The time has come for Kerala to build institutions of excellence that are rooted in its traditions but capable of meeting the challenges of change, Kerala State Higher Education Council vice-chairman T.P. Sreenivasan has said.

He was delivering the seventh K.A. Isaac memorial lecture on ‘Education for a changing world,' organised by the Kerala Library Association, here on Friday.

Mr. Sreenivasan said an important and immediate need was to give all institutions a level-playing field and an equal opportunity to achieve excellence.

“The education of today is aimed at a generation that will run the State, the country, and the world in the next 30, 40, or 50 years. We have to assess the content of our curricula to identify what to keep, what to cut, and what to create, and where portfolios and other new kinds of assessment fit into the picture. We have to examine programme structures to see how to improve our use of time and space and grouping of teachers and students,” he said.

Role of technology

He said Kerala had to see how technology was transforming teaching and how to take advantage of the natural facility of students with the help of technology. “Above all, we have to find the thinking habits that students, teachers, and administrators need to develop and practice to succeed in school, work, and life,” Mr. Sreenivasan said.

Kerala had to set up courses that would increase the employability of graduates. It needed to anticipate new avenues of employment and design courses that would equip graduates for these jobs, he said.

Kerala's university system was particularly resistant to change. When experiments and innovations were attempted, they were resisted and if they were enforced, they were implemented half-heartedly, he said.

Prof. Isaac was not just a great librarian and a great teacher; he transformed library science and the profession of librarians into a noble and sought after vocation, he said. “Till his time, nobody had thought that there was not only science, but also art in taking care of books and making knowledge available to those who seek it. Long before the advent of the computers, he made it possible for students like us to find the right books at the right time... His contribution will be remembered for long by those of us who were fortunate enough to use this library,” he said.