Dated and Passé

Dated and Passé

The grading systems, processes and procedures, especially in the higher education domain in Kashmir are dated and passé. The assumption behind this grading is to actually check and assess knowledge of students. This is fine, but only up to a point. The focus should actually be on both knowledge and importantly understanding of a given subject and linkages between various disciplines that are examined. The natural corollary of focus on mere knowledge is rote learning which actually stultifies the mind and renders students into mere knowledgeable generalists. This is as passé and dated as ever and militates not only against finding jobs and employment but also creates an insipid repertoire of knowledge that is not applied. In this day and age, what is important is a blend of domain knowledge and understanding thereof and that too in a dynamic and not a static manner. Rote learning which is the concomitant of a mere focus on knowledge is a static process and concept that also is subject to diminishing returns in an age where even there is “ creative destruction” of knowledge at a staggering pace and speed rendering the pace of obsolescence even faster. This means that we are producing an army of educated but useless young people. All this needs to change. But the nature and scope of change entailed calls for a paradigm shift that is conceptual, philosophical and practical. These should and must proceed apace for robust educational reform to take place. The first step must be rejigging of the syllabus that is attuned to and aligned with the demands and needs of the times. The focus, to repeat, must be on knowledge and understanding and that too in terms of cutting edge knowledge and domain understanding. The second step must be a totally revamped pedagogy that focuses on developing critical thinking and applied knowledge that is both useful and utilitarian. Third, educational institutions must be both aesthetically appealing and practically aligned to the needs of the modern times. The steps delineated here are not exhaustive; there’s more that can and should be done to render education in Kashmir holistic and dynamic. But , these steps would constitute a useful starting point for what is an exigent requirement: a total and comprehensive revamp and rejigg of education here. A vigorous follow up on the suggested measures would reorient our students to a dynamic which redounds to their overall development, both of the intellectual and personality kind.