“Teachers should generate students who not only ask “Why ?”, but also “Why Not ?” Being updated is very important for teachers. We have kids who are heavily reliant on audio-visuals and teachers who are only teaching by way of lectures. We have a case of visual kids versus verbal teachers,” Anandavalli Mahadevan, Vice-Chancellor, Karpagam University, said here recently. She was speaking at a seminar on “IQAC – Defining Parameters for Promoting Quality in Higher Education” at Rathinam College of Arts and Science.
She expressed concern that institutions only disseminated knowledge, but did not create knowledge. “We are only touching upon superficial change. What we need is radical change. The main concerns in higher education in India are over-centralisation, market mismatch, little knowledge creation, difficulties in recruitment and retention of teachers. The future challenges will include commercial influence on academic culture,” she said. Ms. Mahadevan said that education was seen as a source of information.
“But mere information is not understanding. Understanding is not critical thinking. Critical thinking is not societally connected thinking. Hence, education should address all these aspects,” she asserted. S. Senthilnathan, Deputy Co-ordinator, University Grants Commission-Special Assistance Programme, Bharathidasan University, Tiruchi, said that the vital question to be addressed in the Indian context was whether and how the use of Information Communication Technologies in academics by higher education institutions was contributing to the development of an Information Society.
He lamented that only a few institutions of higher learning were investing in the implementation of virtual learning environments. There was tremendous pressure on an educational system to be independent of time and place and be globally accepted. Madhan A. Sendhil, Chairman of the Rathinam Group, said teaching should not be an isolated component. “We are pathetically on a wrong track. There is no industry and research component in our teaching. Research degrees are for the sake of gaining one. Whether education should be perceived as a charity or a commercial venture and whether teachers can be appointed based on industry experience in the absence of suitable qualification are issues that will decide the future of higher education,” he said.