‘Education must make healthy minds, not just careers’

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CHENNAI: In contrast to the many advocates of academia-industry partnerships, medical scientist and Padma Bhushan awardee Dr B M Hegde is against marriage of the two, saying the true meaning of education is lost when it is made to fit only the needs of industry.

“What we are doing is an arranged marriage of education and industry. If educational syllabus is designed to fit only the requirements of a certain industry, the student will be a misfit anywhere else. If the industry collapses where will the student go? Education must aim at making healthy minds and not just a wealthy career. It should have nothing to do with money,” he said on Tuesday. He was speaking at a conference on ‘Reforming and Rejuvenating Higher Education’ organised by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry and the department of higher education, Tamil Nadu.

Quoting many daily life examples in the field of medicine and education, Dr Hegde said outdated and old concepts were still being taught or believed because there was money in them. “We are teaching the same old things even today. How many healthy minds have we produced,” he asked. Teachers should be like “midwives” helping deliver the best out of students, he added.

Referring to the statement that “every newborn is a genius only to be converted into an idiot at school,” Dr Hegde said this was the truth today. Education must be in the hands of educationists and not industrialists. Education requires rejuvenation, he added.

Director of technical education T N Rajendra Ratnoo emphasised the movement from one-way teaching to interactive oriented teaching. “Students today may be better updated in the present context and there should be exchange and interaction in classrooms.”

The way government sector banks and telephone companies pulled up their socks when private players entered the scene, institutions must foresee an entry of global private players to the educational sector and accordingly upgrade themselves, he pointed out.

Another point raised by professors like V M Periasamy of B S Abdur Rahman University was that the affiliation system should be gradually eliminated as it was unhealthy for such a large number of institutions to be attached to one body.

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