Yesterday, I went on a professional pilgrimage to the Mecca of curriculum and educational research in India – the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT), New Delhi. In the middle of a very hot Delhi afternoon, their sprawling and yet quite green acres impressed me.
The objective of my visit was scholarly (buy some books) but found myself wearing the touristy lens, enjoying walking the acres and silence embellished with the occasional chirps of birds. The staff at the book store was a very efficient, cooperative and happy lot of people who took out books and offered catalogues at the slightest expression of interest on my part. This was in contrast to my experience with government spaces in India with rude, uncommunicative and grumpy staff – both seniors and subordinates. The books are very nominally priced and there are a variety of textbooks to choose from.
I decided to subscribe to the Indian Educational Review, a quarterly journal published by NCERT. To my disbelief, I was politely informed that the journal was running late, as in the last published issue was July 2008 and that I could fill up my subscription but nobody knew when I would get the next edition. I decided to transfer my attention to another quarterly, The Primary Teacher. Unbelievably, the last published issue was even more dated in 2007.
I was shocked at the inefficiency and the apathy of the academia at the apex institute of educational research. Do they really understand the sanctity of timeliness in case of a periodical? What about professional accountability, and are they not accountable to anyone for efficient and smooth discharge of their duties? Isn’t their nomenclature (National Council of Educational Research and Training) a misnomer if they fail to make public, research that informs educational practices? I am sure that the researchers are doing their job well and mostly in time, so why the educational community is deprived of their research findings?
Is the person/s in-charge of the publication and dissemination of educational research at NCERT, listening?