“Education is beautification of the inner world and the outer world.” ― Amit Ray
A message on the whatsapp lead me to read about Biome and Paludarium. I learnt that a Paludarium is a living ecosystem (swamp) where all of the living elements (mosses, plants, crabs, and fish) and non-living elements (the water, air, and rocks) interact with one another and are linked through nutrient cycles and energy flows. This set me thinking about a college ecosystem. Who are its elements? Well the students, teaching and non-teaching staff, support staff, management, hiring industries and parents. If these were the living entities than the non-living entities were the infrastructure like classrooms, laboratories, equipment, libraries, canteens, sports area, offices, gardens, and more. The interaction between these entities is critical for a healthy ecosystem where all the elements thrive and grow. The balance of the paludarium is supported each day with just a little food for the fish. Similarly, the balance of a college is supported by the programs designed to enrich its faculty. It is the management who identify and provide these avenues for development. These programs enhance the faculty vitality, and it is reflected not only in their work and interactions with the students but their involvement in the college activities. When the teachers imbibe the ideals and value of their institute, collaborate with their peers and students, perceive “learning to teach” as a lifelong process they will create a healthy ripple effect in the system. The immediate beneficiaries are the students. The industries who hire these enriched students also flourish. The non-teaching faculty supporting the activities of these staff also improve their skill base. The faculty bring in fresh ideas and innovations which lead to improvement in the facilities. Thus, the elements are all linked through these nutrients for the faculty and energy flows through.
“Education is simply the soul of a society as it passes from one generation to another.” – G.K. Chesterton
Now looking at a Biome. What is it? Well a biome is an area of the planet that can be classified according to the plants and animals that live in it. Temperature, soil, and the amount of light and water help determine what life exists in a biome. In a broader sense when I view the various colleges, each is like a Biome. The teaching & learning process (TLP), the research environment, the facilities and the resources provided help to determine the kind of students and faculty of that institute.
In my opinion in any university, an inclusive environment for its faculty and students must be created. Innovative methodologies must be incorporated wherever possible, continuous monitoring and tweaking of the different parameters in TLP must be performed, an environment with bountiful opportunities for all members to grow must be created. I believe this will help to build a culture of lifelong learning, which is the foundation for a great university.
I conclude with these words from Hellen Keller indicating the importance of education and hence that of universities ………
“Have you ever been at sea in a dense fog, when it seemed as if a tangible white darkness shut you in and the great ship, tense and anxious, groped her way toward the shore with plummet and sounding-line, and you waited with beating heart for something to happen? I was like that ship before my education began, only I was without compass or sounding line, and no way of knowing how near the harbor was. “Light! Give me light!” was the wordless cry of my soul, and the light of love shone on me in that very hour.” – Hellen Keller
“You can teach a student a lesson for a day; but if you can teach him to learn by creating curiosity, he will continue the learning process as long as he lives.” – Clay P. Bedford