Quality Education Scientific Temper

विज्ञान: पठन पाठन, गुणवत्ता एवं वैज्ञानिक संस्कृति

[SCIENCE: TEACHING AND LEARNING, QUALITY AND SCIENTIFIC CULTURE/TEMPERAMENT]

Beginning of 2020, a time to ponder upon:

Revisit Indian Education: VISION 2020 – Challenges ahead’.

This ‘Article’ in Hindi विज्ञान: पठन पाठन, गुणवत्ता एवं वैज्ञानिक संस्कृति [Science: Teaching and Learning, Quality and Scientific Culture/Temperament ], designed for the occasion of National Science Seminar, November 22 – 25, 2006, organized by National Council for Science and Technology Communication, Department of Science Technology, India, at Khajuraho (Madhya Pradesh, India), is appropriately suited to the present-day scenario even after 14 years when the idea ‘Revisit Indian Education: Vision 2020 Challenges ahead’, was dreamt by the former President of India (Late) Shri A. P. J. Abbul Kalam.

MOTIVATION

This article is motivated by the ideas of the former President of India (Late) Shri A. P. J. Abbul Kalam, expressed in his valedictory address, ‘Revisit Indian Education: Vision 2020 Challenges ahead’, on April 4, 2006, Vigyan Bhavan, New Delhi, India, with the head line:

Education has to lead to capacity building among students”.

The right-up of speech also headed a quotation:

Learning gives Creativity; Creativity leads to thinking; Thinking provides knowledge; Knowledge makes you great”.

Following concluding lines of his address are also relevant [even after 14 years of his address] to strengthening and reorienting the Education system:

Education system indeed has to discover and build on the strength of the students and bring out the creativity which will gradually result in development of a responsible citizen. Hence, our education system must re-orient itself to help students to know what strengths they own, as every human being born on this planet has been blessed with certain strengths”.

THE ESCENCE OF THE ARTICLE IN BRIEF

It is a matter of about 14 years when the above referred sentiments were expressed about the state of affairs regarding education system (from lower to higher classes). 2020 has come up to remind us the ‘challenges ahead’. The deplorable state of education (Science in particular) right from the primary to higher has been seeded in the article.

New education Policy by the Govt. of India has still to see the light of the day. Every now and then, since independence, the education sector witnessed a lot of ‘experimentations’. Making something in and something out of curricula has/had been noticed quite a number of times e.g., at Intermediate level (UP Board, Allahabad) sometimes there was literature English or general English options; at HS level there were once 6 subjects (Hindi, English, Math., Science, Biology and Arts) cutting short to 5 later on; Graduation (B.A. or B.Sc.) was once a two year degree course and later made a three year course; Graduate level saw the introduction of Every Day Science for Arts Students; Meerut University introduced Semester System way back in 1968-1969 but abolished later, getting introduced again along with uniform Syllabus system by University Grants Commission, New Delhi (India); voices of omitting Semester System are daily heard in Uttarakhand State of India (even there is a consensus to remove it from private colleges); some colleges in Uttar Pradesh (India) did not implement Semester System etc. etc.

Failures in any school/college examination are now a rare sight. A popular Central Gov. of India passed an order ‘NOT TO FAIL ANY ONE UP TO CLASS EIGHT’. That complete generation, when proceeded ahead, has suffered a lot at the knowledge gaining sector and not becoming a potential future force for a vast country like India. Majority have come to understand that whatever they produce in the examination hall (subject or no subject), they will get through.

See examples below:

The level of deterioration!! A deplorable state!!!

[A potential proof about whatever you write you get through]

  • Please look at the example given below [an answer given by a B.Sc. III student to a question asked in an examination on ‘Protozoa and Diseases’].
  • See how much advancement (in a span of past few decades), the science has done that Protozaons (microscopic organisms) have become too big like an elephant, tiger and what not!!!

The level of deterioration!! Another example of deplorable state!!!

[A potential proof about whatever you write you get through]

  • Reading the contents given below decidedly will unveil the level of scientific temperament!!
  • The soul of Hans and Zacharias (1655) who discovered a compound microscope might be in pain.
  • The whole ethics of Microscopy is changed by this graduating student (B. Sc. III) who attempted to answer the question on ‘Working of a Microscope’!!!
  Everything is not right from the commencement of Examinations to evaluation and to the release of Marks Sheet at any Board or University Level. Examination system and evaluation system is not spared off the shadow of corruption. It is often heard that teaching Faculty remains under pressure not to fail anybody. They have to do a lot, except teaching!! Dearth of quality teaching faculty is also another important facet to tell the story of blurred picture of our education system. Reading habit of good quality Text Books is towards decline. The same decline is noticed in writing skills. Students refrain from preparing self ‘NOTES’. Diagrammatic skills, too, are towards a steep decline. Impact of digital technology adoption and too much of venturing into the SOCIAL MEDIA are some of the reasons to be analyzed for these declines. Science Practical skill is also marred by a number of factors. Being a man of ZOOLOGY, the prick is expressed here about the PRACTICAL WORK done in the name PRATICAL EXERCISES used to be performed in laboratories. Not to be exaggerated, the PRACTICAL PRACTICE as well as PRACTICAL EXAMINATION has been reduced to a mere a THEORY MODE with little of Practical work (if any). A ZOOLOGY student has been deprived of the usage of DISSECTION BOX (?). If there is any, a dissection has to be demonstrated by the TEACHER, the students will only look at it. Chemistry Students are often not able to name the Glass Wares or other items used in the Practical Classes. As for the Practical Records, the things are far from satisfactory. ‘Cut and Paste’ technology is prevalent. Less said the better, it is the plight expressed by a (had been) Teacher like me. Many editorials appearing now and then in the News Papers/Magazines do match with the ideas expressed. It is an opportune moment to ‘Revisit Indian Education: Vision 2020 Challenges ahead’, with the note that:

Education makes people easy to lead, but difficult to drive; easy to govern, but impossible to enslave”. [Lord Brougham]

The things taught in schools and colleges are not an education but the means of education”. [Emerson]

विज्ञान: पठन पाठन, गुणवत्ता एवं वैज्ञानिक संस्कृतिTeaching and Learning

2005

‘…there are some parties outside the scientific establishment that are trying to influence what is taught and practiced in the name of Science’.

2005

‘…India….. continues to produce…….., engineers and doctors – yet science teaching in schools in India is in poor shape. …..The school system encourages rote learning……….’.

The state of affairs by 2018!!!

‘…. In this survey (38,575 youths interviewed) only 25% literate youths were having book reading habits…… Those youth who have the habit of reading books, after all what do they read? ……’

2019

‘…. About the new Education Policy, till date we have received more than 2.0 million suggestions, on which analyses are being done……..’

  • Every good school is as good as its teachers…..’ .
  • The biggest reason for the poor teaching is that they are being paid only to teach and cover the syllabus…..’
  • Better incentives for teachers, investments through stronger training programmes and fundamentally addressing the issue at stake in the teaching-learning process are some of them’.
  • ‘……teachers are expected not only to be competent but also to be professional in their fields and