A year in Church and Beyond

Good teachers are indeed sources of inspiration
"The teacher who loves the children from his/her heart is the real nation builder who can lay the solid foundation of a nation committed to the growth and development for the prosperity of humanity." [Representational Image]
"The teacher who loves the children from his/her heart is the real nation builder who can lay the solid foundation of a nation committed to the growth and development for the prosperity of humanity." [Representational Image] Wikimedia Commons/ Government of NCT of Delhi

Where work was worship and Justice was Religion

Where sub-Priests are priceless and worshipers are perspicacious

An year in phrontistery taught many exciting lessons of life, some forgotten, some remembered, and a few yet to understand. Completing one year as head priest on 30th August 2022, met good deal of challenges both within and outside the boundaries of the sanctuary but the guiding principles outlined on the very first day were never compromised.

During these golden days with Prof Sehgal, I learned, I lost, I fired people with pens, I scared with postings, I smiled, I forget, will not go into details of my year’s experiences (with three major failures) but will put on record that the commitment, devotion and an obligation to my fundamental values of life- Righteousness, Responsibility, Accountability, Confidence, Courage, Compassion, Patience, Wisdom, Simplicity, Obedience and self-discipline remained intact, even in adversity.

It will remain unbroken for the rest of the life but I am afraid, oh my lords, it will take your decades to realise the simple soul surrounding you.

These values should be dear to heart particularly to head teachers, heads of the institutions, heads of the states and people at the helm of affairs anywhere in any organisation irrespective of region, religion and race. Keep them close, remember they will shelter you as and when you will be summoned by life.

Regarding Celebrating Teachers’ Day, Swami Vivekananda, rightly said, If you are not pure and you know all the sciences of the world. That will not help you at all, you may be buried in all the books you read but that will not be of much use. It is the heart that reaches the goal. Follow the heart, follow it seriously.

A pure heart sees beyond the intellect, it gets inspired. The teacher who loves the children from his/her heart is the real nation builder who can lay the solid foundation of a nation committed to the growth and development for the prosperity of humanity.

Dr. Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan, whose day shall be celebrated on 5th of September used to give the following advice to teachers, “we must be perpetual seekers of intellectual integrity and universal compassion”.

These are the two qualities which mark-out a true teacher. Such teachers teach students the process of learning and enable them to become lifelong learners and teach them to continuously practice this trait.

School teachers have tremendous responsibilities in shaping the life of an individual. Governments, heads of the organisations/institutions should identify true teachers of which Dr Radhakrishna have mentioned, to bedeck them, decorate them and encourage them on Teachers’ day.

Hon’ble Secretaries of Education and Div Coms may advice District Development Commissioners to celebrate the teacher’s day on 5th of September 2022 across UT at each district headquarter and felicitate inspiring teachers (at least 10 best teachers including in private sector:

Shri Var Sb, President may sponsor few awards for each district) after three tier verification on their credibility and competency both within and outsides their class rooms. Highlight their success stories and this process will inspire more teachers to work with curiosity, creativity and enthusiastically for our pupil.

Our Hon’ble Director Prof Sehgal, early this year constituted a committee headed by Prof M S Mir (Dean A&IA) to outline the parameters for awards and citations to bright students and faculty in Science, Engineering and Environment.

The committee yet to come up with criteria should recognise the sincere services of administrative staff within the campus, as we have been observing.

These awards are necessary to recognise individuals, institutions, organisations and others who have made significant contributions. The prestigious UNESCO prizes for Natural Sciences honor outstanding teams and individuals to support the continuation of their work in scientific research and cooperation.

A pious teacher from Hazratbal Zone, Mrs. Rohee Sultana, who approached me with SDGs booklet for further clarification, is indeed fit to be recommended for the UNESCO and other prizes. One of our PG student Mr Nikhilesh who made entry to a prestigious laboratory in Germany needs to be appreciated whereas one of the scholars Mr Asif will hopefully join the list of our success stories.

Regarding National Education Policy NEP 2020, Colleges of the UT should follow Islamia College Srinagar for Curriculum Development (with further refinements/ improvements in experiential learning) and for autonomy pathways, without going for further debates and arguments. The institution has been established by some visionary, having Independent Board of Governors and other statutory bodies, which is one of the requirements of autonomy.

I believe, they are the first to implement NEP 2020 for their UG courses and I compliment the Principal and HoD Physics for being also the first to launch nanotechnology in their institution. For making School Complex models, follow Secondary School Kothibagh, headed by a competent teacher Mrs Bukhari, which is a good typical example of School Complex, with little reformations & alterations.

PG Department of Physics in NIT Srinagar organised a weeklong workshop on, “Physics Curriculum Development” from 25th-29th of July, 2022 and after detailed discussion in presence of distinguished scientists Prof Pandya and Prof Raina from IITs, an Outcome Based Curriculum (OBC) as per NEP -2020 was framed.

Several other related aspects were taken into consideration including the present-day challenges and opportunities. We had the distinction to be the first one to propose new curriculum as per NEP 2020 in the institution.

Good teachers are indeed sources of inspiration and torch bearer even after their superannuation and in emeritus life. I was impressed to read an article by a group of eminent college teachers Prof Ismail, Dr Zafar and Dr. Gilkar appeared in GK, - NEP Implementation: A three Dimensional Model.

I will request heads of the institutions across the country and my comrades to read the article and follow it if they want to implement NEP 2020 in their institutions. It is very hard to know the number of minds the three might have enlightened with their erudition and the number of careers they might have shaped.

I appreciate their 3-D model which focuses on Leaning Outcome, Critical Thinking and 360o Assessments along three axes, with 10 parameters on each axis.

My model, mentioned in their write up, has taken a preliminary shape nonetheless ready to be taken to class room. For the semester of at least 42 Lectures, it has five modules, day-wise outcomes, matching COs with POs keeping blooms taxonomy intact, a hierarchy that corresponds to different levels of learning and individual attention in class, not to talk of uniform/ branch-wise syllabus for professional courses. SKUAST (K), under the visionary leadership of Prof Nazir has given working model of NEP 2020, though yet to be screened and understood.

Cluster University team, under the able guidance of Prof Qayoom, Hon’ble VC has streamlined admission process and examination through software. Teaching is a daunting task and when it is well done, it is the most satisfying task and rewarding too.

Shaping the character of the young and impressionable minds through words and deeds should be accorded the highest priority. Children learn to be kind and compassionate if the teachers are kind and compassionate.

Teachers should have the ability to stimulate curiosity, open up opportunities for dialogue in the class room and encourage the children to discover, think and express. They should link class room learning with the learner’s lives, right from 6th class.

Oh dear comrades, be role models, control over desire, control the senses, leave decorating your dream houses and equip yourself with new techniques of teaching and learning, before entering into class room. I am blessed by great teachers, right from school days, blessed to have association with noble souls and social workers like Manzoor Ahmad Wangnoo and of late a well-known bright scholar of the country Dr. Rafiq Masoodi hailing from north Kashmir. A good human being, a communicator, an instructor and institution builder - all rolled into one is needed to start NEP 2020, besides Government need to improve infrastructure.

The bottom line is:

That heads of the houses of wisdom and knowledge should always adore and admire eleven principles (mentioned above) for larger good of society and for their honourable life.

For decorating teachers on Teachers day at district headquarters, initiate steps on urgent basis to inspire more teachers for the larger good of pupil and public.

For Implementations of NEP 2020, follow some leading institutions including Delhi University, which is headed by visionary academic leader Prof. Yogesh Singh and implement models after careful tests and experimentations.

Jammu & Kashmir need to have one–Umbrella Structure for joint monitoring, vigilant planning and collaborative implementation of New Education Policy 2020 and other reforms in education sector including medical education.

Hon’ble Lt. Governor Shri Manoj Sinha Ji once besides quoting Nelson Mandela, said, education can breed prosperity, peace and harmony in the society if we use this tool efficiently and effectively.

This is the time we need to make initiatives for such tools and set up dedicated Education Council (for both Lower & Higher Education) for monitoring and implementation of policies and to set the existing system right.

It should have full-fledged huge campus (somewhere in outskirts), housing all concerned departments for robust coordination and implementation policies.

Dr Shah M A, Professor and Head, Post Graduate Department of Physics NIT Srinagar teaches Nanotechnology

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author.

The facts, analysis, assumptions and perspective appearing in the article do not reflect the views of GK.

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