No takers for Radhakrishnan's pet subject

Teachers Day: Divide between Guru and shishya widening

No takers for Radhakrishnan's pet subject


Kaushik Chakravarthy

The 121st birth anniversary of India’s second President, Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan or Teacher’s Day as it is ceremoniously remembered each year will be rife with pedantic activity across most educational insitutions in the country. But sadly ‘Philosophy’, the subject that Radhakrishnan taught with great distinction for over 30 years is making a less than ceremonious exit off the radar of both students and universities in the State.

Greater emphasis on employment oriented education seems to have impacted
‘Philosophy’ more than other subjects, and has been categorised as a ‘non-viable subject’ by several universities. While older universities such as Karnatak University and Mysore University are struggling to attract students for philosophy courses, universities at Gulbarga and Mangalore do not even offer the subject. And the course for one reason or another has not yet taken off at Hampi University which has for long had plans to offer the course.

The biggest university in the State Bangalore University, among other universities in the country, set the trend a few years ago by altogether closing the Department of Philosophy ostensibly due to low student interest in the subject.

The only remaining Philosophy professor at the Bangalore University, Dr T B Basavaraju who handles other responsibilities now after the department was closed down, blames changing values and policies pursued in higher education for the decline.

“It is mainly down to the loss of values. Consumerism and materialism have taken over and no one is interested in philosphy, which is the ultimate search for truth,” says  Basavaraju.

He adds, that everybody has to stop at philosophy as it is the quest for the unknown. “It is sad that our students have no knowledge of Eastern Philosophy, which is our way of life. Nobody has any knowledge of the Upanishads,” he adds. He has strong words for those who question the relevance of philosophy in the scientific age. “Philosophy can never be irrelevant, it encompasses all knowledge and promotes logic and rational thought,” he says.

The subject’s all round decline goes beyond the borders of Karnataka. Even Chennai University struggles to attract students but has plans to revive the subject. Professor Paneer Selvam, who teaches philosophy at the university says that philosophy is increasingly being taught as part technical courses. “A number of engineering colleges are teaching the subject and it is being taught under different names in other courses. All academic subjects have philosophical implications as it is the essence of human existence,” Paneer Selvam says. Further, the Chennai University, has ambitious plans to revive some of the ‘non-viable courses’ by including personality development and soft skills etc.

A policy that Professor Basavaraju endorses and believes that universities in Karnataka must adopt to create the necessary eco-system to save subjects that are the basis of rational thought.

“If we have to save subjects that do not fall in line with consumerist thought and the market place then we have to create an eco-system,” he says.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Three generations into teaching profession

Jagadish Angadi

The Ganacharis, one of the most revered in Bijapur district, are a family who have successfully taken up the tradition of academic responsibility for three generations with passion, love and sacrifice.

The three generations- BS Ganachari and his brother V S Ganachari, his son UV Ganachari and his son S U Ganachari- have taught several thousand students. BSG and VSG taught for more than 40 years, UVG for well over 34 years and SUG has been a teacher since 2001. They have taught for primary, high school, college and university students. Interestingly, all the four taught English language and literature!

On the occasion of Teachers Day, the Ganacharis shared with Deccan Herald why and how the teaching profession attracted them. “My father’s teacher Gurbasavacharamutt’s qualities like honesty, dedication, discipline, passion for serving poor and simple living and high thinking inspired me and my son to become teachers. We have hardly earned money by teaching, but we have earned great respect from students who are serving in different capacities all over the country and across the globe. On seeing us, they bow their heads to salute. That’s the true credit for us,” says UV Ganachari.

His father and his brother’s scholarship impressed UV Ganachari. He was moved by theie way of life. While, teaching, they would weep, enact scenes, deliver dialogues and convert themselves into characters. They led a very clean life, he recalled.

BSG began his career as a primary school teacher and retired as the principal of SB Arts College, Bijapur. Such was the popularity of BS Ganachari that he was elected as an MLC from teachers‘ constituency when Devaraj Urs was the Chief Minister and implemented programmes for the welfare of the teaching community.

Says SU Ganachari, “I was influenced by my grand father and my father. I decided to carry forward the legacy of my grand fathers. We entered this profession with interest and zeal. Qualities of my father and grand fathers will be governing factors in my school which I am planning to start soon.”

He says the students of his grand father and father even today recall how great they were as teachers. “Their mastery over the English language and accent was on par with any Englishman.  No honour, no award, no money could give us this kind of satisfaction,” he asserts with much pride.

B S Ganachari, U V Ganachari and S U Ganachari.

 

 

 

 

 

‘Forgotten values need revival’


BANGALORE: Guru, the teacher, is God say the scriptures. Not long ago the parents gave authority to teachers to punish their wards, believing it would make them good citizens. The teachers considered the students as their own children and their profession, noble. But, not any more. 

The growing divide between the teachers and students has become a problem, and  if not taken seriously, is sure to lead to adverse consequences, involving the teacher-student-parent-society. This issue assumes significance as teaching is considered to be a noble profession, points out an academician.

Deccan Herald tried to probe this situation and interacted with a cross section of the teaching community. Most of the teachers admitted that teachers are to be blamed for the growing divide and stressed the need for reviving the forgotten values.

S R Todkar, Principal, Hiremallur Ishwaran PC Science College, Dharwad, lists out consumerist attitude, lack of scholarship, unholy methods adopted for selection, lack of academic seriousness and involvement with other businesses as the factors for the divide.

For many, teaching has become merely a job, but not a nation-building process. Change in the social set up and family structure has led to parents openly criticising the teachers in front of children. Many options are available before students at present to get certificates without hard work. This has forced to students not to bother about teachers, he stresses.

J M Mallikarjunaiah of KLES’ Law College, Bangalore, says that many teachers lack dedication and commitment. Many of them are not much learned. They consider teaching as an occupation. They are no more scholars. They can’t guide students as they lack leadership qualities, he says.

Erosion of values

Erosion of values in society have affected the attitude of students. Most of today’s students have absolutely no respect for teachers and lack discipline. There is no urge in them to learn new things. They have become negligent as parents ensure economic security for them. Access to information has also caused the big gap. “We have not been able to utilise talent of the students as today’s students have tremendous ability in themselves”, he opines.

G N Chennabasappa, Vice-president, Baden Education Society, Mysore points out: “There is dilution from both sides. Teachers want money and indulge in several activities like conducting tuitions. To me tuition is prostitution of education. Students have realised that with money they can get anything they want. They have no respect, love, feeling and liking for teachers. Corruption is rampant in higher education.”

Prof Anupama Sabhapathi observes:  “Teachers are much bothered about salary and other perks. They have stopped practising values. For them teaching is not practicing. It is the teachers who began the process of the big divide and it is the teachers who should begin the process setting the system right on track.”

Prof Yadunandan of First Grade Government College, Rajajinagar, feels that teachers, students and the society should make united efforts to bridge the gap.

JA

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