TODAY -

Editorial of the week

Educating MU
Courtesy: The Sangai Express 17th October, 2006



How far does Manipur University fit the bill of a seat of higher learning ?

Has the university been able to perform to its optimum level and by extension render its expected service to society as a whole ?

These are some questions that gain credence in the backdrop of the inspiring speech delivered by President APJ Abdul Kalam during the 10th Convocation of the varsity on October 16.

A man of great vision with a scientific bent of mind, perhaps moulded to near perfection by his educational background, President APJ Abdul Kalam touched on a gamut of issues while addressing the impressive gathering and at the present juncture that Manipur is passing through we found his statement on Moral Leadership extremely relevant.

In particular his observation, “If we develop in all our students these five capacities, we will produce ‘Autonomous Learner’, a self directed, self controlled, lifelong learner who will have the capacity to both, respect authority and at the same time is capable of questioning authority, in an appropriate manner,” was profound.

The five capacities that the President was referring to were inquiry, creativity, technology, entrepreneurial skill and moral leadership.

We fully agree with the stand of the President that students should learn to respect authority and at the same time develop their mental faculty and knowledge to question authority too.

In other words, the observation of his Excellency can be interpreted along the line that students should not take the law into their hands but at the same time they should also develop a character to question the conduct of the people who wield the authority.

Developing such qualities is not an easy task and the first step towards this is for students to remain students and not the type of students that is largely understood in the present context of Manipur.

There are many factors that go to make a university a living entity and the student community is definitely one of the more important factors.

The question before the students of MU and Manipur today is how far the student community has been able to infuse ideas and vision in the functioning of their university.

During the last few years, MU has been in the news for many wrong reasons and perhaps the time has come to sincerely study and assess the role of the students.

If students form one of the more important components of a place of learning, then the role of the teachers or the faculty members too are equally if not more important.

The President did talk about the need for research work and this invariably raises the question of how many quality research publications has the teaching faculty of MU been able to come out with in the recent past.

Without demeaning the teaching faculty of the university, it is a with a deep sense of pain that we have heard talks that some teachers have been delivering lectures inside the class rooms by reading notes scribbled on pieces of papers !

How far this is true can only be best answered by the MU authority, but such a talk has reached our ears and perhaps it would be in the fitness of things if the matter is cleared.

The President touched on many other significant points and it would be impossible to go into them all in this column, but his observations on students and the need for teaching and research works to go together is perhaps two points that can serve as the starting plank to better things.




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