Monday, March 16, 2009

Interviewed on Higher Education


  1. To begin with sir, if you would please let us know a little bit more about yourself, your area of interest and how long you have been in this profession?

    I was born on 14 November 1942 into an agricultural family in village Manchale, Sagar-Shimoga, Karnataka, India. After my schooling in and around my village and Sagar, I graduated with Psychology and Economics as major from Maharaja's College, in the year 1962, and my Post-graduation in Psychology with Counselling and Guidance as special subject from Manasagangotri, Mysore University in 1964, both from Mysore University.I joined National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences, Bangalore where I did my M.Phil and PhD in Clinical Psychology during 1965-1969 and worked there as practicing Clinical Psychologist and Lecturer till 1973. I again joined Mysore University in the year 1973 as Lecture in Psychology in the Post-graduate department till I moved to Bangalore University as Reader and founder Chairman of the department of Psychology in the year 1977. I worked in Bangalore University for nearly thirty years, as Reader in Psychology(1977-86), Professor of Psychology(1986-2002), Registrar(1996-2000) and Vice Chancellor(2002-06). Basically, I am a Clinical Psychologist interested in Psychological Wellbeing, Human Resource development and Spirituality and my work and publication are in these area. I have been conferred two National Fellowships-Fellow of Indian Association of Clinical Psychology(F.I.A.C.P) and Fellow of National Academy of Psychology(F.N.A.Psy.) for my contributions to Psychology as a discipline and profession. I also have experience in organizing professional groups as I was General Secretary of Indian Association of Clinical Psychologist and President of Federation of University Teacher Associations of Karnataka and Bangalore University Teacher Council for two terms besides my administrative and academic leadership experience as Registrar and Vice Chancellor.I am now retired from service since the year 2006 and engaged mostly in writing and interacting with Internet Social Networking Groups and public lectures related to my professional interest .

  1. Sir, you being a part of academia for so long, what difference do you observe between the students of yester years and present students? Has there been a drastic change in the mentality or attitude of the students over the years?

Present day students by and large are more sensitive, more open, more intelligent and knowledgeable that I can be very proud of. Occasionally, I have felt that they are more merely self-seeking and they must realize that it is more self satisfying in the long run to get what they want by giving to others what they have without expecting returns.

    3.As a former VC where would you place the Bangalore University in the national scenario?

    It has tremendous potentiality, being situated in a city that has several national institute of excellence with whom one can network and grow. Right now, it has a national recognition with the best of NAAC accreditation, innovative and nationally relevant courses, vast and brilliant student strength if only it could harness it all with efficiency and better infrastructure.

  1. What improvisations must the Bangalore University undergo to meet the international standards?

Full capacity and quality teacher strength, advanced infrastructure, application of modern information technology in the preparation and conduct of examination and in the speedy and efficient announcement of results, very conscious and committed encouragement to quality teachers and students and stringent deterrent to dishonest.

  1. Have there been any significant changes after the introduction of semester scheme at the undergraduate level? If yes in what ways?

    It is an established fact all over the world and in our own national institute of excellence that academically the semester system is far superior to annual system as it decreases the cognitive load and enhances learning efficiency and recall. In an academic institution like the university, academic consideration must over ride all other consideration, such as administrative and infrastructure constraints ,at all cost. Otherwise we are doing disservice to the generation of students.I know there are serious drawbacks in the way present day semester system is working in the universities such as poor and inefficient academic structuring of the courses, inability to meet deadlines owing to inadequate infrastructure, delays and hurry and so on. Yet, it is not the mistake of the semester system but of its implementation. We can not have a new system like semester but follow old methodology in course content and examination and the present day failure is because of that. Question banks, on line question/answer tests and examination and announcement of results would facilitate the new system if only we could overcome the deep seated vested interest of very long period , even of a old British legacy we are still following. It is high time that our education need to be student centered rather than curriculum centered, administration centered, government control centered and even teacher centered especially in the flexibility in choice of courses, pace of navigating the courses and opportunity to move to other or multiple courses when students find the need in themselves.

  1. Coming to the curriculum, how important do you feel sir, is the project work in the last quarter of post-graduation?

Most important, I go to the extent of saying that the ratio of theory and practice(that includes hand on field experience) must be 50/50.

  1. Should the curriculum also include more interactions with industries comprising of training and projects done in collaboration?

Absolutely.Such networking help to know each other problem and prospect and thegive and take between the two is good for both, a wholesome knowledge and experience may accrue too.

  1. Where do see the future of the students of life sciences in the present economic conditions?

Over emphasis on applied science and technology and its current market value has harmed interest in basic sciences including natural sciences that might prove inimical to growth of knowledge and society.We will soon realize that the challenges of to day such as global environmental degradation and terrorism can be faced effectively only by giving as much importance to basic sciences as to applied / professional and technical education.

  1. Do you feel the government should fund more R & Ds in life sciences?

Government contributions in terms of funding to higher education and research is negligible in our country, it needs 1000 percent more increase if we want to sustain and speed up developmental initiative and its reach to all people in the country.

  1. What do you feel sir, is the role of private institutions in imparting quality education?

At present we are catering, that too mostly poorly, to the only less than ten percent of the for higher education that need to to be increased to 20 percent in the least in next ten years. If the Government has taken 60 years to cater to 10 percent, they may need another 50 years at the present pace to reach 20 percent! Private sector having good track record in giving quality education at the affordable cost must be encouraged and supported fully to meet the national demand, Otherwise, we may be letting down our youths and their development.

  1. Lastly we would request you sir to give a message to the students’ community.

My young friends,each one of you is unique, you must find out what it is from your own experiences, develop it and put it to the service of self and others/society. Why should you model after others, the model for your growth is within you. Parents, teacher and leaders in public life can only facilitate that process. If you try to become what you are not and copy others because they have succeded in it, misery and inefficiency would be your lot in the long term! Know Thyself and Be Thyself!


ar said...

Sir, Superb. The Experience speaks here. And that too a well versed mind reader of all the humans, what can be left. Nothing. Really you have said more than what they can learn in any where. Its the students turn now to read your words and lead them in their own. Thank you very much for a wonderful message.

Prof.M.S.Thimmappa said...

Thanks a lot for appreciating with such words.Best wishes and regards.

ಜಲನಯನ said...

Dear Prof.
I should feel to be proud blogging with an elite personality of your stature. The field of Psychology..fascinated me from the day I pronounced (I was in Kannada medium till 8th std, in rural bangalore, Hosokote Tq, nandagudi hobli) ಪಿಸ್ಕಾಲಜಿ teacher said ಲೇ ಸಾಬಿ..ಇಲ್ಲೂ ತೋರಿಸ್ಬೇಡ ನಿನ್ನ ಉರ್ದು ಉದುರನ್ನ...
I think the person and the personality tell a lot about an individual than what he does through words. Is there a branch within which tries to diagnose the problems of the un-spoken...I mean the animals..?? or for that matter the dumb & deaf?
I pray the almighty for your good health and for granting you energy to do the srvice to mankind around you.