Bhubaneswar, June 8: A stage has come when educational institutions will have to design courses for individual students to create opportunity for everyone and promote independent thinking, Prof. K.K. Aggarwal, Chairman of the National Board for Accreditation (NBA), said on Wednesday.

The new National Education Policy (NEP), framed after 34 years, intends to achieve this and encourage the students to think while focusing on multi-disciplinary education, he said while delivering the Annual Lecture at Siksha ‘O’ Anusandhan (SOA) here.

“Over the years, we have taught students that they should write in their examination papers what they have learnt from the text book. If they strayed, it meant loss of marks which was reckoned the most important part of the education system,” Prof. Aggarwal said adding “we have produced a lot of parrots, but no thinkers. In fact, we did not allow the students to think.”

“Over the last several decades, we have caused critical damage to the lives of young people as they never learnt to take risk in life. This trait in life must be encouraged but our education system did not tolerate risk taking,” he said.

Pointing out that India has not produced a Nobel laureate since 1947, he said the education system did not encourage students to solve problems and the new NEP had attributes which sought change.

Giving the example of Nobel laureate Isidor I. Rabi, Prof. Aggarwal said while parents of other children asked their children as to what they learnt during the day in school, Rabi’s mother would ask him whether he asked any new questions to the teacher that day. 

Quoting Rabi, he said asking questions had made him a scientist.

Narrating the case of another inquisitive university student who was asked to measure the height of a building using a barometer, he said the student decided to take the instrument to the top of the building, attach a long rope to it and lower it to the ground. He subsequently measured the length of the rope to find the height of the building.

Though he had solved the problem and answered the question correctly deserving full credit, the unconventional answer was not appreciated. 

Prof. Aggarwal said a day would come when a student would make the choice as to how many subjects he would study in a course. A girl student in the USA had told him she choose to study Chemical Bio-Physics because she wanted to find out why some children were born deaf.

Prof. Aggarwal said it was unthinkable when someone choose to study medicine and economics together, but a student said he wanted to study both because he wanted to improve the public health system in America. 

SOA Pro-Vice Chancellor Prof. Pradipta Kumar Nanda presided over the program which was conducted by Dean (Students’ Welfare) Prof. Jyoti Ranjan Das.

Prof. Aggarwal later called on SOA Founder President Prof. (Dr.) Manojranjan Nayak and had discussions with him. 

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