The central point of the education is not to produce mechanical robots, but to produce good human beings -- this was the core thought and motive of principals' meet organised at UGC-Academic Staff College of Guru Nanak Dev University, where 38 principals from various affiliated colleges were present.
In his inaugural address, AS Brar, vice-chancellor, Guru Nanak Dev University, applauded the Academic Staff College for taking the initiative. "It is a pity that higher education in India lags behind at the international level. We need to strive hard to be on par with advanced countries," he added.
SS Chahal, vice-chancellor, Deshbhagat University, delivered a talk on "Higher education in India and RUSA" (National Higher Education Mission). Starting from the historical perspective of higher education in the British India, he discussed various stages through which higher education has passed.
Chahal highlighted the salient features of RUSA like internationalisation of higher education i.e. to bring up the educational standards on par with the global standards; increase in GER (Gross Enrolment Ratio), which, as of now, is 19% much less than the developed countries; to plug the gap between rural and urban education and to minimise the gap between male and female education.
He concluded his talk by saying that ultimately it is the teacher who has to play a crucial and significant role in translating all these noble aims and objectives of RUSA in practice.
DN Jauhar, former vice-chancellor of Baba Bhimrao Ambedkar University, Agra, spoke on "Legal issues in higher education".
He emphasised that principals as heads of institutes must keep themselves abreast of the statutes and various decisions of the university, with which they are affiliated, taken from time to time in order to stick to them.
Jauhar talked about the positive contribution of the Right to Information Act for administrators, especially principals.
He described Right to Information (RTI) as the first revolutionary step in India in 21st century. Jauhar exhorted the principals to act as a captain and lead the team from the front in terms of honesty, integrity, punctuality and above all knowledge.
He regretted that mindset and aptitude of most principals is same as that of the British era.
He counselled principals to encourage their students to develop inquisitive mind rather than gathering only facts and figures. "The central point of the education is not to produce mechanical robots, but to produce good human beings," he emphasised.
Undoubtedly, the professional career of students is of utmost importance in the present world, but at the same time to bring about a positive change in society, the higher education has to play an important role. The syllabi and curriculum of various disciplines, especially social sciences, should be adapted in the Indian context rather than the prevalent practice of blindly following the western system.
"The essential part of education is not only to indulge students in bookish knowledge but also to shape their personality as good human beings who can show the society right direction," said SP Gautam, professor of Philosophy from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.
An open discussion session was held in the end.