Education needs soul: Nobel Laureate

Anything resembling moral principles or suggestions of greater values has been isolated from the curriculum, if not removed entirely, Nobel Laureate Richard R. Ernst, Member of the U.S. National Academy of Science, said here on Saturday, referring to how even top institutions had failed in not including the moral element.

Delivering the commemorative talk on ‘Academic Opportunities for Shaping a Beneficial Global Future' at PSG College of Technology, held in connection with the institution's Diamond Jubilee celebrations, the Nobel prize winner in Chemistry said excellence alone was not good enough. Education needed to have a soul.

“Education does not change people immediately. It takes a long time. Ethics has to form an important part of education. Foresight, fairness and responsibility should be the three pillars of academia,” Mr. Ernst said.

Terming research as another tool of education, he urged researchers to operate on two levels–basic research level, and the societal and global level.

He impressed upon the audience that technology was not everything. It also had negative effects. Some of them were environmental damage, global warming, wars, corruption, greed and selfishness, crime, and poverty.

“Teachers should realise that students rarely need to be delivered lectures. They can read on their own. They should be taught to learn by doing. The most efficient way of education is to stimulate the curiosity of students and learning will follow by itself,” Mr. Ernst said.

Stressing the importance of role models, he said emulating them was a learning process in itself. He urged scientists to work in a way that concern for women formed the basis for all technical endeavours. This could enable the country move from a glorious past to an even better future.

Referring to the concept of Barefoot College in Tilonia in Rajasthan, which believed in finding solutions to rural problems from within the community, Mr. Ernst said such models were required to be emulated throughout the country.

He believed that the formation of responsible and innovative leaders with long-term vision to serve society should be the principle objective of universities.

L. Gopalakrishnan, Managing Trustee, PSG & Sons' Charities, and R. Rudramoorthy, Principal of the college, also spoke.

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Printable version | Sep 26, 2021 7:10:56 AM |

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