit-deposit (CD) ratio of the banks here are the lowest in the country, with precious little or nil CSR. If at all, they spend a measly amounts only for this vital component which is mandated upon them as per the CSR Regulations which directs all companies to spend two percent of their profits as CSR.

It is time for banks and other companies to redeem themselves by unleashing the locked up CSR and extend the same to the many neglected villages in Meghalaya, to contribute to the development of the state through transforming people’s lives.

Yours etc.,

Philip Marwein,

Via email

Rotary Club’s outreach!  

Editor,

Through your esteemed column, I would like to express my gratitude to  Albert Lyngdoh for his appreciation of the Rotary Club of Shillong in his letter published in your daily  captioned, “Kudos Rotary Club of Shillong.”

The Rotary Club of Shillong in its 60 years of existence has contributed towards the welfare of the community in different ways namely, Mother Teresa’s Lepers’ Colony at Nongpoh, Gastroscope in H. Gordon Presbyterian  Hospital, Ultrasound machine to R.K Mission dispensary, ICU at Nazareth Hospital, X-Ray machine to Bharat Sewashram, clean drinking water to several schools in Shillong and outside Shillong and more than 8 (eight) heart operations in Delhi’s hospitals for the children coming from underprivileged society under our scheme titled “Gift of Life”.

There are a number of other contributions made as and when the need arises and it is the generosity of Shillongites who have come forward to assist the club in its Fund Raising Programmes for the welfare of the society.

I have narrated a few instances whereas the list of beneficiaries is quite long. As our motto says, “Service above Self”, it is well defined and understood by the humanitarian projects undertaken by the Rotary Club of Shillong. 

Yours etc.,

S.L. Singhania

Past President

Rotary Club of Shillong

 

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