Higher Education - Need for Timely Transition

Aug 5, 2020

'Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world' - Nelson Mandela

It is about seven decades ago that India became as a free nation. Higher education system was built on the premise of building a vibrant India, where our bright young people, the cream of our society would create a scientific temperament, and build a nation with dedication, consistent hard work and inclusion without discrimination. The ideal learning outcomes of higher education was to provide - Knowledge in the core discipline, Develop skills necessary for being gainfully employed and inculcate in the student values and ideals in building a just and equitable society.

The Education system was built in such a way as to test the students’ knowledge, skill and aptitude. The end result was the examination system that ensured testing knowledge though rote memory and in most cases nothing more than that. The examination was designed in such a way that it become impersonalised. The student transformed into “a candidate” having a register number instead of his or her name, The College/Department became examination centre, and the teacher became the invigilator while the principal became the chief superintendent. The examination apparatus successfully delinked itself from the learning-teaching system. The end result is the system of education became opaque and depersonalised with the sole objective of through the examination system dividing students into categories of “pass” or “fail”. The pass category was further subdivided into distinction, first class, second class or just pass. It is needless to say that it encourages students to imbibe the negative values of selfishness, fear of failing, and exclusion in competitiveness. The result is that the education system built a small number of self-motivated students but the vast majority just went to institutions of higher learning to merely acquire a degree with a fond hope that it would be a passport for getting a plumb job.

What should then be the outcome of our education system?

The ideal outcome of our education system ought to be that our students, the future citizens of this great country must be expected to play a constructive role in shaping the future of the country and build values and ideals that are progressive. There is no better time than now for Universities and Institutes of Higher Education to move away from the present examination oriented system and move towards models that ensure that holistic development of students who have values and ideals that is expected to mould their character, intellectual calibre, and skills. In ordinary times, maintaining status quo is the norm and what could be achieve is only incremental changes. The COVID crisis has certainly taught us a lesson by putting the examination system into disarray. The system of examination is so well established that it has successfully resisted criticisms. If this crisis even makes a minor improvement in the examination system it would be a welcome change. The pandemic has punctured out education system, showed kinks in our capabilities and has made alternative modes of educational delivery the need of the hour.

Time for Change?

The pandemic has presented an opportunity to reflect on our educational system. There is no better time than now to experiment and build in new modes of learning that could act as a supplement to the regular teaching learning process in the future through the remote learning mode. Even before the pandemic set in, efforts were made to use MOOCs like Swayam, courser and Edex. There were assessment tools like online quiz etc. The UGC has made available resources to the academic community for online learning and self-paced learning which was given a lacklustre response from the academic community. The pandemic has brought digital learning to the forefront. The digital learning is currently used as a substitute to the regular learning method which many have raised concerns about its effectiveness. But there is no issues regarding using it as a supplement. If used judicially, it can be an excellent complement to regular teaching-learning. Experts from various Institutions and senior professionals could be roped through the online mode to reach the nook and corner of the country. The transition has become inevitable in the future. There is a hope of building synergy into the future of our educational system. Academicians as well as professionals can upload videos of lectures into a repository of the UGC (instead of U-tube) after content validation and grading the content. Courses with inbuilt evaluation system can be uploaded with a face-to-face live lectures/ demonstrations through webinars that would help the entire education system to network for the benefit of the whole student community irrespective of their institutional affiliation.

When we come to the evaluation system several innovative technologies could be used to assess the learning outcomes. At the bottom of all assessments should be to improve knowledge and skills required by the society along with transparency. The education process will then truly be to understand, analyse, apply and evaluate the learning outcome. It is therefore the right time now to move from the massive effort to evaluate students and make substantive effort to develop skills, help students to lead an enriched life, build a pro-social attitude and values that will help students lead an enriched life through collaborated efforts of their peers rather than a competitive effort of the existing system.

There is no better time than now for Indian Universities and Institute of Higher Learning to experiment and innovate in the teaching-learning and evaluative process. In the words of John Lewis who remarked “It’s not now, then when?” It is time to build a collective education future for the next generation with the basic object and with the willingness to transform our educational system where we do bold to drop the obsolete and start to nurture the system that can educate rather than evaluate.




By Dr P G Aquinas
Dr P G Aquinas is Professor and Chairman of the Post Graduate Department of Studies and Research in Social Work at Mangalore University, Mangalagangothri.
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Comment on this article

  • Vishwas Rebimbus, Jeppu, Mangalore

    Thu, Aug 13 2020

    Congratulations Dr.Paul on this unique article highlighting the need of a promising educational system for our children in the future. Your article has given us insight in reflecting on what and how our Educational and Evaluation system should actually work on. There are very rare articles nowadays which provoke its readers to act accordingly and no doubts Dr. Paul Acquintas has been successful in bringing out a true message which not only makes an impact on the education system but also could be referred and taken as a base foundation to start a new education system that every parent would love to invest for their children. Wishing you all success in your future endeavours and would love to read many more articles from you.

  • Hazel Castelino, Pangla / Bahrain

    Mon, Aug 10 2020

    Well written article Dr P G Aquinas. Reform in evaluation process is need of the hour in India. Focusing more on employable skills would greatly help the youth who are not able to cope with advanced learning. Rightly said, if it’s not now, then when?

  • Henry castelino, Pangla / Bahrain

    Mon, Aug 10 2020

    Dear Paul
    Congratulations on your well written article on higher education -
    And the need for transition.

  • Veeda D'Mello, Pangla/UK

    Mon, Aug 10 2020

    Congratulations to Dr Paul G. Aquinas on a well written article on shaping the Teaching methods. I am sure this will inspire many teachers to contribute for the future education of young generation.

  • Dr Cyprian Mendonca, Pangala/England

    Sun, Aug 09 2020

    Many congratulations to Dr Paul Aquinas for a well written, thought provoking educational article highlighting the challenges that the educational system is faced with during Covid -19 pandemic. This is truly an innovative article that allows readers to see the truth behind this flawed educational system. I agree that now is the time to reflect on the current system and to plan for the future improvement in both the delivery and assessment of educational curriculums that influences a model of holistic development of students.

  • LARISSA SAMS, Mangalore

    Sun, Aug 09 2020

    True reflection of thoughts of many educationist...There is lot to be incorporated on regular basis by our teachers...not only now even in the coming days....to make education...more lively and not monotonous. Competency in technology...will be an added advantage be it in delivering content or evaluating the atudent. Well written...sir..

  • Arun Stephen Fernandes, Milagres- Mlore/ Bahrain

    Fri, Aug 07 2020

    It's a innovative article by Dr. Paul Gerald Aquinas. Nicely briefed about modern education. Need to implement in the present educational system.

  • Lancy Misquitta, Mangaluru/Mumbai/Dubai

    Fri, Aug 07 2020

    This Article by Dr. Paul is very Invigorating ! Its Time to Overall the Educational System ! The Thought-Provoking Insights should be Implemented for A Futuristic Education with All Round Development ! May our Future Generation Benifit from its Merits ! May the Authorities, do the needful !

  • Lionel, Mangaluru

    Thu, Aug 06 2020

    Truely well written Paul. Our Education system badly required an overhaul. Our students need to have a hands-on training. Further they should be trained to think and be creative rather than mug up things.

  • Vinod Dsouza, Mangalore

    Thu, Aug 06 2020

    I would like to Congratulate you Dr. P G Aquinas for your well written article on education system and its well needed transition to suit the modern world. This pandemic has really taught us a great lesson to adapt to the new condition bringing in new changes in our educational system which is the need of the hour. your visionary thoughts has hit the bulls eye on the flaws with our age old educational system where a students quality is a assessed by the performance in the examination. This article is surely a eye opener for the people who matter in framing our educational policies to take some cue from your wisdom filled thought. All the very best and keep your thought posted on varied subject with new articles.

  • Anjali Ganesh, Mangaluru

    Thu, Aug 06 2020

    Very comprehensively written article on contemporary aspect. I found this article quite apt and explains vividly the future outcome of our education system.

  • Gilbert Menezes, Moodubelle / Melbourne

    Thu, Aug 06 2020

    Thank you Dr P G Aquinas for a visionary article! It is indeed the need of the hour to impart skill and value-based education to all students to develop our society and country into a peaceful and prosperous nation. Until now competition-based education has mostly led to intolerance and immorality halting natural progress to become a developed nation! No one needs to compete with each other as we are all so unique and our talents are so different from each other! "Now" is a more suitable time than ever to unlock the new value and skill-based education!

  • Leeda, Mangalore

    Thu, Aug 06 2020

    Very well written. Indeed there is a need for a transition in education system

  • Bhavanishankar, Ajjinadka Banywal

    Wed, Aug 05 2020

    Nice writing about higher education in present condition. It is time to change the scenario of education system to change. But it is become a burden to the poor bright students to get an education because the private sector would scrab the money from the parents in the name of online coaching classes.

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