khuram

Archive for the ‘Education & Examination System’ Category

Issues relating to education system and progress etc.

Education System is Fake!

Posted by khuram on July 12, 2010

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Education System is Fake:

Protesters parade a herd of 'fake degree' donkeys through the streets

Fake Degrees of our Parliamentarians is the hot issue of these days. There are lots of condemnations and protests against fake degree holders. There are opinions that donkeys are better than those fake degree holders. Our so highly qualified nation also made fun of CM Balochistan’s statement on this issue in which he said, “Degree is degree; whether it is genuine or fake!”.

Well, people may continue to think that donkeys are better than fake degree holders, but in my opinion … a donkey and a degree minded person are same.

I wrote somewhere else also. I am reproducing it below:

“Degree makes you eligible to apply for the job. It does not even guarantee that your application shall be replied. It also does not give guarantee that you will not be expelled. It makes young people lazy. They tend to look around them who is going to create some economic activity for them to participate. They loose all confidence to create a new economic activity for themselves and for other people. In many big cities, fresh Master degree holders (M.Com, MBA etc.) are given jobs for as low salaries as Rs.7000/- to Rs.8000/-. Especially this commerce and business education is a big fraud with youth. Whole purpose of this education is to ensure regular supply of trained servants for less educated capitalists (Masters). Role of these degree holders is like spare parts of this capital system machine. New spare parts are inducted and then replaced. Good spare parts move to richer parts of this whole machine. This is the all system.

Few days back, I google searched to see exactly why employers demand degree certificates from job applicants. One convincing argument that I found was that presence of degree/certificate gives enough surety that the applicant is determined … he has spent 24/25 years of his life in order to become a good employee. He is submissive and he shall obey the commands of employer. Employers don’t like that employees be able to “plan” the things by themselves. Employers tend to keep planning aspects in their own hands. They prefer and like their own planning. They don’t really need employees competent enough to plan the things. They only need obedient people who have good track record of completing “assignments” in time.”

Education system may be all good in terms of recognition in employment sector. But role of education system is not to spread knowledge. It’s role is to produce obedient people to meet the ongoing demands of employers.

 

Task of education system is NOT to spread knowledge or wisdom. Basically it’s function is to produce a sort of ranking, or some objective eligibility criteria.

We also should understand what “objectivity” or “objective criteria” really mean.

Take the example of some murder case proceedings in a court where Judge personally knows that accused is the murderer. But in case there is lack of evidence, the same Judge will have to release that accused person.

Here lack of evidence means lack of objective evidence.

The need of objectivity arises only in group life. Main usage of objectivity is to regulate and harmonize the group life. People settle their disputes while the criteria for decisions are objective. Here objectivity has no direct concern with the reality or truth. Decisions based on objective facts may be misleading. For example if a judge personally knows that the accused is murderer but he has no objective evidence, he will have to release that person. Here the decision is not based on real situation. Objectivity, for the most part makes our group life more convenient. Just for the sake of this ‘convenience’, the society can prefer objectivity to reality. To base our decisions in a society on reality, which is not supported by objectivity, creates various types of social problems. To worship idols may be objective kind of duty in an idol worshiping country/society but it may not be the real duty for them. If any person in that society denies performing this objective duty and insist on real (which is subjective) duty, that person shall create various types of social problems for himself.

In the same way, this Education System has been designed to regulate group life. Its primary function is only to produce certain eligibility rankings which everyone should easily accept. To acquire your desired ranking, you need NOT to acquire knowledge or wisdom. You only need to show your compliance to rules and regulations of degree awarding authority, which is usually a university. You can show this compliance by rote memorizing certain syllabus books … you can show this compliance by getting your assignments completed by your more talented friends or even by professionals who offer their “professional” services to students. And you also can show this compliance by giving all the fee/dues/fines/other charges to the educational institution.

To make some objective criteria is not any bad thing. But bad thing in Education System is that it makes this criterion in the name of knowledge and wisdom. Whereas fact is that these universities never recognize knowledge/wisdom of people outside of this system. Universities do not award Masters Literature Degree to a real poet/author. He shall never be eligible to get a teacher job in some university even though he is Mirza Ghalib or Shakespeare. Even Micheal Faraday who invented Dynmo Generator … he will not be eligible to get admission in BSc. class. For the reasons that perhaps he is under matric.

In our present world, if real Aristotle comes, he will not be given job of teacher of Philosophy in any university. Even, he will not be given any PhD Degree for the reason he got no Masters Degree. And he will not be given Masters Degree for the reason he possesses no Graduate Degree and so on.

Education System itself is fake. It pretends and promises to give knowledge and Wisdom … but practically it gives only a sort of eligibility ranking.

As Education System is “competent” to draw eligibility rankings … it gets a sort of authority which it uses, misuses and even manipulates. Universities do blackmail intelligent students who lack financial resources to pay their dues. Many types of fines/charges etc. are collected by manipulating compulsions on rich/poor students and their parents. Teachers also blackmail students and demonstrate their authority. They even warn students of destroying their careers.

Education System is conscious of its authority and power. To promote degree culture is in the direct interest of this stupid education system.

That’s why I really liked CM Balochistan’s statement: “Degree Degree Hota hai; Asli ho ya Naqli…!!!” (Degree is Degree; whether Genuine or Fake!)

And I am happy that CM Balochistan cannot be blamed for having/presenting fake degree. Degree paper is important for “ranking” minded people. But this “paper” is NOT important for knowledge seeking people.

This is less “Education” and more of a “System”. The meaning of “System” is nothing more than “lining up as per regulations” and waiting for the promised rewards that may or may not be provided in the end.

From the Internet:

Views of an Educator that Grades are Stupid.

His analysis also reveals that Education System tries to make students submissive as per the requirements of their future bosses. Following is a quote out of his article:

But it also means that the main skill a student is being measured on is the ability to fulfill the expectations of another person.

In one sense, this is valuable — particularly if you’re the boss and you’re looking for somebody who can follow your directions and do what’s expected of them. In another, it’s not — particularly if pleasing a boss isn’t the most important outcome of one’s work.

See also More than schooling
A critique of the modern education system, by Sandeep Pandey.

Following are some quotes from Sandeep Pandey’s article:

The need for such an examination arises because everything does not seem to be going alright with the education system. The ground reality is that in most of the schools and colleges of India, students, teachers and administrators are apathetic towards the process of education, fraudulent ways are beings adopted to complete the process and a large number of educated youth find themselves without jobs.

More precisely, the perceived goal of education to make the individual and the society ‘better’ in some qualitative sense, seems to missing in its current form.

Most of the people will refuse to link the malaise in the system to the basic nature of the system itself, considering it to be a disorder which could be taken care of by implementing a proper machinery. Such assumptions need to be questioned.

When so much resources and the prime time of our children and youth are being given over to the education system, we as a society need to find out the achievement of this system in real terms.

for on close examination this kind of education system itself appears to be at fault.

The roots of our education system are in the Imperial days, where it was essentially meant to produce a class of people who would assist the British in running the administration of this country.

Even today the education system continues to serve the same function.

It produces a salaried middle class which acts as an appendage to the ruling class and helps keep a primarily coercive administrative system in place. Since the nature of such jobs is essentially of clerical type and there is almost no scope to exercise an individual’s creativity. Most people, even those possessing highest of academic qualifications, cannot derive satisfaction out of their jobs. To compensate for their unproductive nature of jobs they have to be paid higher wages than can be earned otherwise.

Since the education system is also designed to produce merely a ‘clerical’ class, upon the completion of their education programmes the youth seek fixed salary and low risk secure jobs.

Since what is needed to demonstrate when applying for a job is the certificate and not actual competence, people have devised ways of completing the process of obtaining the certificates without actually putting in the hard work to go through the entire exercise involved in the process of education.

The teachers are content drawing their salaries. As the number of people possessing certificates, diplomas and degrees has gone up, so has the competition for jobs and the number of unemployed. Since the education system prepares a job mentality in people, a person is called unemployed if he/she is not in a salaried job.

In fact, the education system can be blamed for ruining the best years of our youth, whether unsuccessful or successful in getting a job.

Contrary to the popular opinion that education opens up more job opportunities, it rewards only a minuscule percentage of the population, mostly coming from socio-economically privileged groups. It is only the dream of getting these small number of high salaried coveted jobs that has sustained the view that education opens up more job opportunities. If we consider the hard reality, education system today makes many more people jobless than it is able to provide jobs to.

The sooner we agree to examine the myth that the present education system is a desirable thing, the better it would be for our society. A completely new form of education system with a different purpose altogether, has to be worked out for creating a healthy society.

So long as the primary function of our education system continues to be serving the interests of the ruling class, no change can be expected to be brought about by it. Fortunately we are forced to re- examine our education system because, firstly, it is failing to provide jobs to everybody, and, secondly, to the people it has provided jobs, it is failing to provide satisfaction. In any case, the myth that education opens up more job opportunities needs to be dispensed with.

However, when several groups of people, including school teachers and college students from Delhi, Kanpur and Ballia were questioned on exactly how they were advanced compared to people who did not get a chance to go to school, people were at a loss to come up with convincing answers.

The educated people would readily agree that inspite of enjoying more material comforts they do not think that they have become any more happy than the uneducated people. Also, education does not make any person a better human being. The educated people are not any more sensitive or sympathetic towards other human beings. Neither are they any more honest or responsible.

Education does not free a person of superstition or blind belief in hypothetical concepts of super natural powers. An educated person is seen to be as much of a fatalist as an uneducated one. People possessing highest degrees in sciences are seen to behave in highly irrational and inexplicable ways. A document published when the Kishore Bharati experiment was wound up, points out that scientific rational way of thinking evaporates when economic and political interests of the people come in their way. Hence upon an honest evaluation it turns out that qualitatively there is not much of a difference between the educated and the uneducated people.

The science education in schools and colleges is no less dogmatic than the teachings of religion. What you can do in the name of science is clearly spelled out by the authorities, allowing no freedom for change even in enquiry. It obviously does not conform to the notion of science offering openness of thought and is certainly far removed from the concept of knowledge. It must be recognized very well that modern education system is not a programme of knowledge seeking even though it does maintain an illusion of that in the name of science.

The examinations, for which the skill of writing is necessary, can be passed by reproducing certain information or at the most by manipulation of this information. A person who is the product of modern education system and has completed most advanced of its programmes does not feel contended or knowledgeable enough to be able to provide answers to all queries relating to his/her specialization and certainly not comfortable answering the basic questions about life and existence in the realm of philosophy even though the education system may have honoured them with Doctor of Philosophy degrees. This is yet another proof of modern education system not being a knowledge seeking exercise. In fact, there appears to be a lot of confusion among people on what exactly is the nature of knowledge and the ways of going about acquiring it.

 

Posted in -Home-, Education & Examination System, Pakistan, Pakistan Internal Affairs, Philosophy, Philosophy in Pakistan, Subjectivity/ Objectivity and Scientific Method | 6 Comments »

“Degree is Degree — Whether it is Fake or Genuine!” (CM Balochistan):

Posted by khuram on June 30, 2010

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“Degree is Degree — Whether it is Fake or Genuine!” (CM Balochistan)

Well … I am supporter of this statement … but not in feudal sense.

My following words basically deal with the issues of “Strong Institutions” Vs. “Strong Personalities” and “Competency Vs. Merit”. I will criticize the concept of “Strong Institutions” including “Education System” and will supports CM Balochistan’s recent statement: “Degree is Degree — Whether it is Fake or Genuine”.

One common point of view is that lack of proper institutionalization is the core problem Pakistan is facing these days. Once I dared to disagree with this opinion. I got following response from a friend:

So you think that there is no need for strong institutions like courts, police etc. Strength doesn’t mean anything else than independent decisions, decisions on merit. If you are against decision on merits than you can say that our country needs strong personalities above all rules, above all codes.

My Reply:

Well, I am not against the existence of institutions. But institutions should not be so big fools as to be not able to recognize what could be the real best option in various particular situations. I presented the case of a candidate whose over-all 62% marks (In that case, Passing Marks were 40%) could not save her from being declared FAIL in written exam just because she failed only in one paper (out of 12) on account of one short number. May be you cannot realize the stupidity of examination body (the institution) in this case. One can better realize it if one personally goes through similar instances.

Secondly I am in need to clarify what meaning I take of ‘strong’ person and ‘strong’ institution.

In this connection, we generally denote ‘strong person’ as a person who does not care for rules and regulations for negative purposes or for personal selfish reasons. This is the popular meaning and it is a negative meaning.

But I had not used ‘strong person’ with this negative meaning. For me, ‘strong person’ would be that one who does not care for rules and regulations for good and positive reasons.

Now about strong Institutions:

You say:

“Strength doesn’t mean anything else than independent decisions, decisions on merit.”

Well, if you are talking of ‘strong institutions’ in that sense which you are favoring, then let me point out that under the system of ‘strong institutions’ which you favor, decisions are NOT independent and decisions don’t have the basis of COMPETENCY (here I have replaced ‘competency’ for ‘merit’).

Because in ‘strong institutions’, decisions DEPEND on rigid rules and policies, whereas meaning of ‘merit’ is NOT level of competency but is just ‘level of compliance to written rules and policies’.

I ask you a simple question. There are two students who are doing Masters in Physics. University has designed a predefined syllabus for Physics. First student is research minded and he takes pain in trying to find new facts about Physics. For this purpose he has to spend time in his research activities.

Second student is good crammer of syllabus books. What shall happen in the University exam…??? Crammer of syllabus books shall come on MERIT. On the other hand, research minded student might fail in University exam because he had been full time busy in his research activities.

My question to you is that who is more competent…???

If you say that research minded person is more competent … Then you are in favor of strong personalities because in this case your decision has been INDEPENDENT OF RULES AND POLICIES OF UNIVERSITY.

If you say that person who is good crammer of syllabus books is more competent … then you are in favor of strong institutions because your decision has been BASED ON RULES AND POLICIES OF UNIVERSITY.

In my opinion, research minded person is REAL competent whereas crammer has just come on merit.

My another question to you is that: “Competency Vs Merit” … What do you like…???

Competency can go anywhere … it can set its own direction also … Merit is just a blind chase of rigid rules and policies. Competency is the quality of leaders. Merit is the quality of followers. Leaders are those who show others some direction. Remember that any new direction could not be contained in the way of rigid compliance to previously written rules and policies. Those who are only to follow the already written rules and policies how can they go to any new direction…??? A person who does not go to any new direction, how can he show any new direction to others…??? And a person who does not show the new direction to others … simply he is not leader. Perhaps he is such a ‘manager’ who cannot take many independent decisions … Because his decisions would depend on written rules and policies.

Yes I am against decisions on merit … but in the above mentioned sense. And yes there should be strong personalities … above all rules, above all codes … but they must be allowed to go beyond all rules and all codes only for good and positive reasons. Practically it is possible to be allowed to only head of the institution and/or heads of department/section.

My Friend Replied:

Just consider an example if you have a very good car latest model (institution) with an average driver one who can drive like you and me, and on the other hand if you have very old car with so many faults in it, weak engine out dated model with an expert driver (strong personality), what do you think who will win the race? Now a philosopher will favor the expert and a realistic one will favor the latest model machine. In simple words if you have strong institutions then you can utilize your mind otherwise its useless.

My Reply:

Yes if we make our institutions ‘strong’ (within your meaning) then we would not be in need of competent persons … just like an incompetent driver of a better car can win the race against a competent driver, who drives an old car.

Well … we already have shortage of competent persons … Do you want to cover this deficiency in this way…??? By eliminating the role of any human competency…???

But you have forgotten that the incompetent driver shall be able to win the race only when a competent person would already have invented a better car. Actually these ‘strong institutions’ only make our lives more mechanical. Nothing would happen if you replace all the persons in your ‘strong institution’ with mechanical computer aided robots. So there would be no need of humans in your ‘strong institutions’. I again have given all the philosophical reasons in support of my views. I can give examples of ground realities also where so-called strength of institutions have given the results of miseries for general public and have opened the avenues for corruption in many government departments. Our official taxation laws, for instance, are so harsh that tax liabilities of small businessmen can reach to such amounts, which may be more than total capital employed. For example (real example) a business had to be closed just because that businessman made payments to his supplier in cash instead of through banking channel which was required as per law. Otherwise that businessman had been a regular tax payer and he had deposited all his due taxes. He committed only this procedural mistake i.e. of not making payments to supplier through banking channels. In this way he has attracted penalties amounting to more than the total capital of business.

Since our BLIND ‘strong institutions’ cannot see the on ground facts and they only can follow the written rules and policies … So as a result, now that business has been closed. I myself have won the case (being the representative of department in the judicial proceedings) against that businessman at Departmental Tribunal level. In my private meetings with the advocate of businessman, I admitted that no revenue loss was involved in that case because taxpayer had duly deposited all the payable taxes. Only fault was procedural in nature where no government revenue loss was involved. But the penalties involved for such procedural mistake would amount to more than the capital employed by the business. During the judicial proceedings before the Tribunal, I argued that taxpayer had violated such and such rules and sections of Law so he may be penalized for it. So I myself played the role of ‘strong institution’. In another case, taxpayer had made such mistake which had little effect on government revenue. But he was charged with heavy penalty for the procedural mistake. Case already had been decided in favor of tax payer by the lower adjudication forum. Adjudication officer might be some “strong person” within my meanings … So he had taken the decision in favor of taxpayer because amount of revenue loss was really just minor.

On the next forum i.e. before Appellate Tribunal, I represented the department before Tribunal. I won the case on first hearing in favor of department by arguing that tax payer had violated such and such rules and laws. Again I played the role of ‘strong institution’ and ‘weak personality’… And I promoted real injustice in this way because taxpayer had committed only immaterial type of procedural mistake which would have just minor impact on government revenue. Now that person shall pay heavy fines.

I also knew and Judges also knew that there had been no significant loss to government treasury in that case. But my role and the role of judges had been to just blindly follow the written policies and procedures. And this is what we really did. So how can you say that strong institutions shall solve all the problems of nation…??? Strong institutions themselves are a big problem … because they are blind … because they prevent the personalities from applying their minds for the betterment of country … because institutions possess no working mind … because they possess only mechanical written policies which might not be in the best interest of country in all the situations.

I give another example of a so-called “Strong Institution” which is our prevalent Education System. Yesterday, on a TV program, Mr.Tallat Hussain asked Voice Chancellor, Punjab University, “Suppose a student genuinely gets good marks in B.A (Graduation) exams but after some years it comes out that his F.A (Intermediate) certificate was fake (or his marks in F.A were not sufficient to get admission in B.A.) then what will happen to the status of his B.A degree?”

Voice Chancellor categorically replied, “His B.A degree will become liable to be canceled”.

It’s simple meaning is that Education System, as an institution, is not there to spread any knowledge or wisdom. It only ensures certain good percentage of compliance to written rules and policies. One who manages to get more knowledge/wisdom than offered by the Education System but does not manage to follow written rules and policies of university, SHALL NOT BE AWARDED DEGREE by the University. Sometimes universities bypass their written rules and policies when they award some persons honorary degrees. But in such cases, generally, those personalities already would have proven their competency before whole world. In this way, universities prove themselves BLIND as they cannot see competency outside of Education System as long as the world already recognizes that competency.

In short, I liked yesterday’s statement of Chief Minister Balochistan: “Degree is degree — whether it is fake or genuine!”.

Posted in -Home-, Education & Examination System, Essays on Pakistan, Pakistan, Pakistan Internal Affairs, Philosophy, Philosophy in Pakistan, Subjectivity/ Objectivity and Scientific Method, Theory of Knowledge | 1 Comment »

Why Qualification is a Must for getting a Job…???

Posted by khuram on June 16, 2010

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Yesterday I google searched to see exactly why employers demand degree certificates from job applicants. One convincing argument that I found was that presence of degree/certificate gives enough surety that the applicant is determined … he has spend 24/25 years of his life in order to become a good employee. He is submissive and he shall obey the commands of employer. Employers don’t like that employees be able to “plan” the things by themselves. Employers tend to keep planning aspects in their own hands. They prefer and like their own plannings. They don’t really need employees competent enough to plan the things. They only need obedient people who have good track record of completing “assignments” in time.

Education system may be all good in terms of recognition in employment sector. But role of education system is not to spread knowledge. It’s role is to produce obedient people to meet the ongoing demands of employers.

Posted in -Home-, Education & Examination System, Pakistan, Philosophy, Theory of Knowledge | Leave a Comment »

How to eradicate Poverty from our Country? And can our Education sector make any Progress if we just Increase Education Budget?

Posted by khuram on December 18, 2006

Mahatir Muhammad’s “Case of Asia” is a good book to understand how practically poverty can be eradicated within few decades from a poor country. Although he expressed his concerns about the setbacks to the Economies of East Asian Countries in late 1990s, but on the whole, he showed his satisfaction over the achievements of his government. Malaysia was a poor country in early 1960′s when Mahatir assumed power. He has discussed his long term planning aimed at how to eradicate poverty from the country. His people were mostly uneducated and did not know even how to do small businesses. His government first tried to understand the composition of country’s society with respect to their economic activities and level of incomes. They found that there was vast disparity in the type of Economic activities and distribution of Income. A sizable population of Malaysia consisted of alien people. Indigenous Malaysian people were in majority however but most Economic resources were in the hands of alien people. Mahatir discusses that his government could adopt such policies as to just re-distribute the economic resources among population through various indirect means such as through progressive taxation etc. But they thought it was wrong to deprive wealthy people off their hard earned resources. They realized that actual problem was not to just redistribute the resources. The issue was to generate new resources. The majority poor population was so ignorant and didn’t even know how to start a small business. Then Mahatir discusses how his government endeavored to introduce business culture in the society. In fact, his strategy was to introduce entrepreneurial culture in the society. His government first encouraged small enterprises through small loan schemes. His government launched a campaign to promote awareness among small business owners about the adoptation and utilization of modern techniques of Accounting and Finance. In this way, at first his government successfully made a sizable number of people the owner of their own businesses. All the economic activities boosted with increased business activities. Secondly his government did concrete efforts for the promotion of Foreign Investment in his country.

The difference between such a strategy and our policy is something like that we also study Accounting and Finance. But in our country, these subject are taught with the view to enable the students to find some clerical or so called Managerial job. Whereas Mahatir’s government launched campaign to make these modern techniques of doing business as part of business culture of country.

And I do not think that education sector can make progress only with the help of additional finance. We are having far more Economic resources than our own ancient ancestors. If they could make many achievements in educational, intellectual and scientific fields, then why we have been unable to do the same things while having far more Economic resources than our those ancestors could have? Dr. Pervez Hoodbhoy considers it just a baseless excuse that we are backward in education sector just because of lack of some Economic resources. The question is, after all what we shall do of additional money if we double or triple our Education budget? Obviously we shall open some new substandard schools and universities. As a result, there shall be some more addition of half educated unemployed or under-employed degree-holder youth. There is actually need of many qualitative type reforms in our education system. Dr. Hoodhbhoy says ok that many types of Scientific research studies do require expensive laboratory equipment, but he says that laboratory equipment is not the necessary condition for all types of scientific research. For example, he has classified science into (i) Practical Sciences and; (ii) Theoretical Sciences. He tells us that research work in theoretical sciences do not require the usage of any expensive laboratory equipment. So we would rightfully blame our so called poverty only if we have shown any positive achievement in the area of at least theoretical sciences.

Furthermore, neither our education system is aware of any utility of theoretical sciences, nor our university syllabi include any theoretical science at all. Only emphasis is on just a minor aspect of practical sciences. My friend who did Masters in Botany told me that once university imported some expensive lab equipment from Japan. But that equipment was never used because if during its application some fault comes, it could only be removed by Japanese. So University management thought it better to not use that equipment at all…!!!

So how our education sector can make any progress if we successfully find many oil wells in our country but pay no attention to the qualitative aspects of education system?

Posted in -Home-, Education & Examination System, Pakistan, Pakistan Internal Affairs | 6 Comments »

Education System and Subjective/ Objective Examinations:

Posted by khuram on August 30, 2006

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Education System:

In education system, subjects are classified as ‘sciences’ and ‘arts’. The actual difference is not that of ‘science’ and ‘arts’. The actual difference is that of ‘objective’ and ‘subjective’.

Certain ‘arts’ can be sciences as well such as art of constructing multi-story buildings. Certain ‘objective’ subjects are neither ‘sciences’ nor ‘arts’ e.g. Islamiyat basically is an objective subject but it is neither science nor art. Similarly Law is also objective in nature but it is neither science nor art. ‘Art’ means practical application of whatever we know.

So the subjects are;

i. Objective Theories
ii. Subjective Theories
iii. Objective Arts
iv. Subjective Arts

Objective Theories:

i. Theories of Physical Sciences.
ii. Those theories of Social Sciences which are based on ‘laboratory method’ research method.
iii. Law
iv. Religious Code
v. Grammar etc.

Subjective Theories:

i. Philosophy
ii. Political Science etc.

Objective Arts:

Practical application of objectivity i.e. of any objective theory.

Subjective Arts:

These are fine arts, such as painting, poetry, literature etc.
Certain subjects have both the elements of subjectivity and objectivity such as Sociology, Anthropology, and Economics etc.

About Subjective/ Objective Examinations:

There is wide application of ‘objective type’ and ‘subjective type’ examinations in our education system. ‘Objective type’ and ‘subjective type’ are, in fact the two main forms of examinations. The classification of examinations in ‘objective type’ and ‘subjective type’, however, seems to have been made without any in depth consideration into the exact meanings of ‘subjectivity’ and ‘objectivity’. What is considered to be a ‘subjective type’ examination consists of such type of questions the answers to which are required to be given in descriptive form. And what is considered to be the ‘objective type’ examination, is usually in the format that asks questions and requires answers in the shape of (i) fill in the blanks, (ii) multiple choice questions, (iii) differentiate between true and false statements and (iv) short answers etc.

So the currently considered difference between ‘subjective type’ and ‘objective type’ examinations can be thought of that of ‘descriptive type’ and ‘non-descriptive type’ examinations. Subjective type is the ‘descriptive type’ examinations; whereas objective type is ‘non-descriptive examination’.

In my opinion, the real difference between ‘subjective type’ and ‘objective type’ examinations is not that of ‘descriptive type’ and ‘non-descriptive type’. The real difference, in my opinion, should be found in the fact whether the answers to the asked questions are required to be objectively verified or not. Thus if the answer to a question, in the examination, is required to be given in descriptive form but the contents of the answer have to be only some particular book material, then despite being the ‘descriptive type’ answer, this question is not a ‘subjective type’ question. This is, in fact an ‘objective type’ question because the contents of the answer are to be ‘objectively verified’ in this case. And the ‘objective evidence’ is that particular book material which has been required to be re-produced by this ‘objective type’ question. The actual book material, in this case, is the ‘external object’, knowable to everyone, and is the required standard for the contents of the answers to the ‘objective type’ question. If the contents of the answers are the same to that book material then it means that the answer is 100% accurate. It follows that rote-based theoretical (i.e. descriptive) type questions can be considered to be an extreme form of ‘objective type’ questions. For example, consider a pure rote-based question that requires a description of whatever is written in lets say page number 110 of a particular book. Currently this type of question would be considered ‘subjective type’ by the examining bodies because the answer has to be in the form of ‘description’. Actually this is an ‘objective type’ question because the contents of the answer are required to be checked and ‘verified’ with the standard wording of page number 110 of that particular book. Actual contents of page number 110 are to be used as ‘external object’ which is also the ‘objective evidence’ of the ‘accurate’ answer to this type of question. Some real examples can also be given in this respect. For example if the ‘subjective type question paper’ on the subject of ‘Business Taxation’ asks such question as to ‘describe’ the deductible expenses from property income, it means that the ‘descriptive answer’ to such a question must have to be the same as is written in the relevant sections of the taxation laws. It also means that the ‘objective evidence’ for the accuracy of the answer to this question would also be those relevant sections of the taxation laws. Since the answer is required to be verified with the ‘objective evidence’, so this question, which is included in ‘subjective type question paper’, actually is an ‘objective type question’. Similarly, if another ‘subjective type question paper’ on the subject of ‘International Accounting Standards’ asks such question as to ‘describe’ the requirements of International Accounting Standard-1 (i.e. IAS-1) for the presentation of financial statements, it also means that the ‘descriptive answer’ to this question must have to be the same to whatever is mentioned in IAS-1 on this issue. And similarly, the ‘objective evidence’ for the accuracy of the answer to this question would be the actual contents of IAS-1 which are relevant to this issue. And since this answer is also required to be verified with the ‘objective evidence’, so this question that happened to be included in a ‘subjective type question paper’ is also an ‘objective type question’. We can conclude, out of this discussion that all those questions, the answers to whom are to be verified with the contents of specified objective evidence, are the ‘objective type questions’ irrespective of the fact that the answer is required to be given in descriptive or non-descriptive form. Thus if questions are such that non-descriptive answers are to be required to be verified with particular or specified ‘objective evidence’, these questions are also ‘objective type’ questions in this case. For example if an incomplete statement (i.e. fill in the blank) left space for the tax rate applicable to a particular type of income and that empty space is required to be filled by the students, in this case this ‘fill in the blanks’ type question is a valid objective type question because the tax rate specified by the students shall be verified against the actual tax rate which is mentioned in the relevant sections of taxation laws. This question is ‘objective type’ not because it is a ‘fill in the blanks’ type of question. It is ‘objective type’ because what would be filled by the students shall be verified for its accuracy against particular or specified ‘objective evidence’.

Subjective type examinations, on the other hand would ask such questions the answers to whom are not required to be verified against particular or specific ‘objective evidence’. It does not necessarily mean that the answers would have to be objectively non-verifiable. The only meaning is that there is no particular requirement that answers should match only with exact particular facts. If we ask question such as “mention the date on which Pakistan Resolution was passed”, or in another question, what were the contents of Quid-e-Azam’s speech on the occasion when Pakistan Resolution was passed” etc. These are the examples of objective type questions because correct answers have to match with specific and particular facts. But if we ask the question that “what was the role of Pakistan Resolution in the final stages of freedom movement?” this would be a ‘subjective type’ question because answer to this question cannot exactly match with any particular fact. But even in this case if this ‘role’ is mentioned in some textbook and the answer to the question is required to be given as per the ‘facts’ that are mentioned in that textbook, the question would become an ‘objective type’ question. However, if there is no such requirement, then this is a ‘subjective type question’. The question is ‘subjective type’ not because the answer is to be given in descriptive form. It is subjective type question because the answer is not to be verified against particular and specific ‘objective evidence’. The answer, however should be supported by necessary (i.e. not ‘specific’ or ‘particular’) objective facts and by other supporting reasons. In this way the contents of the answer are not confined to only particular source of information. Objective type questions, whether or not descriptive, are always rote-based in nature. Whereas, description oriented subjective type questions cannot be considered to be rote based. It is also important to note that subjective type questions may not always be theoretical or description oriented. Close ended questions having yes/no options can be considered to be subjective type if answers are required to be chosen on the basis of personal feelings or information of the students. For example “Nasir Kazimi was the greatest poet of 20th century – yes/ No”. This typical yes/ no type question is not objective type question but is a subjective type question because the choice of answer shall be based on the personal feelings of students and not on the basis of any objective evidence. Similarly ‘fill in the blanks’ and other non-descriptive types of questions can also be subjective type in similar way. Non-descriptive subjective type questions also cannot be rote-based in nature. So we can say that objective type examinations are always rote-based whereas subjective type examinations are not rote-based.

Objective type examinations seem to be just useless. Due to their rote-based nature, objective type examinations are difficult to rightly attempt in examination room. But outside the examination room, the relevant ‘objective evidence’ is accessible to the students. Having full access to that ‘particular source of information’ (which is also the objective evidence), all the questions can be rightly attempted. There seem to be little logical difference between rote-memorization and copying material from an open book. So we should consider that there is also little logical difference between solving objective type questions inside and outside the examination room. A perfect rote-memory which is used inside examination room shall give the same result as shall be given by copying material from the open book outside the examination room. A student who copied from open book outside the examination room cannot be said to be having less relevant knowledge than to the student who used his perfect rote-memory inside the examination room. The student, who copied from open book, is deficient only in rote-memory and not in knowledge. In fact, ability to rightly attempt objective type questions while the book is open makes that student more efficient in practical situations because he do not need to waste his time in first memorizing the stuff and then implementing the same in practical situation. He only need to read the stuff carefully in order to develop an overall understanding, then he can implement the (objective) stuff while keeping the book open before him. I can put my own example in this respect. I bought a book on ‘Java scripting’. I only read the first chapter thoroughly and carefully. The summery of the complete structure of the language was given in the first chapter. I did not bother to try to memorize any syntax or detailed rules of the language. But then I successfully developed various java script based websites. I wrote the syntax while the relevant chapters of the book were open before me. I did this within one-month period of time. If I tried to memorize all the rules and syntax, it would certainly have taken various years because it is too much difficult to memorize such syntax. It also means that preparation for the useless objective type examination can be more time consuming than the preparation for the useful practical application. It also means that the student who rightly attempts the objective type examination outside the examination room can be more efficient and able than the one who rightly attempt objective type examination inside the examination room, on the basis of rote-memory.

Following are further points:

Þ Good subjective type examination asks personal opinions on particular issues. Also can require quoting some objective evidences or other supporting reasons etc.

Þ Subjective type examination cannot be rote based. It can lead towards acquiring new knowledge. Expansion in knowledge is possible in subjective type examinations. Expansion in knowledge is not possible in objective type examinations.

Þ Since answers to subjective type questions cannot be found in any particular or single source of information, so there is no fear of copying material by students in examination rooms. Due to same reasons, it is not possible to solve subjective type examination outside examination room while keeping some book open.

Þ Subjective type thesis work is the best subjective assignment. This activity needs to be promoted. In fact this activity can replace all types of written examinations.

Þ Objective type examinations cannot check conclusion drawing ability – it is possible only in subjective type examinations. So idea generation ability also cannot be checked in objective type examination.

Þ Case analysis (theoretical) is only objective type examination which also can measure analytical + conclusions drawing ability. i.e. case analysis can be objective in case if whatever to be concluded must have origins in the case information. Case analysis can also include subjective elements. In fact it is combination of both subjective and objective type etc.

Þ ‘Conceptual theoretical’ type examination is objective type in nature.

Posted in -Home-, Education & Examination System, Philosophy, Philosophy in Pakistan, Subjectivity/ Objectivity and Scientific Method, Theory of Knowledge | 8 Comments »

How to make Progress — and role of our (Pakistani) Education System:

Posted by khuram on August 20, 2006

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How to make Progress? And Role of Education System:

Progress means forward movement in the way of developments etc. But to move in forward direction requires that we must ‘think’ in forward direction. We cannot move in forward direction if we think in backward direction. In case we do not ‘think’ at all i.e. our thinking is ‘static’, again we cannot make progress in this way. To move forward, towards the way of development, (i.e. to make progress) is possible only when we ‘think’ in forward direction.

The direction of our ‘thinking’ depends on the way we handle any new information. The usual course of handling any new information can be described in terms of following formula:

Learning = New Information + Updating the previous understanding

As a result of the application of new information, we usually update our previous understanding on the issue. In this way we ‘learn’. Learning also can be defined as “up-dating the previous understanding structure as a result of the application of new information”.

But, above is only the usual way of handling new information. All people, in all cases do not handle new information in the above mentioned way. There are basically three approaches for handling new information; (i) Regressive Approach; which is ‘backward thinking’ approach, (ii) Static Approach; where people do not ‘think’ by themselves and; (iii) Progressive Approach; which is the ‘forward thinking’ approach and is necessary for making progress.

These three approaches have been briefly described below:

1- Regressive Approach:

Every new information is viewed in such a manner as to just confirm the authenticity of old information. In this way, the structure of old information is not changed or up-dated in this case. We have defined ‘learning’ to be the ‘updating’ of the structure of previous understanding as a result of the application of new information. In regressive approach, basically every effort is made to protect and safeguard the structure of previous understanding. New information is not properly considered and evaluated. Any information that seems to be contradictory to the structure of previous information (understanding) is just rejected without proper considering or evaluating it. Since there occurs no ‘up-dating’ of the structure of previous understanding, therefore ‘learning’ also does not occur in a regressive approach of handling any new information.

2- Static Approach:

As a result of the application of new information, the previous understanding (i.e. the structure of previous information) may be up-dated but the new (resulting) understanding is not evaluated for further outstanding questions and also no new conclusions are derived. In fact, the new information, in as it is form, is just integrated in the previous mindset (i.e. structure of understanding). The previous structure of understanding is up-dated in this way. Since the previous structure of understanding is up-dated, so ‘learning’ takes place under the ‘static approach’ of handling new information. But since no new conclusions are derived under this approach, so there is no or at least less scope for the generation of new ideas under this approach. Missing of ‘new ideas’ simply means that the total knowledge is ‘static’ i.e. up to the level where it was before the application of new information except in case where ‘new information’ comes from direct observation of a whole new thing. Only in this case there has occurred some expansion in the total knowledge and in all other cases, ‘learning’ has been occurred only in an individual’s mind and so in this way, nothing ‘new’ has been ‘learned’ by the humanity as a whole. In ‘static model’, usually, already existing knowledge is just transferred from one mind to other or others. To whom the knowledge is so transferred, does not draw his own conclusions. He does not draw his own conclusions because actually he does not ‘think’ by himself. Whatever has been told to him, he accepts it in as it is form without properly considering its detailed implications. He does not consider the detailed implications of the new information because he does not ‘think’ by himself. The ‘static approach’ is so termed also because the ‘thinking process’ is ‘static’ under this approach. In this approach, ‘learning’ does occur but the idea generations do not take place due to the fact that ‘self thinking’ is ‘static’ or absent in this case. The knowledge remains ‘static’ up to the level of ‘up-dated’ understanding until another new information has come from the external world. One who follows static approach is only a follower of progressive people. Whatever the progressive people shall tell him, he shall accept it in as it is manner. No doubt he is ‘moving’ in a ‘forward’ direction because after all ‘learning’ is present in this approach. The type of this ‘forward movement’, however, is not impressive at all. The progressive people actually are ‘running’ in forward direction and our ‘static person’ is just ‘crawling’ behind them. Logically he cannot overtake the progressive people. He also cannot go towards any new direction. He only has to follow the path which was already explored by the progressive people. Also he moved up to the level to which he has been ‘pulled’ by the rapid progress of the progressive people. So in this type of ‘non-impressive’ forward movement, our ‘static person’ is not moving by himself. Actually he is being ‘pulled’ by the progressive people. This approach is ‘static’ also because our ‘static person’ is not moving by himself. He is just being ‘pulled’.

3- Progressive approach:

In progressive approach, as a result of the application of new information, the previous understanding is up-dated. This up-dated ‘new’ understanding is further evaluated for the further outstanding questions. Answers to those outstanding questions are found out and new conclusions are drawn accordingly. Need for the new information is also recognized at various levels and efforts are made to get the required information. The new information so acquired again up-dates the previous understanding and the cycle continues. In this way the knowledge makes progress. Progressive approach not only is a continuous learning process, it has a greater potential of generating new ideas as well. The progressive person ‘thinks’ by himself. Since he ‘thinks’, so he draws his own conclusions. Many of such conclusions can come up to the definition of ‘new idea’. So there is greater potential for the generation of new ideas under the progressive approach. A progressive person is not ‘pulled’ by other progressive people. He, by himself seeks for new information from every potential source but he is not just the follower of those information sources. He draws his own conclusions and thus organizes his own knowledge. He makes improvements in knowledge. He is moving in forward direction in an impressive style. A static person was just crawling behind the fast moving progressive people. Our this progressive person is one of the fast moving persons. Whether or not he is actually behind other progressive persons does not matter at all. Since a progressive person draws his own conclusions, so in fact he is exploring an entirely new way. He is the leader of his own way. Actually all the progressive persons are leaders of their respective fields. Even if the progressive persons belong to same area of study, still then there is sharp difference between a progressive person and a static person. The static person is just crawling behind the progressive people and is being ‘pulled’ by those progressive people. In case of a progressive person who is actually moving behind other progressive people, even in this case, his position is far better than that of a static person. Unlike a static person he is not ‘crawling’ behind the progressive people. He is ‘running’ after the other running progressive people. Unlike a static person, he is not being ‘pulled’ by the progressive people, he is actually ‘running’ by himself. Since the static person is ‘crawling’ behind the running people, so logically he cannot overtake those progressive people. The progressive person in this case, on the other hand, is also ‘running’ behind the other running persons. He may have his speed greater than other progressive people because after all he is ‘running’ and not just ‘crawling’. So logically, the possibility exists that he may overtake other progressive persons in that particular field.

Education System:

Our formal education system basically is an example of ‘static model’. Students are taught only that material which is written in syllabus books by some progressive people. Students only have to go through that written material and only have to improve their understanding of the related concepts. But that ‘improved’ understanding is considered to be the ‘upper limit’ or the ‘upper boundary’ of all what students can be expected to do. Students are not required to further improve that ‘improved’ understanding with the help of their own ‘thinking and analysis’. Any further improvement is considered possible only in a situation when the same author has written a new edition of the same book. Only this ‘new edition’ is considered to be the sole source of any kind of ‘further’ improvement in the understanding level.

In this way, what a progressive person has done, the students have to follow it. Students are required to ‘crawl’ behind that progressive person. Students (and many teachers also) remain static up to that level to which they have been ‘pulled’ by the progressive people. By themselves, students cannot (also not expected to and also not required to) go beyond.

Students are evaluated only for their ‘improved’ understanding level and it is still irrelevant to consider that if they are able to practically apply that ‘improved’ understanding or not. Students actually are bound to remain unable to practically apply their better understanding level because ‘practical approach’ is missing in this kind of ‘static’ understanding ‘improvement’ model.

Students themselves do not analyze or evaluate what is written in the syllabus books. They view the written text only from a single angle. Practical situations always require analysis of situation from maximum possible angles. Since students do not do that, they remain unable to handle the practical situations.

Students only have to ‘follow’ the progressive people so they are bound to remain behind those progressive people. Whatever ‘milestone’ they have covered, in fact has already been left behind by those progressive people. The situation is the worst in the case of static minded teachers. In fact static students are still in a better position than to the one which is held by the static minded teachers. Students are ‘improving’ their understanding. They go to next class and ‘further improve’ their understanding. But the static minded teachers – they actually, even are not ‘improving’ their understanding. They are just teaching the same material which was already known to them. They are just teaching the same material over and over again and from year to year. Since they are required to teach the ‘same’ material under this education system, so actually they are not in need to generate any new ideas in the related subject. So the static minded teachers are not even doing what is being done by the static students because students after all, are improving their understanding level from year to year but these teachers are at the same level of understanding for the most part of their respective careers.

Suggestions for improvement:

The situation can be improved and this static education system can be transformed into a better progressive system. Following are the necessary points or steps that are required for this purpose.

i. Class room should not be only lecture based. There should mainly be formal discussion activities in the class rooms. Every student should be required to give his/ her opinion on the topic. He/ she also should be required to identify further necessary areas of investigation in the current topic.

ii. There should be discussion groups who can choose different topics for the discussion.

iii. Evaluation of students should be based on their participation level and their performance in the discussion activities.

iv. For every discussion topic, all students should be required to write down their own analysis, opinions and conclusions in the form of thesis.

v. However, half the class time can be devoted to lectures also.

vi. Written examination system must have to be thoroughly changed. Only those subjects or topics should be evaluated in written examination which otherwise cannot be evaluated. Even in such conditions, written examination must have to be analytical oriented i.e. not just descriptive or calculation oriented.

Progressive information handling approach actually is simple and easy as compare to the static approach. In the static approach, one has to go through all the contents of, lets say, syllabus books because the maximum goal in this approach is to get satisfactory understanding of all the contents of that knowledge which is already available in those syllabus books. To acquire the understanding of all the contents of syllabus books, using the static approach is a tedious task. With relatively more effort, the maximum result is only a ‘satisfactory’ understanding of the already existing knowledge.

In the progressive approach, on the other hand, the progressive person only has to choose the issue or topic which is the most interesting for him. Then he has to analyze all its related aspects. He has to mentally organize all the related information in a proper, meaningful and in a systematic and consistent manner. For a progressive person, it is not difficult at all to choose the issue or topic for his analytical activities. Progressive person is the one who ‘thinks’ by himself. In this way, the most ‘interesting’ subject or topic for this person would be that issue or subject etc. about which he ‘thinks’ in his spare time. Under this approach, since the progressive person has to choose that subject or topic, for his analytical activities, which happened to be the most interesting subject for him and since the most interesting subject for him is that one about which he already ‘thinks’ in his spare time so in this way he would choose the subject, for his analytical activities, about which he already ‘thinks’ in his spare time. As a result, this progressive person would acquire a definite purpose and a proper line of action for himself. Having a definite purpose in his mind, he himself shall search for maximum information about the subject or issue from whatever sources of information that shall include not only the syllabus books on the subject but shall include other non-syllabus sources of information that would include direct observations as well. In this way, he may has to go through all the contents of those syllabus books along with also consulting the non-syllabus sources of information. He also has to generate new ideas about the topic/ issue. The successful search of the information from all the available sources of information shall result in ‘linear expansion in knowledge’ whereas the new ideas shall result in ‘parallel expansion in knowledge’. He also has to critically analyze the issue which shall result in ‘improvement’ in knowledge because such critical analysis shall ‘improve’ the ‘accuracy level’ of knowledge on the issue.

The above mentioned activities apparently may seem to be more tedious than to that of the static approach, but the fact is opposite. Since the person who is doing all the above mentioned things for the sake of a ‘definite purpose’ i.e. analysis of issue/ topic/ subject etc. for which he is personally interested, so he shall take all these activities lightly. He has a definite purpose and a proper line of action. He does not have to memorize/ understand all the boring and un-interesting topics of syllabus books though he might has to go through even more new information materials as may be offered by any set of syllabus, for the performance of his analytical activities.

It has been mentioned in this discussion that the progressive person, first chooses a subject of interest and then start analyzing various aspects of that ‘interesting’ subject. It may seem that this progressive person shall keep himself confined up to the search and positive responsiveness towards only those information sources that are directly related to his own area of interest. This may be true as for as the so called ‘professionalism’ is concerned but this, however is not true in the case of a progressive person. Progressive approach is different or rather opposite to this so called ‘professionalism’. In this professionalism, efforts are made to get expertise/ specialization in only one field of study through reading/ analyzing only those subjects that are directly related to the main field of study. Subjects having no direct link/ relationship with the main field of study are considered to be ‘irrelevant’. Study/ analysis of ‘irrelevant’ subjects is avoided because it is considered just useless for the achievement of the main objective, which is to get expertise or specialization in only one field of study. In this way these ‘professionals’ willingly keep themselves limited within the framework of their area of ‘specialization’.

As previously has been stated that the progressive person not only has to get maximum possible information on the topic, he also has to generate new ideas as well. In this way, he actually has to make ‘improvements’ and ‘expansions’ in knowledge. This objective is possible to achieve if his approach is compatible with the optimum functioning system of human mind. For the optimum functioning, human mind can accommodate any amount of information whether relevant or irrelevant provided that too much burden of un-necessary memorization of the ‘material objective information’ is avoided. This fact has been explained in another section of this thesis. Idea generation process does not require ‘material objective information’ as its input but idea generation process shall function at optimum level if more and more information, whether relevant or irrelevant to the main subject, is continuously integrated in the mindset. For the optimum functioning of the idea generation process, it is only the ‘material objective information’ which is not used as input but more and more ‘abstract objective or subjective information’ however is compulsorily required irrespective of the fact that it has any direct relation with the main subject/ issue or not. Since a progressive person, unlike a ‘professional’, also has to generate new ideas and since the optimum functioning of the idea generation process requires continuous additions of more and more, relevant or irrelevant information except only un-necessary (i.e. irrelevant) ‘material objective information’, so in order to generate more new ideas, the progressive person shall not confine himself in getting only the ‘relevant’ information. He would be requiring ‘irrelevant (abstract) information’ also for the generation of more new ideas.

Human mind’s working principle is the ‘identification’ of similarities and associations between various sets of information and then manipulating those ‘identified’ similar or associated sets of information in a way which ultimately results in the formation of ‘knowledge’. We know that the concepts of ‘similarity’ and ‘association’ do not have any rigid meanings. Human mind is able to identify (or detect) ‘similarities’ and ‘associations’ even in those sets of information that belong to totally different or even opposite fields of study. Thus we are able to detect similarities and associations in those two sets of information, let’s say, one of which belongs to the study of Ethics and the other belongs to the study of Mechanics. Now consider a person who is a ‘professional’ in the field of Mechanics and being a ‘professional’, he considers the study of Ethics to be useless for him because the study of Ethics would be ‘irrelevant’ to his profession. In this case, since this ‘professional’ shall not study Ethics so he shall remain unable to identify that ‘similarity’ or ‘association’ which exists between the contents of Mechanics and Ethics. Since this ‘professional’ does not identify the similarity (or association) between different sets of information so no manipulation operation can be performed by his mind because mind can perform manipulation operations only on ‘identified’ similar or associated sets of information. Since the ultimate result of the manipulation operations by the mind on the ‘identified’ similar or associated sets of information would have to be the formation of particular ‘knowledge’, so this ultimate result shall not be taken by this professional because in this case no such manipulation operation has been performed by the mind due to his non-identification of existing similarity or association between the contents of Mechanics and Ethics. In this way this ‘professional’ shall remain unable to conceive that new idea (most probably this new idea would have to be related to his own area of study) which was possible to be conceived by him if he did not avoid studying Ethics. As a result, this ‘professional’ actually would be acquiring expertise/ specialization only in already existing theories of his subject and he would not actually be further identifying/ exploring more new issues related to his own subject.

The task before the progressive person is not just to get expertise only in the already existing theories of his subject. The task before him is to move forward. To move forward, by himself, the progressive person has to look forward, beyond the boundary limits of already existing theories. He has to identify more new issues so that he may perform analysis of those newly identified issues. Proper analysis of those new issues is possible to do if the progressive person regularly conceives/ generates new ideas. As previously has been stated that optimum functioning of the idea generation process requires continuous additions of more and more, relevant or irrelevant information except only un-necessary (i.e. irrelevant) ‘material objective information’. But only this continuous addition of more and more information of every sort alone cannot stimulate the idea generation process to function at optimum level. Idea generation process can be stimulated for its optimum performance by first having outstanding issues/ problems/ questions etc. in mind and then by regular and continuous acquisition of more and more, relevant or irrelevant information. Here, it should be noted that most of the times, it shall be the acquisition of that ‘irrelevant’ information that would help in identifying new issues/ problems/ questions relating to the main subject of interest as has been explained in the previously stated example where the professional in the field of Mechanics would possibly become able to find new issues in the subject of Mechanics just if he did not avoid studying Ethics. So the proper sequence of all this process identified here is that first the progressive person shall choose a subject of interest. Then he shall engage himself in acquiring more and more, relevant or irrelevant information. The acquisition of the ‘relevant’ information shall result in ‘linear expansion in knowledge’. The acquisition of ‘irrelevant’ new information, on the other hand, shall help him in the identification of new issues/ problems/ questions etc. relating to the main subject of interest. By keeping these outstanding issues/ problems/ questions in mind, the progressive person shall continue to engage himself in acquiring of still more and more, relevant or irrelevant information. Now at this time, he would be fulfilling both the essential requirements of the optimum functioning of the idea generation process which are (i) presence of outstanding issues/ problems/ questions etc. in mind; and (ii) regular and continuous acquisition of more and more, relevant or irrelevant information. The new ideas that shall be resulting due to the ‘optimum functioning’ of the idea generation process in this way would be having the basis, the important component of which was that newly acquired ‘irrelevant’ information. In this way, the acquisition of ‘irrelevant’ new information shall ultimately result in ‘parallel expansion in knowledge’.

We know that idea generation process basically is an analogical process. It means that it is not in the best interest of a person, who really wants expansions in his knowledge, to keep himself confined to the study of only one subject/ issue even if his main objective is to get expertise/ specialization in only that subject because if he studies other subjects also, he in this way, possibly can expand his knowledge about the main subject/ topic just by making analogies with even ‘irrelevant’ topics. It means that more and more general knowledge can help in making him more and more specialist in any particular field, which usually has to be his own subject of interest. To become more specialist in his own subject of interest by adopting this strategy is possible when that person is acquiring more and more general knowledge while keeping the outstanding issues/ problems/ questions of his own subject of interest in mind. If the person studies only one topic, he expands his knowledge only in linear mode. But if he studies more and more topics/ subjects, he is expanding his knowledge about the main subject of interest in both linear as well as in parallel mode. In linear mode also because the apparently irrelevant topic may have direct connections or relations with the main subject of interest. And in parallel mode also because by having more diverse sets of information in mind, he becomes able to draw more valid analogical inferences.

We can conclude, on the basis of above discussion that progressive approach may prove to be more time consuming than to the static approach but this progressive approach, however is not tedious. Progressive approach offers more comprehensive results than can be offered by the static approach. Progressive person not only forms new knowledge, he also gets better, clear and more transparent level of understanding. That much transparent level of understanding is not possible to get in the static approach because in the static approach, analytical activities are missing. Only self analytical activities can give a better understanding level.

We have seen previously that the progressive person has a definite purpose and a proper line of action for him. The ‘definite purpose’ is to move forward, beyond the boundary limits of already existing theories and the ‘line of action’ is to make expansions and improvements in his overall knowledge with particular emphasis on the main subject of interest, first by identifying new outstanding issues/ problems/ questions relating to main subject of interest and then by continuously acquiring of more and more, relevant or irrelevant information, and finally by doing analysis of the information so acquired, as well as of those new ideas that shall be conceived by him during all these processes. ‘To move forward’ also have another sense and this is continuous ‘upward shift’ in the ‘overall understanding’ and ‘level of abilities’. Up-grades in the ‘overall understanding’, under progressive approach is relatively a routine matter because progressive approach is a continuous learning process and the process of learning involves up-grades in the overall understanding. Whereas the ‘upward shift in the level of abilities’ has specific meanings in this context. As we already have identified that the task before the progressive person is to move forward. He has to move forward, not only beyond the boundary limits of already existing theories but also beyond the limits of his own maximum abilities. But can a person really go beyond his own maximum abilities? The answer to this important question would be No, if asked from us and we are to answer the question while keeping in view the real implications of the static education system. Under this static education system if a student remains unable, even in some case – due to certain un-avoidable reasons, to get passing marks in the examinations, he would not be allowed to take admission in the next class even in case where courses offered for study in the next class happen to be relatively easier and more interesting for him than to that of the previous class. In this way that student would be considered, by this static education system, to be not able to do such a task which actually be at much below the level of his maximum abilities. The actual problem with this static education system is that this system cannot identify the levels of students’ abilities and so cannot take any effective steps for the improvements in those levels. This system only can do whatever is more convenient to do. It is quite easy to devise a rigid syllabus, then to teach only the syllabus subjects to all the students, then to force all the students to get themselves familiar (only) with the contents of those subjects and then making ‘assessments’ about the levels of students’ abilities on the basis of such types of examinations which are quite easy to conduct and whose purpose is only to check the compliance of students’ understanding with those syllabus contents. In this way if the ‘level of abilities’ in case of a student is found to be ‘in compliance with’ the syllabus requirements, then he would be considered to be able to go to next class. Being ‘able’ to go to next class would be considered to be equivalent to the ‘upward shift in the level of abilities’ of that student, under this static education system. In this way the answer to the question that whether a person can go beyond his own maximum abilities or not would be positively answered by this education system itself.

In my opinion, the real answer to the question that whether a person can go beyond his own maximum abilities or not, would be yes but not in that sense in which this question is ‘positively’ answered by the education system. A person can really go beyond his own maximum abilities if he actually achieves his own maximum level. To become able to go beyond his own maximum abilities, by a person, may not make proper sense at first instance. But to become able to achieve his own maximum level by that person does make proper sense. A person can achieve his own maximum level if he successfully performs that task/ activity etc. such that to perform that task/ activity was possible only if he would have applied his maximum effort and ability. Once this maximum level is achieved, now onward it is no more the ‘level of maximum ability’ of that person. Now onward, the ‘level of maximum ability’ of that person would be located somewhere at a higher level than before. That person, as a result of this ‘upward shift’ in his ‘level of maximum ability’, becomes able to perform such a task/ activity which was impossible to be performed by him previously when his relatively lower level of ‘maximum ability’ could not let him perform ‘higher level’ tasks or activities. Now when he is at a ‘higher level of maximum ability’, some of those ‘higher level’ tasks/ activities are no more at ‘higher level’ for him. And obviously there shall still be infinite number and kinds of those tasks/ activities which would still be beyond the scope of this new and improved level of abilities. Now again when this person shall ‘achieve’ his new ‘maximum level’, he would become able to perform still ‘higher level’ tasks/ activities and this cycle shall continue in this way. A point, here, needs to be clarified. It has been stated that after when a person ‘achieves’ his own maximum level, that person as a result becomes able to perform those tasks/ activities etc. which were impossible to be performed by him previously. This point actually does not give any such meanings as for example before when a syllabus book was not formally taught by the teacher, it was ‘impossible’ for students to understand the contents of book. We earlier stated that ‘up-ward shifts in the level of abilities’ have specific meanings in this context. In this example, if we keep ‘specific’ meanings of ‘up-ward shift in the level of abilities’ in mind, we shall not conclude that before when particular syllabus book was not formally taught by the teacher, it was ‘impossible’ for the students to understand the contents of that book. By keeping the ‘specific’ meanings in mind, our conclusion would be that it was within the range of normal abilities of students that if taught by a teacher, they were able to understand the contents of that book. So if students understand some new syllabus contents in this way they actually do not cross their ‘level of maximum ability’. The maximum level for them is still at the same point where it was located previously.

But what is that ‘specific’ meaning of ‘upward shift in the maximum ability’? First of all we should clarify that we are considering here, only the mental abilities and we are not addressing the issue of improvements in ‘physical’ abilities of persons. By the term ‘mental abilities’ we mean such abilities of persons as ability to understand new and strange things/ situations, ability to handle and solve new and puzzling problems/ situations, ability to generate more complex new ideas and/ or to formulate new theories etc. Keeping in view the issue of improvements in these types of abilities which are related to mind’s performance, the meaning of ‘upward shift in the maximum ability’ can be considered to be like as to become able to understand those things/ situations, or to become able to handle and solve those problems/ situations, or to become able to generate more complex new ideas, and/ or to become able to formulate new theories such that previously it was out side the scope of maximum ability of the person to perform any of these tasks. Previously the person, in this case was not able to perform any of the above mentioned tasks. But now if he has become able to perform any of these tasks, then it means that actually he has crossed his previous level of maximum ability which also means that there has occurred ‘upward shift in the maximum ability’ in case of this person.

Thus in the case of example given in the previous paragraph, lets say that person first successfully handles a complicated issue such that to handle that issue was possible by him only if he applied his maximum efforts and skills. Before handling the issue, that person was in a state of doubt. He was not fully confident that he could successfully accomplish the task. If he did not apply his maximum effort and ability in order to accomplish the task, he would still remain in state of doubt in the possibility of successful accomplishment of that task by him. The state of doubt shall continue and the person shall remain in trap of his already existing vision. But if he apply his maximum efforts and in this way brings himself out of the trap of his previous limited vision, that person as a result would get a new broader vision about his next objectives. Those next objectives were outside the scope of his previous limited vision. Previous vision was limited because its corresponding objectives were still un-accomplished. Now when previous objectives have been accomplished the person’s vision has been broadened due to the fact that he has got such new objectives for him which were simply outside the scope of his previous level of maximum ability. Now the level of his maximum ability would be located at some higher level. His new maximum vision would be showing him those objectives such that to accomplish those objects would have been considered by the person just close to something impossible. He again would be in need to apply his (better) maximum ability in order to accomplish those near to impossible objectives. He would successfully accomplish those new objectives also when he would apply his new better maximum ability. He again would get still broader vision for him and some new objectives shall come within the range of new broader vision. In this way the person shall continue himself in a ‘forward’ movement.

So in order to move in forward direction in a real sense, a person should prefer to undertake to perform only those tasks which should appear to him close to impossible to be successfully accomplished by him. The tasks which may seem to be ‘close’ to the impossibility actually are not quite impossible to do. Such tasks can possibly be performed provided the person uses his maximum effort and skill in order to accomplish those tasks. If the person continues to engage himself in the performance of just routine type of tasks such as those which are normally assigned to students by the static education system, he shall continue to remain at the same level of his maximum ability. He would be having his vision static and fixed at a particular level. He shall not undertake to accomplish the maximum possible objectives so those objectives may remain ‘close to impossible’ throughout his career.

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