Reading Comprehension for IBPS PO: Part 10


Read the following passage carefully and answer the questions given below it. Certain words are printed in bold to help you locate them while answering some of the questions.
The other day, a student asked me what exactly the word ‘liberal’ mean. She wanted to know whether ‘liberalisation’ promotes ‘liberal’ values. She had noticed that institutions of higher education, which are supposed to promote liberal values, were finding it difficult to resist ideological and commercial pressures education, which are supposed to promote liberal values, were finding it difficult to resist ideological and commercial pressures triggered by the process of economic liberalisation. So, was economic liberalism different from political liberalism? And what do people mean when they refer to neo-liberal policies? The questions she was asking could hardly be addressed without invoking the political economy that has emerged over the last three decades.
When liberalisation of the economy started to receive common consent in the mid-1980s, few people thought of examining what it would mean for education. Then, in 1991 came the dramatic announcement of a new economic policy, accompanied by a package of steps to be taken for ‘structural adjustment’ of the Indian economy. The purpose of ‘adjustment’ was to facilitate India’s integration into the global economy. Even then, education didn’t receive specific attention. Some critics of the new economic policy expressed anxiety about the consequences of state withdrawal from its prime role and responsibility in sectors like education and health. The national policy on education drafted in 1986 had mostly adhered to the established state-centric view. A major review in the early 1990s vaguely resonated the new discourse of liberalisation, but offered little evidence of change in the basic perspective. The Programme of Action, announced in 1992, stopped short of admitting that the state’s role in education was about to change. Nobody could imagine at that point that over the following decades, the state’s role in education would change so much that the Constitution would begin to sound like rhetoric.
In order to examine what happened, we must make a distinction between school and higher education. When Prime Minister P.V. NarasimhaRao spoke about liberalisation as the central theme of the new economic policy, he also referred to the ‘structural adjustment programme’. Under this programme, the World Bank offered a ‘safety net’ for primary education. It meant additional resources and policy guidance to enable the system to expand its capacity for enrolling children. The District Primary Education Programme (DPEP), which later mutated into SarvaShikshaAbhiyan (SSA), symbolised the ‘safety net’ approach. It was designed to cushion the harsh effects that ‘structural adjustment’ under liberalisation was expected to cause in welfare sectors like children’s education and health. The DPEP and SSA efficiently served this role, creating an ethos in which children’s education seemed to have become a major priority of the state. The success of these programmes emboldened the government to push the Right to Education (RTE) law through Parliament. Governments of many States registered their anxiety over their capacity to fund the implementation of RTE after the Central assistance provided under SSA runs dry.
In higher education, the new economic policy designed on the principles of liberalisation offered no safety net. From the beginning, the assumption was that higher education ought to generate its own resources. An accompanying idea was that higher education should respond to market demands in terms of knowledge and skills. Over the last three decades, these two guiding ideas have dented the established system of higher education in all parts of the country. Both Central and State universities have been starved of financial resources. Cutting down on permanent staff, both teaching and non-teaching, has emerged as the best strategy to cope with financial crunch. A complex set of outcomes, specific to different universities, makes any general analysis difficult. In some, self-financed courses, mostly vocational in nature, have provided a means of income. In others, such courses have been resisted by teacher unions. However, these unions have gradually lost their power and say because they are broken from within.

1. Which of the following offered a safety net for primary education?
A. Government of India
B. World economic forum
C. World bank
D. The District Primary Education Programme (DPEP)
E. None of these

2. Which of the following statement is/are true according to the passage? 
i. The purpose of ‘adjustment’ was to facilitate India’s integration into the global economy. 
ii. It was designed to cushion the harsh effects that ‘structural adjustment’ under liberalisation was not expected to cause in welfare sectors like children’s education and health.
iii. The national policy on education drafted in 1986 had mostly adhered to the established state-centric view.

A. Only i
B. Only i and iii
C. Only iii
D. Only ii
E. All i, ii, iii

3. What was the central theme of new economic policy according to the given passage? 
A. SarvaShikshaAbhiyan (SSA) 
B. Education and health.
C. New economic policy
D. Right to Education (RTE)
E. Liberalization

4. Which two guiding ideas have dented the established system of higher education in the country? 
A. The DPEP and SSA should serve their role efficiently 
B. Higher education should respond to market demands in terms of knowledge and skills.
C. Cutting down on permanent staff, both teaching and non-teaching
D. Additional resources and policy guidance to enable the system to expand its capacity
E. None of these

5. Which of the following statement is not true according to the passage? 
i. The questions she was asking could hardly be addressed without invoking the political economy that has emerged over the last three decades. 
ii. Some critics of the new economic policy expressed anxiety about the consequences of state withdrawal from its prime role and responsibility in sectors like education and health.
iii. In 1991 came the dramatic announcement of a new economic policy, accompanied by a package of steps to be taken for ‘structural adjustment’ of the Indian education.
iv. All are true. 

A. Only i
B. Only i and iii
C. Only iii
D. Only ii
E. All i, ii, iii

6. Choose the word which is MOST SIMILAR in meaning of the word printed in bold as used in the passage. 
Triggered 
(i) Started
(ii) Stooped
(iii) Arrested

A. Only (i)
B. Only (ii)
C. Only (iii)
D. (ii) and (iii)
E. (i), (ii) and (iii)

7. Choose the word which is MOST SIMILAR in meaning of the word printed in bold as used in the passage. 
Liberal 
(i)Kind
(ii) Generous
(ii) Narrow-minded

A. Only (i)
B. Only (iii)
C. (i) and (ii)
D. (i) and (iii)
E. (i), (ii) and (iii)

8. Choose the word which is MOST OPPOSITE in meaning of the word printed in bold as used in the passage. 
Rhetoric 
(i)Mispronouncement
(ii) Oratory
(iii) Silent

A. Only (i)
B. (i) and (iii)
C. Only (iii)
D. (ii) and (iii)
E. Only (iii)

Answers With Explanation

1. Ans. C. 

Solution: 
(The World Bank offered a ‘safety net’ for primary education.) 

2. Ans. B. 

Solution: 
(The purpose of ‘adjustment’ was to facilitate India’s integration into the global economy.
It was designed to cushion the harsh effects that ‘structural adjustment’ under liberalisation was expected to cause in welfare sectors like children’s education and health.
The national policy on education drafted in 1986 had mostly adhered to the established state-centric view.) 

3. Ans. E. 

Solution:
(Liberalisation as the central theme of the new economic policy,) 

4. Ans. B. 

Solution: (Higher education should respond to market demands in terms of knowledge and skills. Over the last three decades, these two guiding ideas have dented the established system of higher education) 

5. Ans. C. 

Solution: (In 1991 came the dramatic announcement of a new economic policy, accompanied by a package of steps to be taken for ‘structural adjustment’ of the Indian economy.) 

6. Ans. A. 

Solution: Triggered: Started

7. Ans. C. 

Solution Liberal: Kind, Generous 

8. Ans. B. 

Solution: Rhetoric’s opposite: Mispronouncement, Silent


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