Guest column | Liberty sprinkled with responsibility, a sure-fire recipe for success
Over the years, the admission process has become far more mechanised what with online enrolment and counselling
It is admission time once again in higher educational institutions across the country. As an academician, I miss the personal touch a teacher used to establish with aspiring admission seekers as the process involved laborious career discussions, rigorous documentation verification and finally enrolment. Many a time, a student’s entire outlook and career dimension would undergo sea-change post counselling. Boys and girls, fresh out of school, around ten years ago, had lesser awareness of the available courses and often on the recommendation of teachers would opt for some innovative or specialised course. This not only established the teacher-taught rapport but also generated a feeling of reverence towards the teacher.
Over the years, the admission process has become far more mechanised what with online enrolment and counselling. Students are at a loss as far as counselling for the choice of courses or elective subjects is concerned. Parents, often, with their limited know-how and outmoded ideas are of little help. During the course of my career as a teacher, I have witnessed many students seeking admission in a particular course not out of choice but under peer pressure or guidance without an inkling of what they are getting into. The outcome is obvious: the youngsters have the liberty to choose without being responsible for the choices they make. This reminds me of Ezra Taft Benson’s paradoxical statement, “You are free to choose, but you are not free to alter the consequences of your decisions.”
College life, no doubt, offers students a plethora of choices related to picking up courses, selecting subjects, attending classes, appearing in examinations along with dressing up at their will. However, the authorities while handing liberty to the students should remind them of their share responsibility towards the institution as well as society. Only then we can expect to nurture them as individuals with a strong sense of responsibility.
The lack of a sense of responsibility is often exhibited by students during admission days, which my colleagues and I have been privy of numerous times. When you ask them to sign some document, you will find that they are not carrying a pen! The next thing you know, they are picking up the teacher’s pen from the table without seeking permission. They sign the document and put the pen back without even muttering a ‘thank you’. Some students walk into the classroom without a book or a notebook as if they have bought a ticket to the matinee show and, therefore can casually saunter inside the classroom to witness it.
What is most infuriating is the irresponsible use of mobile phones by the students. Sample this: You are teaching in the classroom and a loud noise interrupts your cadence. You look outside only to find a student passing through the corridor talking loudly into his phone. You have two options – leave the class and rush after the nuisance maker or ignore the entire thing and try to pick up the loose threads of your discussion.
The moment the lecture is over and you are still standing in the classroom winding up your stuff, you will find at least a dozen students already busy on their mobile phones as if they were business tycoons who just lost a million dollar deal in the process of attending the class.
India is a country with maximum young population and it is, therefore, mandatory that the youth must learn to take responsibility for their action and choice. It is very easy to ask for liberty but very difficult to take responsibility. Remember, “Liberty is the prize, responsibility the price.”
The writer is an associate professor at SD College, Ambala Cantt