Speaker: Prof. Anuradha Lohia, V.C.Presidency University and Dr. Meenakshi Gopinath, Ex -Principal ,Lady Shri Ram College, Delhi
Moderator: Ms Malabika Banerjee, Director, Kolkata Literary Meet
Venue: The Oberoi Grand
Date: 15th November, 2018
The topic of discussion was ‘The Dynamics of education’ : In conversation with Prof. Anuradha Lohia, V.C.Presidency University and Dr. Meenakshi Gopinath, Ex -Principal ,Lady Shri Ram College, Delhi ; moderated by Ms Malabika Banerjee, Director, Kolkata Literary Meet.
The conversation started with a reference to Eliot’s ‘The Rock’ where he asks – ‘Where is the Life we have lost in living? Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge? Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?’ The traditional viewpoint of education as a mode of acquiring skills or getting a career is being replaced by a much more layered and rich approach to education. This started in the 20th century but has picked up pace in the 21st century where education is incorporating art and industry and is offering more choice and flexibility than ever before. Education now should be looked at as much more than the road to degrees, but as a path to wisdom. This is exemplified by the number of dropouts from traditional universities who have gone on to extremely succesful businesses and careers.
Prof. Lohia rued that modern parents were taking away some of the thrills of self-discovery in higher education by their scrutiny. She felt it was necessary for young men and women to choose their own path and make their own mistakes. Modern education, she felt, has now the flexibility and dynamism to be ‘kinetic and not potential’.
Dr. Gopinath spoke abut the need for a more modern system of evaluation than cutoff numbers, stressing on the ‘nine intelligences’ described by Howard Gardener. She also spoke of the need for spiritual abundance in education, explaining that the ‘Saraswati’s Hansa’ is a metaphor for the infinite capabilities of the spirit.
The speakers deliberated on the changing landscape of women in education and the shifting of demographic balance. The ‘apartheid’ against women is lifting and this change is evident across the world. They also mentioned that higher education should not be a goal for every student.
The strength of modern education would be to appreciate the micro and macro viewpoint. They quoted the “Auguries of Innocence’, where Blake writes: ‘To see a World in a Grain of Sand, And a Heaven in a Wild Flower. Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand, And Eternity in an hour.’ In these words, the goal of dynamic education and the viewpoint of the guests, was summarized beautifully.