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Activity-based learning promotes free thinking: Ponmudy

Special Correspondent

Education Minister advocates learning in mother tongue

— Photo: R. Shivaji Rao

HONOUR:Higher Education Minister K. Ponmudy presenting the Tamil Nadu Scientist Award to Dr. Mohan Kameswaran in Chennai on Tuesday.

Chennai: As the educational system is not promoting free thinking, the State government has introduced activity-based learning and uniform syllabus in schools to promote thinking among students, said K. Ponmudy, Minister for Higher Education, on Tuesday.

Presenting awards to scientists for the past three years, the Minister said it was imperative that education promoted thinking and social concern among students apart from providing them with employment.

More than the State, educational institutions and teachers, parents were the biggest obstacle to producing free-thinking individuals.

Parents should realise that they were spoon-feeding their children and curbing their freedom, making childhood mechanical. They should stop forcing children to learn in an alien language. Emphasising that thinking came naturally when children learnt in their mother tongue, he said rote learning would automatically stop when children started learning everything in Tamil.

As students graduated to higher learning, they would easily adapt to new languages and cultures.

The government could, at best, create institutions of learning as politicians mostly were unaware of the syllabus. The responsibility was with universities to promote research through interdisciplinary approach among academics. K. Ganesan, principal secretary, Higher Education, stressed on the need to instil self-confidence among children. Anna University Vice-Chancellor P. Mannar Jawahar said the State had a strong foundation in science, as a result of which over 2 lakh engineers graduated annually. Stating that imparting social view in the student community was critical in all spheres of education, Anna University of Technology Vice-Chancellor C. Thangaraj suggested setting up of task forces for focus on research.

University of Madras Vice-Chancellor G. Thiruvasagam said it had formed a curriculum committee, which would begin with reforming the system of examination to stop rote learning and enable students to understand concepts better through case studies.

The Government College of Technology, Coimbatore; Madras Christian College, Chennai, and Thyagarajar Polytechnic, Salem, bagged the State Government's Best College awards, a citation and Rs.1 lakh each.

Mr. Ponmudy presented Tamil Nadu Scientist Awards to 33 scientists in 10 disciplines for the past three years.

The Best Teacher awards and cash rewards were presented to 26 teachers in various disciplines.

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