Higher Education and National Development a Corelation

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01 General Role of Teachers

The significance and the role of the teaching profession in any society flows out of what society expects from education at a human level, what role it assigns to education in national development and what goals of development are pursued by the nation. These three levels and considerations are interrelated, and they flow from the historic and sociocultural situation as much as from the economic policy of the country.

02 Colonial Education

In the colonial period, development was incidental or peripheral; the goal of economic policy was mainly exploitation of natural resources, and export of raw materials or semi-finished products accompanied by the marketing of industrial goods manufactured in Britain. As a result, even pencils, erasers and geometry boxes for schools; were imported. Naturally, an economy of this kind made no great demand, on education in terms of manpower production. The demands on the quality of training were even more limited since no critical abilities and creative potentials were to be encouraged lest the stability of the colonial system itself may be shaken by the edu- cated. In fact, education was treated as a necessary evil for the day to day working of the Raj neither to bet spread too widely, nor to be pursued as a man-making enterprise.

[pic] 2.03 Ivory Tower Approach

It may be recalled that among the exploiters of all countries and societies;, until very recent times education was more feared than it was loved. It is for this reason, chiefly, that education became text-bookish in its content-standing aloof from the realities of life and concentrating on the "knowledge" of individual "disciplines". Physics or economics were taught according to world-wide abstract principles and laws, creating an impression of comprehensiveness of the subjects even though through such an approach they were shorn of social implications, utility and purpose. The role of the teacher was correspondingly to teach the assigned subject meticulously and thoroughly and to "examine" on the basis of students' ability to reproduce what he had been taught. The system tended to bread conformism and pedantic scholarship. That such a system practised over centuries, and in so many countries, still produced the great thinkers, scholars and scientists who have, in a sense, been the architects of our civilization as it is today, is a clear proof of the irrepressible nature of human creativity and of man's unceasing struggle to overcome ignorance, conquer nature and improve the quality of his life.

[pic] 2.04 Education as an Instrument of Social Change

The situation has, however, radically altered since the middle of the present century. Country after country has been freed from the clutches of imperialism. National initiatives have been Unleashed to transform economies and societies. The very word development has acquired a new meaning and dimension. Change, rather than status quo, is the order of the day and education big hem, recognized to be the tool to bring it about. Great wealth of experience has been accumulated on the modalities by which education can play such a role. Perhaps it would not be wrong to say that in the process, the concept of education itself has been changed. It is no more confined to formal structures and institutions-it can reach out. in a variety of ways the human resources of the whole community could be used for the purpose. The dynamics of knowledge have led to the concept of life- long learning for the individual and prograrnmes of continuing education in institutions. A great deal has been discovered about learning itself, and its highly personal character. Three boundaries of the well established disciplines of the past have crumbled and inter disciplinary teaching and research have come into 16

vogue. New technologies have begun to be widely used both to enrich the quality of education and to enhance its...
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