Mangaluru: Periodic faculty training programmes are of immense value in helping teachers to understand the changing trends in teaching and society at large, imbibing new skills and growing personally and professionally, thereby improving the quality of education.
To meet these objectives the management of St Aloysius P U College organized a professional development programme for its staff members. Prominent experts facilitated the training sessions by providing professional assistance on key topics. The programme began with a devotional prayer song led by Ms Meghana Saldanha, Faculty of Arts.
Dr Norbert Lobo, Associate Professor of Economics at St Aloysius College (Autonomous) spoke on ‘National Education Policy 2020’. Ms Anasa, Department of French, welcomed the proficient speaker on the topic and presented him to the audience. Dr Norbert began with a brief history of education policies implemented after independence and also the process that went into the formation of the NEP 2020. He gave a detailed explanation of the changes in institutional structure, curriculum, pedagogy and the vision of the document.
Dr Norbert explained how the policy would divide the basic education system to 5+3+3+4 years instead of the existing 10+2 years. He explained how this policy proposes holistic and experiential learning for the students by removing the demarcation not only between curricular and extra-curricular but also between the existing conventional science, commerce and arts streams. He felt the policy is favourable to students in terms of choosing their curriculum across various streams and that the inclusion of skill-based programs such as vocational training, physical education, and sports within the curriculum will bring about a major transformation in the way education is imparted. The resource person also gave an overview of the proposals in NEP for higher education and research and the concepts of digitalization of evaluation through the Academic Bank of credit.
Dr Norbert summarized his talk with the Pros and Cons of the policy. He opined that implementation of the policy will increase government spending in education, provide flexibility in curriculum, remove rote learning, give a comprehensive evaluation of learning, bring in uniformity in the governance of public and private institutions and bring the education system on par with the one in US and Europe. However, he was also apprehensive on the proposed language policy, challenges in institutional restructuring and centralization of educational bodies. He also clarified several queries raised by the participants on the policy and its implications. On behalf of the gathering Mrs Vinitha Dsilva, Faculty of Mathematics thanked the expert on the NEP in providing the faculty with the details of the policy and the changes that would be implemented in the education system.
A session on ‘Emerging Social Realities’ was engaged by Dr Rita Noronha. Dr Rita has been a faculty for 38 years at Roshni Nilaya School of Social work and has been a part of various Social Service Drives. Ms Chandini Rao, Department of Commerce welcomed the resource person and introduced her to the gathering. Dr Rita Noronha began the session by interacting with the participants and suggested they give their reflections on the social issues that bother them the most.
Dr Rita summarized the responses and lamented the indifference or apathy shown by the vast majority towards the social ills. She gave the example of the recent report of the National Family Health Survey (NFHS) which states that 70 % of women did not condone domestic violence. Dr Rita gave a preview on the different aspects of social analysis, historical account of the evolution of humans traced their migration and how humans cannot claim to be natural natives of any region.
The resource person explained how social exclusion meant excluding people from ownership of resources, opportunities, knowledge, positions and from decision making against constitutional values. She then illustrated how women, Dalits, minorities, adolescents, transgender and the elderly are socially excluded on the basis of gender, sect, caste, age, physical ability and sexual preferences.
Dr Rita then went on to analyze the effects of social exclusion. On behalf of the participants Ms Verina Tauro, Faculty of English thanked the guest speaker for helping the staff to be aware of the social realities and be aware of their immense role in recognizing the potential of the students through social analysis.
Rev. Fr Pradeep Sequeira SJ, a seasoned Educationist, Administrator and Counselor took up an engaging session on ‘Being Empathetic with the Students’. Mrs Diana Mary Joseph, Department of Biology welcomed the resource person and presented Fr Pradeep’s pivotal contribution in several fields during his vast career of over five decades. Fr Pradeep began the session by explaining what empathy means and how it differs from sympathy. He pointed out that sympathy is to feel with the other, while empathy is to understand what the other feels and thus empathy is a cognitive feeling and whereas sympathy is just effective.
Fr Pradeep felt that being empathetic is a skill and needs to be practised consciously so that teachers could effectively deal with students especially when they are troubled and going through challenging phases. He said that empathy begins with listening, not just to the words spoken by a student but also to their gestures and their feelings in turn. Fr Pradeep said that a person who is troubled is not looking for advice, judgment, consolation or sympathy but are looking for understanding.
The resource person then illustrated how being empathetic can be helpful in reprimanding and confronting students on their unacceptable behaviour. He also shared various case studies to help the participants familiarize themselves with the value of empathy. Fr Pradeep summarized the session by receiving the feedback of the participants on the contents discussed. Mrs Dillen Veigas, Department of Chemistry, formally thanked Fr Pradeep for guiding the teachers in effective methods of communicating with students.
To sum up, the Staff Development Programme was an enriching experience for all the participants to enhance their ability in their quest for the holistic formation of students.