1.Culture is an expression of human beings’ unique capabilities and potentialities. Discuss the main characteristics of culture. (GS Paper-1, Art & Culture) (250 words)
Structure of the Answer
· Discuss the characteristics of culture
· Give examples to illustrate
Culture is used in two senses, a general and a specific sense. Used in a general sense, it implied the sum total of those characteristics which are unique to mankind and which have no parallel in the animal kingdom. When used in a specific sense, it refers to the totality of the life ways and behaviour patterns of a community or a group. One may speak, for example, of Chinese culture, Eskimo culture, Hindu culture, etc.
Features of Culture
Culture is characterised by the following features:
- It is shared in common by the members of a given society or community. Culture therefore, refers not to beliefs and activities of individuals, but to those of groups of people who are organised in communities. It is fundamentally a social, rather than personal or individual, phenomenon.
- Culture is learnt and acquired by human beings in interaction with others. An individual acquires the characteristics of his parents and his group in two ways. On the one hand, she or he acquires the physical characteristics and features of her or his parents, such as skin colour, stature, texture of hair and colour of the eyes, through genetic transmission, over which he or she has no control. On the other hand, he or she learns and acquires the thoughts, attitudes, language and habits of his or her parents, and through them, of his or her group, by way of cultural transmission.
- The differences among various groups and communities in regard to language, beliefs, customs and rituals are to be understood and explained not in terms of physical or racial differences, which are biologically inherited, but in terms of learnt and acquired cultural differences.
- Culture is not only learnt and acquired by individuals in a social context, but it is also accumulated and transmitted from generation to generation, through the mechanism of symbolic communication or language. In other words, a society or a community accumulates, over long periods of time, experiences, knowledge and skill, which are shared in common by its members, and it passes from one generation to another.
2.Identify the major weaknesses of the education sector in India. (GS Paper-2, Social Justice) (250 words)
Structure of the Answer
· Discuss the major challenges in education sector in India like poor quality, narrow coverage, gender biasness etc.
India has made progress in increasing the attainment rate of primary education. Much of the progress, especially in higher education and scientific research, has been credited to various public institutions. While enrolment in higher education has increased steadily over the past decade, there still remains a significant distance to catch up with tertiary education enrolment levels of developed nations, a challenge that will be necessary to overcome in order to continue to reap a demographic dividend from India’s comparatively young population.
The education sector has, however, demonstrated a number of weaknesses, among which the more important are as follows:
- Narrow coverage:
It has a very narrow coverage with only 2.5 % of the Indian population in the relevant age group attending colleges and universities, compared with 64% in the US and Canada, 47% in the OECD countries, 37.7% in South Korea and 20% in countries such as Cuba, Costa Rica and Venezuela.
The extremely poor retention rate at the primary level has been traced to the general neglect of the sector. Nevertheless, there has been a significant improvement during the last few years following the implementation of the SSA programme. The dropout rate in primary schools has fallen sharply.
The educational system in India is highly iniquitous in respect of access to facilities, utilisation of these facilities and finally realisation of the benefits from education. A recent World Bank study on the subject has established that 10% of the best educated Indians received 61% of the total resources as against 36% across Asia, reflecting higher degree of inequality in the system.
- High cost of Education:
- The cost of higher education in particular, has been relatively high. Though it is obvious that higher education would have much larger unit costs, cross-country comparison shows that India’s outlays on higher education are much above the level in many countries.
- This means that given the overall allocation of funds invested in the education sector, expenditure on higher education has crowded out the allocation for primary education.
- Low Quality:
- Notwithstanding the fact that we have many regulatory bodies of higher education, the quality of education is fairly low and content less relevant to the ‘needs of the individual and the society’.
- Very few Indian universities appear in a group of top 200 universities in the world.
- The educational system suffers from what has been called ‘diploma disease’ i.e. it does not aim at conveying knowledge and skills but is more concerned with certification and credentialing. As such, its contribution to the growth of human capital is minimal; it is unable to meet the emerging demands of skilled professionals.
- Gender Bias:
- Spread of education has been more biased towards boys than girls. This is brought out clearly by the data relating to gross enrolment ratio at different levels of education. The gross enrolment rates for girls are lower at all levels of education, whereas dropout rates are steeply higher.
- These facts are further supported by the data relating to the number of female teachers in relation to the number of male teachers, in some selected states in India.
- Given the emphasis on improving girls’ enrolment which is critically dependent upon the presence of female teachers, there is a need to increase the recruitment of female teachers in educationally fragile states in India.
The education sector in India has witnessed a paradigm shift in recent times. So far, basic primary education and certain specific institutions for higher education, like the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) and the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) have been the prominent parts of the Indian education sector. However, the Indian education sector is slowly but steadily moving on the reforms track.
3.What is the relationship between population growth and economic development? (GS Paper-3, Economic Development) (250 words)
Structure of the Answer
· Discuss the impact of population growth on economic development
There is a two-way relationship between human resources and economic development. It means that economic development influences population growth. In turn, population growth also influences economic development. The impact of high population growth on economic growth is felt in many areas of development.
Population growth and economic development
- Higher population growth would imply greater requirement for houses, schools, hospitals, food, water supply, road, electricity and so on. Thus lower amount is available for investment in agriculture, industries and production of services (for example, trade, hotels, banking, etc.).
- Rapid growth in population puts pressure on existing infrastructure. In fact, higher population growth rate retards economic development. As population growth takes place, the size of population of a country increases. Unless there is simultaneous increase in national income also, the ‘per capita income’ (that is, national income divided by total population) will decline.
- It is usually observed that for a country both population and national income increase over time. In India, for example, experiencing growth rate in gross domestic product (GDP) at present is about 7 per cent while population growth rate is about 1.8 per cent. Thus increase in per capita income is (i.e. subtract 1.8 from 7) 5.2 per cent. If population growth rate were higher, then per capita income growth would have been lower.
- Higher per capita implies higher standard of living of people. Thus every country, including India, aspires to achieve higher growth rate in per capita income.
- It is observed world over that, developed countries have lower population growth rate. It is due to low birth rate and low death rate. India has been able to reduce its death rate while birth rate continues to remain high.
- Along with economic development, there’ is improvement in literacy and life expectancy. Thus people become aware of the adverse effects of large family size. Their productivity improves due to availability of health facilities.
- Literacy, particularly female literacy, is found to be a major factor in reducing population growth rate.
- As economic development takes place there is a change in production technology. More industries and service activities come up and people find employment in these sectors. Thus they provide higher income to people. The requirement of industries and services are different from agriculture in so far as education and training of labour force is concerned.
Often it is said that ‘take care of economic development and development will take care of population problem’. However, economic development is a long run process. A developing country cannot wait for economic development to take place expecting that this will reduce its population growth. Thus many countries pursue a population policy to reduce population growth rate.
4.Emotional intelligence is considered an important factor in success of people. Describe emotional intelligence. (GS Paper-4, Ethics) (150 words)
Structure of the Answer
· Define emotional intelligence
· Mention elements of emotional intelligence
Reference: Lexicon’s Ethics
The modern concept of emotions focuses on Emotional competency and emotional intelligence. The term emotional intelligence has been widely used by many people. It was first brought into focus that intelligence is not just the general ability but has three different levels of functioning i.e., abstract intelligence, mechanical intelligence and social intelligence.
Emotional intelligence is the capability of individuals to recognize their own emotions and those of others, discern between different feelings and label them appropriately, use emotional information to guide thinking and behaviour, and manage emotions to adapt to environments or achieve one’s goal.
- Mayer and Solovey had coined the term “Emotional Intelligence”. Goleman has tried to make a distinction between emotional intelligence and emotional competencies. It is referred in relation to emotions. Emotional intelligence may be more clearly distinguished from general intelligence as involving the manipulation of emotions and emotional content.
- Emotional intelligence determines our potential for learning the practical skills based on the five elements: self-awareness, motivation, self-regulation, empathy and adeptness in relationships.
- Emotional intelligence involves striking a balance between emotion and reason in which neither is completely in control.
- Emotionally intelligent people know when it is right to control their emotions and when it is right to be controlled by them.
- Emotional intelligence also involves the ability to read other people’s emotions correctly.
Despite this criticism, emotional intelligence has wide appeal among the general public, as well as in certain sectors. In recent years, some employers have even incorporated emotional intelligence tests into their application or interview processes, on the theory that someone high in emotional intelligence would make a better leader or co-worker. Some studies have found a link between emotional intelligence and job performance.
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