Feedback by Prof. Srigopal Mohanty

One purpose of higher education is to build intellectual asset including well informed citizens. In contemporary world, practically all problems and concepts are multi-faceted and interdisciplinary which need broad based knowledge. From this point of view, I have the following submission.

1. Provide opportunities for students to learn subjects from disciplines other than their own and encourage them to do so.

In today’s world an exposure to science, scientific concepts and applications has become vital for common persons and especially for decision makers and non-technical professionals, such as lawyers. Similarly a scientist, engineer or any technical professional needs to understand the society, to be sensitive to cultural diversities, and appreciate human creativity of various kinds.

2. Create a programme to attract students to learn both science and humanities/social science.

It is to be considered more challenging and the admission should be restricted to those with high grades and/or who come through competitive entrance exam similar to the admission into IIT. Its end is not to directly lead to any job but should attract only those who are ready to accept challenges and are well motivated.  Unlike IIT or IIM which channels its graduates to focused professions, the graduates of this programme may aspire for leadership role in the society. India needs such talents badly. They can also enter any profession say, politics, administration, engineering, medicine, law, education, business and they are expected to be better prepared citizens than those who join the professional programmes directly.

The programme will provide an alternative to a few that exists, namely, engineering, management and IT.

3. Change the present grading system to prepare thinkers and problem solvers or otherwise. Provide opportunities and encouragement for participation in workshops, group discussions, seminars, oral presentation, hand-on solution to problems and development of team working culture.

4. Introduce inter-disciplinary programmes.

This concept is not new and some do exist. It follows from the above three points and they follow from this one.

5. Introduce learning of ethics including rights and responsibilities, comparative religions, participatory democracy and India’s complex diversities with special emphasis on rural India and tribal population. Students of all disciplines should be encouraged to join.

6.  Similarly introduce learning of data analysis and interpretation. Data collection and analysis has become a routine feature of modern time. 

Remarks:

1. No need for me to emphasize the expansion of vocational training. Its priority is well understood.

2. My suggestions are some to revolutionize the educational curriculum but are not completely new. True some of the suggestions are already implemented at some special institutions. But my proposals should be thought for universal implementation. In the past India has shun from many progressive policies except selectively implementing them with an excuse that the whole country is not ready for those at that moment and afterwards having amnesia that has led to two-tier higher educational institutions with an abysmal disparity so much so that one can not recognize that the institutions like many universities and colleges have any real existence.

3. This is connected to #2. We live in a connected world. The higher education does not exist in air. Its base is primary and secondary education. A comprehensive plan is necessary to include all aspects of education including the provision of making it equitable. It is similar to an interdisciplinary study. In my observation India’s over emphasis on higher education since independence at the cost of primary and secondary education has caused the huge socio-economic gap that is undermining a healthy democracy.  

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