Education

Education is not just about jobs

Posted on August 4, 2012. Filed under: Education |

The Indian Express, June 27, 2006

Education is not just about jobs

Jagdeep S. Chhokar

Discussing the purpose of education would be unnecessary in normal times, because it would be obvious to everyone. But today’s times are far from normal and we, therefore, have to remind ourselves of the purpose of education, especially when it relates to the training of professionals who go on to build the future.

Embedded in education is a value system, the ability to distinguish between right and wrong, good and bad. In a way, it is also about making judgments. An ‘educated’ person, one with general knowledge and powers of reasoning and judgment, would be expected to make reasoned and therefore logical judgments. He would be able to understand what is good for him and also what is good for the society and nation. Helping individuals develop into good citizens is, and should be, one of the prime purposes of education.

The extent to which our education system, at all levels, contributes to the development of good citizens may be a matter of individual opinion, but I think we have a really long way to go in developing informed, responsible, and active citizens. This seems evident from the fact that a very large proportion of people normally considered educated and informed do not seem to be aware of the fact that being a citizen also involves some responsibilities. While there is fairly widespread awareness of the existence of fundamental rights, not too many of us seem to be aware of fundamental duties enjoined upon the citizen in the Constitution.

One of the major reasons for losing sight of what may well be the most basic purpose of education is that education has come to be considered, almost exclusively, as a means of getting a good job. What seems to be overlooked in the process is that everyone is a citizen first and only then a professional. This brings us to the difference between education and training. The Random House Dictionary describes the difference between the two as follows: ‘Education’ is the development of the special and general abilities of the mind (learning to know); a liberal education. ‘Training’ is practical education (learning to do) or practice, generally under supervision, in some art, trade, or profession; training in art, teacher training.

Our education system seems to focus almost exclusively on the so-called ‘training view’ of education. And an outcome of the narrow view of education as training, is the inability and unwillingness of people coming out of educational institutions, even from the so-called institutions of higher learning, to get involved in the processes of society at large. This manifests itself in several ways — like inappropriate business practices and inappropriate behaviour in politics and administration.

An argument is often made that in a developing economy such as ours with a very large population and high levels of poverty and unemployment, getting jobs is the first priority, and that people can learn about the so-called good citizenship through their experiences in life. Teachers often express their helplessness when it comes to inculcating values of good citizenship in students, given the strong countervailing social forces. I believe everyone involved in imparting education (and we must remember that education comes not only from teachers but from a variety of sources) has a responsibility to encourage students to question the existing value system if its militates against the social good.

If our students cannot exercise discerning judgment in matters of basic citizenship, are we justified in assuming or hoping that they will be able to exercise sound judgment in their professional decisions? This becomes salient when we think about the effectiveness of education which is the “act or process of imparting or acquiring general knowledge, and of developing powers of reasoning and judgment”.

It is difficult to be a good citizen without being a good human being. Education therefore also needs to focus on inculcating good human values among the students, in addition to preparing them for jobs. The neglect or reduction in the importance given to humanities and social sciences — under the influence of the argument that more and more students prefer the so-called ‘professional courses’ — is also a big concern. Inputs focussed on helping and encouraging students to become good human beings and effective citizens are needed at all levels of education, as these are the most fundamental purposes of education.

Those of us in the profession of education can ignore this only at great peril to society. And some of the recent developments in society, including an almost obsessive focus on the so-called ‘higher education’ with an almost total neglect of basic education, do not augur well for the country. Of course, we can always follow Mark Twain, who once said: “I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.”

The writer is a professor at the IIM, Ahmedabad

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Education for citizenship

Posted on August 4, 2012. Filed under: Education, Politics |

Education for Citizenship

Jagdeep S. Chhokar

Published in The Times of India, March 17, 2006.

It is good to see the Director of NCERT raising some fundamental issues about education for public debate rather than justifying or explaining the actions taken by his organization (Learn to live, Live to learn, Times of India, March 8, 2006), as such functionaries usually do. Krishna Kumar writes about the philosophical failure in education by not recognizing “education (as) an experience (and by) missing out its core components (which) are understanding and values”. According to him, we fail to take long term view by treating education as “an opportunity to proceed further in life with a chance to increase … income.” Krishna Kumar places this flawed view of education and the unfortunate lack of values in the context of widespread female infanticide.

It is indeed often forgotten, and India is no exception, that the purpose of education is primarily to help participants become better human beings and effective citizens. Making people into good engineers, doctors, accountants, managers, lawyers, etc. is, at least in the long term, a secondary objective of education. As someone involved in so-called higher education, and in management, for several years in India and outside, this focus on the secondary objective with almost total disregard of the primary objective of education all over the world has always been for me a disquieting experience. The kind of education which is now attempted to be imparted starting at earlier and earlier stages and continuing into what is often referred to as higher education can at best be called vocational or professional education because it prepares the participants to become proficient in their chosen vocations or professions. The loser in this entire activity is what should appropriately be called basic education. The result therefore is that the trained human power that we have is good at doing its vocational and professional work but lacks basic human qualities. The myriad social tensions and issues that we face today are an inevitable consequence of this.

Another basic fact which is often forgotten is that while we revel in blaming everyone else such as the politicians, bureaucrats, exploitative business persons, unscrupulous civil society activists, for all the ills of the society and the nation, we very easily overlook the fact that all the so-called villains are citizens first and everything else afterwards. Therefore they are primarily ineffective or irresponsible citizens before they can become either bureaucrats, or politicians or anything else.

In my work on electoral and political reforms as a civil society activist I continue to be struck by the large proportion of people from all walks of life, including the so-called intelligentia and college students, who seem to be blissfully ignorant of the fact that being a citizen also entails some responsibilities. While most people I come across seem to be quite aware and knowledgeable about fundamental rights enshrined in our Constitution, few seem to be aware of the fundamental duties of citizens listed in Article 51(a) inserted by the 42nd amendment with the effect from January 3, 1977. Of course fundamental rights differ from fundamental duties in as much as the fundamental rights are judicially enforceable, fundamental duties are part of the Directive Principles of State Policy and, therefore, are only recommendatory and not legally enforceable.

A large proportion of citizens being acutely conscious of their fundamental rights and demanding their enforcement by the state, while being either ignorant, innocent, or oblivious of their duties as citizens, is one of the major ills of Indian society. The civics and social studies curricula at various levels of education do not seem to have been effective in delivering the appropriate level of citizen education. There is therefore an urgent need to devise mechanisms to ensure that all citizens, not only school or college students, become conscious of their responsibilities as citizens. That an active citizenry is an essential condition for democracy to succeed, was captured very well by Felix Frankfurter, who was appointed a judge of the US Supreme Court in 1939. He said,

“Democracy involves hardship – the hardship of the unceasing responsibility of every citizen. Where the entire people do not take a continuous and considered part in public life, there can be no democracy in any meaningful sense of the term. Democracy is always a beckoning goal, not a safe harbour. For freedom is an unremitting endeavour, never a final achievement. That is why no office in the land is more important than that of being a citizen.”

Developing a nationwide initiative for education for citizenship is therefore a national imperative in case we want to ensure that democracy continues and succeeds in India.

————————————————-

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More lessons in unreason

Posted on December 8, 2008. Filed under: Education |

More lessons in unreason

Jagdeep S. Chhokar

The Indian Express, Wednesday, May 02, 2007

I seriously doubt if Pratap Bhanu Mehta will get a response from any of the “respected heads of IIMs” to his letter (‘Lessons in Unreason’, IE, April 25). Therefore, as one who came pretty close to being one — having been offered the opportunity of being considered (and having respectfully and in retrospect fortunately declined) for appointment as director of IIM, Ahmedabad, I think a response from me can possibly be the closest to one.

He was being generous in referring to the IIMs as the “mightiest institutions” in India. There are no mighty institutions left in India, and while the “terse one-line order issued by a joint secretary of the Government of India” was the final straw, the bringing down of IIMs “to their knees” was the culmination of a process that began several years ago.

It was in 1990-91 when, in the flush of liberalisation, the government froze grants to the IIMs at the then prevalent levels and asked them to become self-sufficient. The government offered to match the savings these institutions made out of their sanctioned grants, as a contribution to a corpus fund. IIM-Ahmedabad started saving and asking the government for matching contributions. The government made matching contributions for a couple of years but stopped pretty soon.

After this, several factors seemed to have come together. As the corpus and reputation of the institute grew, its capacity to raise money on its own grew, the grip of the politician-bureaucratic combine on business and industry (including the public sector) started loosening due to liberalisation, and the admissions to the institute continued to be completely tamper-proof, the combine decided to look for ways to clip its wings. The mechanism for this which came to be chosen was the process of appointment for the chairperson of the Board of Governors (BoG) and of the director.

Almost out of the blue, the government “decided” to change these two processes. Having witnessed, from pretty close quarters, the process by which the non-appointment of I.G. Patel for a second five-year term as chairperson of IIM, Ahmedabad was ensured, and having seen, peripherally, the process through which N.R. Narayana Murthy was replaced after one term as chairperson, leaves me in no doubt that the search, and attempt, always is to find a pliable person. Of course, it is not a feature limited to the government of the day. Similar shenanigans were observed even in the eras of V.P. Singh, Chandra Shekhar, and Charan Singh.

The change in the process of appointing the director was equally out of the blue. In the new process, the chairperson of the BoG of the institute was made just one of the seven or so members of a committee overwhelmingly stacked with bureaucrats and “outside or external experts” who, by some strange coincidence or by divine intervention, happen to be on many government committees. The role of the faculty of the institute, of course, was made completely irrelevant.

Going by first-hand accounts by some of the “candidates”, the entire process from the time they arrived for the “interview” at the HRD ministry, and what transpired in the interview, nothing seemed to measure up to the dignity and grace that should accompany the selection of the heads of what Mehta has called “India’s mightiest institutions”. The whole process seemed to show these people their correct place in the set up even before their appointment. And what kind of results has this “improved” process produced? One of the directors appointed as a result of this process was effectively sacked and replaced by a lowly bureaucrat of the HRD ministry until a regular incumbent was appointed. Another one was eased out after about two years in the job. And this happened in the two newly set-up institutes!

Institutions are made by people who, as Mehta rightly observes, believe in “logic, morality and reasonableness”, in “what is right and legal”, and above all, in “institutional propriety, autonomy”. Where, pray, are such people? Do you expect them to stand in the musty corridors of ministries trying to get these jobs, and then go on to do these lofty things? I am afraid Mehta seems to be living in an idealised world! His question: “And what can academics do when the political class is hell-bent on destroying education?” is interesting. The very least academics can do is not to be a party to the process of destruction, because even an unwilling accomplice is an accomplice.

The writer was a professor at the IIM, Ahmedabad, where he had also been a dean and director in-charge

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Posted on December 8, 2008. Filed under: Education |

The Tribune, Thursday, October 25, 2007, Chandigarh, India

Govt attempting to control IIMs:  Resist it to protect quality of education
by Jagdeep S. Chhokar

RECENT reports in some sections of the media have mentioned that the government is planning to set up a committee to review the functioning of the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) and that the real intention behind this is to “control” the prestigious centres of management education. The ministry issued a “clarification” the very next day, suggesting that the new law is meant to “empower” the IIMs to “award” degrees that they cannot do now. This was followed by a letter to a national daily by the Minister of HRD himself, asserting that “since my taking charge of the Ministry of Human Resource Development, there has not been a single instance of subversion of the autonomy of our institutions of higher learning, including that of IIMs.”

The outgoing director of one of the leading IIMs said in an interview a couple of days later, “We could not take a lot of action because the government would not let us,” adding that increasing control over the institutes of higher learning by the Union HRD Ministry has been “counterproductive” in promoting and protecting their interests.
The government’s intention to control the IIMs is not surprising but is certainly disturbing. The increasing eagerness of successive governments to control the functioning of the IIMs is amazing, indeed.

Even under the Memoranda of Association under which the IIMs have been functioning since the inception of the first two at Calcutta and Ahmedabad, government nominees are in a clear majority on the Boards of Governors (BoGs) which is the highest decision-making body at every IIM. In addition, the government has had the exclusive power to appoint the chairpersons of the BoGs. In earlier years, the government had veto power over the appointment of Directors, which it has abrogated to itself over the last 10 years or so, through the process of creeping usurpation.

The IIMs, particularly the ones set up earlier, have done well due to a combination of many factors, two of which were a benevolent nurturing by the government and a deft management of the government by the people who were running the institutes. But those were the days when the government seemed interested in really creating institutions, and there was no electronic media making all kinds of people hungry for media exposure. Today the benevolent nurturing is gone and we are in the era of competition in all walks of life, which makes media exposure very desirable.

Two other reasons for the earlier IIMs doing well have been the selection of students for admission entirely on merit with no interference whatsoever from any quarter, and the unfettered selection of faculty members. It is not that attempts at interference in the admissions process have not been made, at times from the highest levels of the government and political establishments, but they have all been steadfastly and quietly resisted. If, as was reported in the media, the government ends up controlling the selection of faculty, and forcing the institutes to extend facilities to politicians and bureaucrats, as in government-run PSUs, these two characteristics will also go. This will make the IIMs just like most of the universities, particularly state universities, and will completely eradicate their capacity to respond to the needs of industry, which is what has made them known in major parts of the world.

The reports also link the timing of the move to make the new law to the appointment of new directors in the three older IIMs, expected to be announced soon, so that there is “least resistance” from these institutions. This seems quite plausible, particularly given the process of appointment of directors which has been followed beginning with the last appointments made five years ago. Some information that has trickled through from the on-going selection process of directors is revealing.

It seems the chairman of the BoG of one of the institutes, who was the only one in the committee connected to the institute, did not make it to the interviews. In another institute, the chairman of the BoG wanted executive powers to run the institute himself. The entire faculty of one of the institutes conducted an internal process where those faculty members interested in becoming director made presentations giving their vision, and came up with one unanimous choice. This particular candidate was reportedly given a hard time in the interview precisely because he was the “faculty’s candidate”.

The ministry issued an advertisement in the print media asking for applications for the posts of directors of various institutes, one of which reportedly attracted something like 700 or so applications. It is interesting to see this in contrast to what happened in one of these institutes about 20 years ago at the time of the appointment of a director. When a suggestion to advertise the position was made to the then chairman of the BoG, he said that people who applied for the position in response to an advertisement were not appropriate for the appointment and what the institute needed were people who would need to be persuaded to take up the position.

Appointment of committees is, of course, a well-known and age-old device which serves several purposes, including delaying and postponing a decision, and creating an ostensibly independent justification for a premeditated action. Our government is also consistent in selectively implementing only those recommendations that it wants to implement and forgetting the rest. This is what it does pretty much to the reports of all the committees — the last committee which reviewed the working of the IIMs, the Kurien Committee, and the Fifth Pay Commission being just two of many examples.

So far as the government’s generosity in empowering the institutes to award degrees is concerned, this issue has come up occasionally during the last years. It used to be much more frequent in the early years, in the 1960s and 1970s, when the IIMs were still new, and not being able to award degrees was considered a handicap. As the IIMs established themselves with their graduates doing well and earning recognition in the market place of jobs, and getting accepted in the world’s best doctoral programmes becoming tenured professors in some of the leading business schools of the world, the issue became irrelevant. To the best of my recollection, it last came up about 10 years ago when the government proposed to make the IIMs degree-granting institutions and asked them to prepare the draft of a Bill to be passed in Parliament. The matter seemed to have been allowed to then die a natural, peaceful and dignified death.
The tendency of the government to get a tighter and tighter grip on the working of the IIMs seems to have become progressively stronger in the last 10 to 15 years, almost in direct proportion to the increasing reputation and fame of the IIMs. What really needs to be done is to leave the older and well-established IIMs alone to do best what they have been doing for the last over 45 years without foisting pliable chairpersons of the BoG and directors on them, but that is not likely to happen since “the political class is hell-bent on destroying education”, as Pratap Bhanu Mehta of the Centre for Policy Research has written.
Academics aspiring to bask in the glory of being administrators will collude with the political class in this, but it is left to the non-administratively inclined academics and other interested people and groups to resist this with all their might.

The writer is a former Dean and Director-in-Charge of the IIM, Ahmedabad.

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Education is not just about jobs

Posted on December 8, 2008. Filed under: Education |

The Indian Express, June 27, 2006

Education is not just about jobs

Jagdeep S. Chhokar

Discussing the purpose of education would be unnecessary in normal times, because it would be obvious to everyone. But today’s times are far from normal and we, therefore, have to remind ourselves of the purpose of education, especially when it relates to the training of professionals who go on to build the future.

Embedded in education is a value system, the ability to distinguish between right and wrong, good and bad. In a way, it is also about making judgments. An ‘educated’ person, one with general knowledge and powers of reasoning and judgment, would be expected to make reasoned and therefore logical judgments. He would be able to understand what is good for him and also what is good for the society and nation. Helping individuals develop into good citizens is, and should be, one of the prime purposes of education.

The extent to which our education system, at all levels, contributes to the development of good citizens may be a matter of individual opinion, but I think we have a really long way to go in developing informed, responsible, and active citizens. This seems evident from the fact that a very large proportion of people normally considered educated and informed do not seem to be aware of the fact that being a citizen also involves some responsibilities. While there is fairly widespread awareness of the existence of fundamental rights, not too many of us seem to be aware of fundamental duties enjoined upon the citizen in the Constitution.
One of the major reasons for losing sight of what may well be the most

basic purpose of education is that education has come to be considered, almost exclusively, as a means of getting a good job. What seems to be overlooked in the process is that everyone is a citizen first and only then a professional. This brings us to the difference between education and training. The Random House Dictionary describes the difference between the two as follows: ‘Education’ is the development of the special and general abilities of the mind (learning to know); a liberal education. ‘Training’ is practical education (learning to do) or practice, generally under supervision, in some art, trade, or profession; training in art, teacher training.

Our education system seems to focus almost exclusively on the so-called ‘training view’ of education. And an outcome of the narrow view of education as training, is the inability and unwillingness of people coming out of educational institutions, even from the so-called institutions of higher learning, to get involved in the processes of society at large. This manifests itself in several ways — like inappropriate business practices and inappropriate behaviour in politics and administration.
An argument is often made that in a developing economy such as ours with a very large population and high levels of poverty and unemployment, getting jobs is the first priority, and that people can learn about the so-called good citizenship through their experiences in life.

Teachers often express their helplessness when it comes to inculcating values of good citizenship in students, given the strong countervailing social forces. I believe everyone involved in imparting education (and we must remember that education comes not only from teachers but from a variety of sources) has a responsibility to encourage students to question the existing value system if its militates against the social good.
If our students cannot exercise discerning judgment in matters of basic citizenship, are we justified in assuming or hoping that they will be able to exercise sound judgment in their professional decisions? This becomes salient when we think about the effectiveness of education which is the “act or process of imparting or acquiring general knowledge, and of developing powers of reasoning and judgment”.
It is difficult to be a good citizen without being a good human being. Education therefore also needs to focus on inculcating good human values among the students, in addition to preparing them for jobs. The neglect or reduction in the importance given to humanities and social sciences — under the influence of the argument that more and more students prefer the so-called ‘professional courses’ — is also a big concern. Inputs focussed on helping and encouraging students to become good human beings and effective citizens are needed at all levels of education, as these are the most fundamental purposes of education.
Those of us in the profession of education can ignore this only at great peril to society. And some of the recent developments in society, including an almost obsessive focus on the so-called ‘higher education’ with an almost total neglect of basic education, do not augur well for the country. Of course, we can always follow Mark Twain, who once said: “I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.”

The writer is a professor at the IIM, Ahmedabad

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Education for Citizenship

Posted on December 8, 2008. Filed under: Education |

Education for Citizenship

Jagdeep S. Chhokar

Published in The Times of India, March 17, 2006.

It is good to see the Director of NCERT raising some fundamental issues about education for public debate rather than justifying or explaining the actions taken by his organization (Learn to live, Live to learn, Times of India, March 8, 2006), as such functionaries usually do.  Krishna Kumar writes about the philosophical failure in education by not recognizing “education (as) an experience (and by) missing out its core components (which) are understanding and values”.  According to him, we fail to take long term view by treating education as “an opportunity to proceed further in life with a chance to increase … income.”  Krishna Kumar places this flawed view of education and the unfortunate lack of values in the context of widespread female infanticide.

It is indeed often forgotten, and India is no exception, that the purpose of education is primarily to help participants become better human beings and effective citizens.  Making people into good engineers, doctors, accountants, managers, lawyers, etc. is, at least in the long term, a secondary objective of education.  As someone involved in so-called higher education, and in management, for several years in India and outside, this focus on the secondary objective with almost total disregard of the primary objective of education all over the world has always been for me a disquieting experience.  The kind of education which is now attempted to be imparted starting at earlier and earlier stages and continuing into what is often referred to as higher education can at best be called vocational or professional education because it prepares the participants to become proficient in their chosen vocations or professions.  The loser in this entire activity is what should appropriately be called basic education.  The result therefore is that the trained human power that we have is good at doing its vocational and professional work but lacks basic human qualities.  The myriad social tensions and issues that we face today are an inevitable consequence of this.

Another basic fact which is often forgotten is that while we revel in blaming everyone else such as the politicians, bureaucrats, exploitative business persons, unscrupulous civil society activists, for all the ills of the society and the nation, we very easily overlook the fact that all the so-called villains are citizens first and everything else afterwards.  Therefore they are primarily ineffective or irresponsible citizens before they can become either bureaucrats, or politicians or anything else.

In my work on electoral and political reforms as a civil society activist I continue to be struck by the large proportion of people from all walks of life, including the so-called intelligentia and college students, who seem to be blissfully ignorant of the fact that being a citizen also entails some responsibilities.  While most people I come across seem to be quite aware and knowledgeable about fundamental rights enshrined in our Constitution, few seem to be aware of the fundamental duties of citizens listed in Article 51(a) inserted by the 42nd amendment with the effect from January 3, 1977.  Of course fundamental rights differ from fundamental duties in as much as the fundamental rights are judicially enforceable, fundamental duties are part of the Directive Principles of State Policy and, therefore, are only recommendatory and not legally enforceable.

A large proportion of citizens being acutely conscious of their fundamental rights and demanding their enforcement by the state, while being either ignorant, innocent, or oblivious of their duties as citizens, is one of the major ills of Indian society.  The civics and social studies curricula at various levels of education do not seem to have been effective in delivering the appropriate level of citizen education.  There is therefore an urgent need to devise mechanisms to ensure that all citizens, not only school or college students, become conscious of their responsibilities as citizens.   That an active citizenry is an essential condition for democracy to succeed, was captured very well by Felix Frankfurter, who was appointed a judge of the US Supreme Court in 1939.  He said,

“Democracy involves hardship – the hardship of the unceasing responsibility of every citizen.  Where the entire people do not take a continuous and considered part in public life, there can be no democracy in any meaningful sense of the term.  Democracy is always a beckoning goal, not a safe harbour. For freedom is an unremitting endeavour, never a final achievement. That is why no office in the land is more important than that of being a citizen.”

Developing a nationwide initiative for education for citizenship is therefore a national imperative in case we want to ensure that democracy continues and succeeds in India.

————————————————-

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Higher Education for What?

Posted on December 8, 2008. Filed under: Education |

Higher Education for What?
by
Jagdeep S. Chhokar

Published in Phi Kappa Phi Forum, Fall 2004, p. 36

The most common response that the question posed in the title elicits, at least in my experience, is “to get a good job”.  My experience is not limited to only the developing world where good (whatever that means) jobs are difficult to get, generally because of low levels of economic development and large populations, but I have found this to be the most common response even in the developed parts of the world.  It is possible that this happens because all my teaching experience, in different parts of the world, has been in Business Schools.  However, I have been told by several professors in more traditional, academic departments that the general response of students in their departments is not too different.  The answer that I hope for, and hardly ever get, is “for the sake of learning”.  The questions this raises are: Why does this happen?  Can, and should, professors, as important participants in the process of higher education, do something about it?  What can be done?

An outcome of the above narrow view of education as training, is the inability and unwillingness of people coming out of institutions of higher education to get involved in the processes of the larger society.  This manifests itself in several ways. Inappropriate business practices which have come to light in the past few years in several countries including the US and India are too well known to be mentioned, but there does seem to be an increase in the frequency of such cases.

Another example of the inability and unwillingness to participate in processes of the larger society is the low voter turnout during elections.  This also is not confined to the developing or the developed worlds but seems to be an across the board phenomenon.    This has serious consequences for societies and nations.  In the words of Plato: “The price good men will pay for not getting involved is to be governed by bad men.”

Undue focus on job oriented education combined with neglect of citizenship oriented education overlooks the importance of citizenship.  And it goes against a well known statement made by a Justice of US Supreme Court, Felix Frankfurter, several years ago: “No job in the country is more important than that of being a citizen.”  Professors engaged in higher education seem to ignore training students for most important job in the country.

Professors engaged in higher education obviously can, and should do something about it, if not for anything else, to fulfill their own duty as citizens.  What they can do is to focus on good citizenship in along with whatever they teach their students to become good managers, architects, doctors, accountants, historians, economists, and whatever else.  The almost complete de-linking of higher education from what can be considered basic education about how to be a responsible and good citizen is risky for every society.

It is difficult to be a good citizen without being a good human being.  Higher education therefore also needs to focus on inculcating good human values among the students, in addition to preparing them for jobs.  Professors of higher education cannot escape responsibility for developing and offering courses that the students find interesting and useful.  While societal trends are macro-phenomena over which individuals have very little control, each of us, professors of higher education, needs to work towards not only making her/his courses relevant and interesting to students but also to ensure that in the process the focus on assisting students to become good human beings and good citizens is not lost.

——————————————–

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