Essay on The Role of the University in development! Powerful Essay on the topic of the role of the university with PDF and outline.
The Role of the University
- The importance of the university has grown because of its historic functions. University education in the past conformed to objectives of imperial rule.
- The aim of the old system was liberal education which in practice declined into literary education. It was theoretical and possessed no social relevance.
- Characteristics of a model university:
- It strives for academic perfection.
- It is geared to national needs.
- It has a battery of talented teachers.
- It grooms students to face lift successfully.
- It is a house of stimulating ideas.
- Our universities leave much to desire. They are substandard.
- A university is a symbol of national prestige.
The university, as a center of excellence, occupies or should occupy the most prestigious place in the galaxy of national institutions. Its importance has grown over the years because of the challenging tasks it has been called upon to face – tasks engendered by the relentless logic of history and the stern dynamics of social change. The first university of its kind was established by the English in the middle of the nineteenth century in pursuance of their calculated policy to propagate English culture in the sub-continent. They needed “qualified Indians”, imbued with the feelings of civilized England to help them in the civil administration of the country. English language was to be the instrument for the diffusion of European knowledge.
Modelled on the lines of Oxford and Cambridge but heavily modified to suit the tastes of an imperial regime, a university in the past aspired to be a center of “liberal education”. The acme of its endeavors was to create a “liberally educated man”. He was supposed to think rationally, objectively, logically and know the difference between fact and opinion. He knew a good deal about the world of nature and the word of man and about the “culture” of which he was a part. His convictions, values and personal standards were of a high order.
In actual practice, however, liberal education missed its ambitious targets and turned out to be bookish, remote from life and a thing for the few. It deteriorated into a literary kind of education and its pampered products remained aloof and cut off from the mainstream of social consciousness and culture. It was this non-utilitarian tradition of university education which Pakistan inherited when the sub-continent was partitioned in 1947. The legacy evidently needed drastic overhauling if it was to respond to the demands of socio-economic change. It is in this context of the past and the present that we can perhaps visualize the role of a university today.
What then should be the characteristics of a modern university in a free and developing State like Pakistan. First and foremost, it must be a seat of highest learning in the true sense of the term and not an assemblage or camping ground of dubious mediocrities. It must strive to attain the highest standards of academic excellence and be charged with the spirit of genuine scholarship and research. Dominant emphasis should be on quality – quality of subject taught, quality of instruction, and quality of student.
Secondly, higher education must be geared to the needs of a dynamic society and its researches, “problem” and “work” centered, rather than “knowledge” centered. It should embrace the new technology without jeopardizing time-honored and worthy values.
Thirdly, members of the faculty must be men of outstanding ability and utterly devoted to their calling. A love of learning depends much on the personality and communicable enthusiasm of the individual teacher. The teachers constitute the pith and marrow of the entire system and should never allow their exalted image to be tarnished by extraneous considerations.
Fourthly, it should provide its young men the ability and courage to grapple with the real problems of life. It should endow them with a critical spirit for, in the words of Professor A. N. Whitehead, “In the conditions of modern life the rule is absolute: the race which does not value trained intelligence is doomed.”
Finally, a modern university must be the abode of constructive and stimulating ideas; a sort of a mighty ‘think-tank’ firmly committed to national goals and ever ready to grapple with problems which the country might face.
Viewed in the light of legitimate objectives our universities, in practice, present a rather sharp contrast. The actual, unhappily, falls far short of the ideal. Our seats of higher learning have failed to respond to the demands of a changing society. Riddled with problems, they present “a sad spectacle.
A university is a symbol of national prestige and a repository of a nation’s ideals. It exercises tremendous influence in guiding the present and molding the future and in this it has its foremost claim to honor.
Every country, therefore strives to build an institution which should reflect not only its glorious heritage but also the course of its future aspirations. Will our universities prove equal to this challenge? Only time will tell.