The quest for excellence in education began in 1967 when I cleared my ISC examination. Wanted to do agricultural engineering Joined BITS, Pilani. Students not interested in knowledge. Only interested in marks. Quest spanned 17 years with the following important landmarks: J Krishnamurty - On education Ivan Illich - de-schooling society John Holt - how children learn Paul Goodman John Dewey Mahatma Gandhi Rabindranath Tagore Swami Vivekananda This is not a lecture. I want to share with you ideas from which i have profited. In case you find them useful you are welcome. There will be a question answer session in which you are welcome to ask any questions. Not One Original Man ..“And the result is that fifty years of this education has not produced one original man in the three Presidencies. Everyman of originality that has been produced has been educated elsewhere, and not in the country, or they have gone to the old universities once more to cleanse themselves of superstitions.” -SwamiVivekananda ASSUMPTION: Nobel prize committee awards original thinkers of international standing IN 115 YEARS INDIAN UNIVERSITIES Couldn’t PRODUCE ONE ORIGINAL MAN! The first Nobel Prize was awarded in 1901. From inception till 2011, total Nobel Prizes awarded 549 USA bagged 349 India bagged 10 Indian Prize Winners are: Ronald Ross, Rudyard Kipling, Rabindranath Tagore, C.V. Raman, Har Gobind Khorana, Mother Teresa, Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, Amartya Sen, Vs Naipaul,venkatraman Ramakrishnan Only C.V. Raman is a product of Indian Colleges (British Times). The rest either did not attend an Indian College (Rabindra Nath Tagore) or did their creative studies abroad. Swami Vivekananda made the above statement in 1897. In 115 years after the statement was made, after C.V. Raman, Indian Universities have not produced another Nobel Prize Winner! India Was a Great Contributor to World Thought Zero, decimal, pi, trigonometry, algebra, geometry, to mention just a few were concepts given by India. Manufacture of zinc and rust free iron were Indian technologies. Nalanda and Taxila were possibly the earliest Global Universities. Will Durant, a leading Western historian, in his book Case for India, says, India is “mother of us all.” According to Will Durant when the British came to India, whether philosophy, science, technology, commerce, banking, textiles, jewellery, porcelain, in all these, and many more fields, India was a world leader. INFERENCE: We Have Produced Original Thinkers in Practically Every Field of Endeavor. What made this possible? To answer this question we are putting forward a hypothesis (a tentative explanation for a phenomena, to be used as a basis for further investigation). We are now going to put forward insights, that we think, made it possible for India, to produce original thinkers, in possibly every field of endeavor. For Learning to Take Place You Need The Right Environment Learning took place in the company of an enlightened rishi in Brahamcharya Ashrama till the age of 25 years. For the teacher pursuit of knowledge was not a profession but a passion. Teacher had love for knowledge! The student who entered the ashrama had his priorities right: student was a vidyarthi not a sukharthi. Student was “desirous of knowledge” not in “pursuit of pleasure!” Environment is the key. A natural environment encourages curiosity, exploration and communication. Teacher sets the tone. His passion for learning energizes, sustains and nurtures the learning environment. Student has to be knowledge driven (vidyarthi) and not pleasure driven (sukharthi). Why 25 years of Brahamcharya Ashrama, in secluded natural environment, with close monitoring and careful guidance? Many say today: “let the young generation do what they are doing. May be they are right?” Modern neurology is discovering what the rishis possibly knew: Neuro-imaging techniques developed over the last decades have provided us with astounding discoveries regarding brain changes during adolescence. We know for example, that the emotional reactivity, impulsivity, and risk taking of the teen years are directly associated with the neural remodeling processes that begins around 12 or 13 years of age. Brain-imaging studies have changed our understanding of adolescence, as we reassess what’s behind the recklessness, thoughtlessness, and carelessness of teens. Behaviors once attributed to raging hormones or self-centeredness now appear also to be tied to brain development during adolescence. Research in this area suggests that quite often teens aren’t intentionally making bad choices and decisions. Rather, under certain circumstances, there may be no real decision-making happening at all-particularly when they are excited and hyped up. “….Teenisvulnerable ..Ultimately,bythetimeofmaturation,aroundage 22forfemalesand24formales, mentalcapacity hasexpandedexponentially,butinthemeantime,teensoftenneed their thinkwiththemandsometimesforthem.” (Pg. 19) parents to Teens need secluded environment, personal guidance and mentoring because it is a biological, physiological and neurological necessity. For original thinkers to blossom, you need an environment that fosters, encourages and supports learning. Once this is taken care of, let us look at the elements that went into cultivating original thinkers? Fundamentals That Promote Original Thinkers Effective Knowledge Shraddha Power of Concentration Acquired Knowledge & Effective Knowledge Acquired Knowledge You Pick Up A Degree Effective Knowledge Mastery of Subject Capability to Apply it Successfully Respond Creatively to New Challenges How Is Effective Knowledge Acquired? vkpk;kZr ikne~ vk/ksÙk] ikne~f'k";L; Loes/k;k] ikne~ lg fo|kFkhZfHk%] ikne~ dkyØesu rq%A 25% 25% 25% 25% Depends on expertise of teacher Depends on capability of student On discussion amongst students Over time on practical application by student Shraddha There is no translation for this word in the English language. Shraddha when you have both respect and faith. To be the best in the world, you need shraddha in yourself, shraddha in the teacher and shraddha in the subject. Shraddha in: Self Teacher Subject (Pg. 60 & 36) The Second Concept is Power of Concentration (Pg.42,58) Concentration is directly proportional to Purity of Mind How to Improve Power of Concentration ? Increase purity of mind by monitoring inputs Increase mind control by following a fixed routine Practice meditation twice a day Student entering the university is a sukharthi He wants the degree, knowledge is incidental ! The degree will get him a fat salary, a house, a vehicle ! What are the most sought after on the campus? - Pornography - Liquor - Drugs - Gambling Example of BITS, Pilani.