Monday, March 28, 2011
109. About a university
In Canberra, I am staying in the campus of the Australian National University which seems to have all the ingredients for good learning. The campus is very green, very spacious and partly surrounded by a beautiful lake. When I go for my morning walk, I see scores of young, happy students cycling past me. There are students from all around the world and they seem to be getting along very well. Last Saturday, there was a cultural function on the occasion of the Earth Day where students and teachers from diverse cultures sang, danced and dined together. There is no law and order problem in the university. One can move about without fear at any time of day or night. Eve-teasing is something unheard of. Different departments are located in houses which look like residential houses and this gives the university a distict character. What impressed me most was the comment from some of my acquaintances here that the University encourages critical and creative thinking. In our country, emphasis is on mugging and the calibre of a student is judged by how accurately and how much he can reproduce in the examinations. There is no emphasis on developing the independent mind of the student. Any critical and creative comment is promptly dismissed as incorrect- unworthy of any further scruity. It is high time we start putting premium on critical and creative thinking. Mugging must be discouraged. Then only, we will have people who could take right decisions. We must attract the best talent to our educational institutions and the performance of those in whose hands we put the future of our nation must be continuously and properly assessed. This is something too important to be ignored.