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Social Relevance Indicators at Higher Levels of Education
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Saturday, 22 November 2008
The Full Text of Paper for the talk at the Seminar on Higher Education, Shillong College Nov. 21-22, 2005
Mood:  don't ask
Topic: Specialization
Visualise the perspectives, Pave the way for Discussions and be Innovatively Expressive Until things Start Happening !
An Initiative for a Concept Diagramtaic Approach of Presentation
CLICK HERE  for a Web Site for the happenings in North East India
CLICK HERE to display webpage for presentation in anearlier Seminar at Shillong College on the Role of Information Technology

The recent seminar held at SHILLONG COLLEGEduring June 17-18,2008 was on "Acreditation and Assessment" in which Dr. Aravamudhan participated and contributed a paper: URL:  

Certificate of Participation
CLICK on this image to display for an enlarged view

Department of Chemistry
North Eastern Hill University
SHILLONG 793022 Meghalaya
Telephone: 0364 272 2624   Fax: 0364 255 0486



The early education of the Formative years and the primary, secondary levels can be categorized as the Development of the Individual to a minimum level of awareness of what the term “social relevance” could mean. That is a question of Human Development. Higher Education is the entry into the aspect of specializing in a subject matter with the pursuit to become proficient and to be contributing constructively. That such an individual must be capable of thinking in terms of his wages without unduly undervaluing ones own contributions [continued maintenance of Human Development] is part of the Social relevance. The development of the individual at Higher levels of education should result in know how on technical aspects, meaning it is a Human Resource Development process. Such a monitoring effectively has a built in potential for interdisciplinary base which would be discussed in this paper.

By considering what the educational philosophers (of the East and the West) have been known to be contending about “Education”, it is possible to arrive at the following descriptions as the essence Higher Education:-

"The aim of education is to procure and guarantee happiness for life. This happiness has to be both for individual and state. This can be obtained through harmonious functioning of all faculties of man and all the executive and administrative organs of the state. Analysis and synthesis are complimentary methods in educational techniques. An analysis would result in the essentials in a subject. By coordinating the essentials of the different varieties of subjects it may be possible to come to know of new things. This is the learning process for which it becomes necessary to have many sided interest to specialize in one particular subject and become an expert in one thing. This is the purpose of learning at the levels of Higher Education."

Such are the considerations which have gone into evolving a structure for the modern curriculum of education. In spite of all the descriptions and discussions, when it comes to a question of whether an individual can owe allegiance to his subject of specialization, if he/she has to spend time and effort on another subject, it is hard to convince oneself about it and be educated on this state of having many-sided interests. Unless this aspect is put forward in terms of actually what the students go through at different stages of educational life, the philosophical stand points neither crystallize into justifiably practical necessities nor bring about any concrete reconciliation rationally. Even in the case of unquestionably a success story, what happened could be at the most gets explained away by justifying the result as beneficial to the society at large, which seems to be describable as only a consolation of the fact that it is the end which seems to be justifying the means.
It is the purpose of discussions in this paper to find out ways of trying to make it graspable what otherwise seems to be elusive as stated above.

> When a child grows old enough to go to school, it is the elders who take all the initiative for it because the child would not be capable of coming forward to tell what is good to do now for the days yet to come. This is a stage where the students are put to school to learn; and, this is not because no one ever learnt the contents of subjects which the child is to be taught. On the other hand, it is precisely for this reason the children are put to school, that all the people know how to read and write and hence the child also should know! Naturally the child is yet to know what is already known and well established. At this stage how relevant would it be ask the question as to what is the new thing that would come out of another child going through all the lessons which every child goes through. Even though what is to be learnt by one child has been learnt by several before (by which it is implied that it is all a well established practice) the specific capability of a particular child need not turn out to be the same as what is already known. Thus, there seems to be something which is different with every individual sometimes special, sometimes new; and, by the token of having seen the process by experience, this does not imply that it should always be something better than previous. Can this disparity be smoothened out to become a matter of less concern so that there would be a respite from botheration to some extent; can there be a weight for the differences without resulting in discriminations? This is the question which is behind the discussions on how far the education can be a industrial venture. This disparity in the capabilities in learning process should be gauged adequately early enough to provide alternatives to the individuals to suit their dispositions. Then any consequential economic disparities due to these differences at the later stages can be well prevented generating the euphoria that any and all means of earning can ensure the same economic prosperity.

If the economic prosperity is thus ensured as a matter which is to be independent of the disparities in learning capabilities, then the individuals, who wish to specialize in subjects and pursue higher studies, would no longer be under the compulsion to state this reason for their interest in higher learning. This includes the possibility that the pointed directive measure which economic prosperity can infuse into the efforts would be absent and it would be even more elusive as to why the individuals get entry into a educational system. A mere sincerity of effort indexed without ascertaining how and what kind of effort is necessary, would only eventually dissuade those who have the capability to effectively learn and specialize for purposes of becoming better contributor to add to the Human Resource Development. A person when acquires skills and specializes further (with the cognizance of which are the other specializations where his specialization could be relevant and required) could be generating Human Resource. This would lead peripherally to the discussions on whether specialization is characteristically advances in basic research or should it be applied? If it is an application area, the specialization relevant is in the basic aspects of one research field as it could be contributing to the basic aspects of another research field, or does it concern directly employing a technique to develop a tool, amenities for consumption and convenience of commercial viability. Should application mean inextricably entrepreneurship? Then does it become Higher Education? Going round the ring of such questions and hence spending time chasing after areas of application could be itself consuming so much effort that finally the achievement levels would only be, qualitatively to describe, exploratory and no tangible outcome. Eventually the individual can turn out to be a jack of all trades impressing people distractively but cannot contribute as would be possible by the acquired mastery over any particular aspect. Hence it is necessary to be specializing in one subject to become an expert, while having truly many-sided interests, to be able to comprehend the subject of specialization better; to be able to coordinate different subjects (not simply collecting people studying different subjects) content wise to contribute better in the area of specialization.

Thus specialization and in-depth study in one field must be a consequence of the necessity to make such a progress in one field, for the requirements one can discern in other related fields. Such an approach is the most conducive for social relevance and be an activity contributing to Human Resource Development. Thus pursuing the specialization by Higher Education is the continued Human Development (learning-efforts as individual are commensurately and qualitatively the same as at primary levels) but his awareness of his responsibility for what he does widens and hence strives for better impacts for what he does than merely looking for the marks he scores; but such a scoring gets a value addition. Thus setting up a goal for oneself, in terms of how and what influence this activity would have on what the other does, becomes an organizational compliance for what that individual does. This provides the necessary social relevance in terms of productivity, entrepreneurship and the likewise activities which are better accounted in terms of profits and magnitude of emoluments. Nevertheless even though such concerns are imperative, they are so dominant only because it promotes and strengthens the specialization activities in a specific and probably a narrow section of the subject under study. What do all these have on the functioning of an educational institution? How does the governing of the education differ while it is being a primary to higher secondary (school) level institution and when it has to grow into a institution of higher education. At the school levels it is necessary that the children get exposure to such a convenient routine which is adapted towards learning process along with the process of growing as monitored by their parents. Thus the Human Development can be two concomitant processes, one is the physical growth the other the manifestation of the physical growth in the individual’s capability to acquire information. Such quantitative processes all together can be the development, to use a single term qualitatively. Human Resource Development, referring to the higher education must indicate a similar comprehensive development; which is to know how a particular individual’s Human Development activities acquire a potential to be bringing in development in the Society. Thus while parent-teacher interaction becomes the primary activity at School level, educator’s interaction with the society becomes the replacement. And, the parent’s role as earlier is now as members of the society. Thus the unit where the individual’s presence is felt acquires a larger dimension.
In all these processes, evaluation becomes the activity that can provide the necessary corrective measures when the objectives set for the activities deviate from the specificity of directions. Should the evaluation be a detached (external) activity for being unbiased by virtue of the fact that their activities of evaluation does not in any way become part of the routine activities that the institutional personnel involve themselves in ? Or, self-evaluation should be preferred since the people within know the limitations better by experiences? What is to be done for improving the efficiency is determined by dominantly by an unbiased assessment or predominantly by the personal experiences of people within the institution? This is dependent upon the extent of reorganization that would be required

This type of comprehensive outlook must be developed among the senior citizens at large not only among the few educators. And in this context a national seminar on this theme is most befitting to make the beginning in the context of the requirements of developing educational system in the North East to enhance the people’s participation and generate better involvement of the public in the processes of Higher Education.<
> The global concerns as a fall out are on how a system can be devised, which can provide education (1) without promoting elitism in the name of specialization (2) without emphasizing an activity merely as an intellectual pursuit and does not have any social relevance (3) with the proper gain-loss perspective for the value addition process referred to in the main discussion, in terms of economy and finance (4) that can be more and more explicitly related to the improvement in the living standards of people so that the options to the individuals would become much simpler to discern and access.

The following two Figures have been included to illustarte possible "Concept Diagrams" approach to express such themes

CLICK HERE to display an enlarged image

CLICK HERE to display an enlarged image



Click on each of the four images below for (better text legibility) the full size view

Page-1 : CLICK HERE to display an enlarged image

Page-2 :  CLICK HERE to display an enlarged image

Page-3 : CLICK HERE to display an enlarged image

Page-4 : CLICK HERE to display an enlarged image











Posted by art3/saravamudhan at 12:01 AM
Updated: Saturday, 22 November 2008 11:51 AM
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