Dr. Raj Shree Dhar
Zero seems nothing, but is something, whereas Infinity seems something but is nothing. Being the two sides of a coin, they are once again on an outing, discussing problems, goals, plans, dreams of individuals on this planet. Ever-loving characters Zero and Infinity with lighted up faces and joyous hearts on an uphill walk in early morning, discuss about life, future of planet earth, human mind and the purpose of evaluation for new generation and so on.
Zero, while looking at black clouds that are celebrating upcoming new day, asks Infinity about the realization that there might be a way to know the world by principles, forces, laws of nature etc. but every life on this planet has untimely end and at the same time he stresses that the truth overcomes all darkness. Some worlds wander alone through the darkness of space while others are accompanied by several suns and moons. In this materialistic world, one must have a desire for self- realization; it is difficult for a person who is materialistic to understand the Absolute truth. This human form of life is a most valuable asset for living beings to utilize it for solving the problems of life.
Same moment, ironically Infinity starts her discussion and speaks about the excellence and the talent of upcoming generation, which is the need of this century for the prosperity and development of the planet and for that, apart from imparting the knowledge to the students, their assessment, tests, examination etc. are the basic needs through which they can see themselves as competent learners.
She continues her talk by sharing her ideas, like a good assessment plan, provides teachers with information about what students know and can do and therefore, is a roadmap for the students. The reason for the students to fear tests is because of the way it is held and is unnecessary complicated. There is a lot of memorization instead of recreation; it should be more play, discovery and discussion based as their goal is to become independent and be able to think of their own problems and their own solutions. It is time to bring the model of Nalanda and Takshila universities to combine research and teaching. We have to combine research and teaching so that students can learn where knowledge creation is taking place. Before assessing the students, it is necessary to know what kind of students we are assessing; we have to know their strengths, weaknesses, skills and the knowledge of the students for examining or assessing them.
The long term benefits can be determined by the students who attend all classes and tests and we have to see how they use the learned knowledge, skills or attitudes. Assessment is a test that can generate different outcomes, e.g. surveys, placement tests, skill tests, personality tests and can further improve quality. We can create different types of evaluations i.e. the final review of product like examinations, quizzes or assessments. Online assessments may also give an overview of students.
Zero listens and starts reciting some poetic lines that the robots who are going to control us and rule our lives. That is about creation and design of artificial intelligence(AI) that they will take the jobs of coming generations and will make them virtual slaves, and rule their thinking too and may help to plan the last years of life but tomorrow may be a different matter if AI will travel faster than light. Trends are emerging, biopic fever is increasing, we may hire people who can apologize on our behalf, and after 10 years there will be an upgraded life.
But at the same time we need to be more kind, compassionate and more humane to remove the pain of the human suffering that stem from injustice and inequality, at least we can become harmless persons for others. Human beings may boast about their creation of AI, power and influence but at the same time that can be snatched away within a fraction of a second due to natural disasters or human made wars.
Infinity again starts discussing her experience about the imparting of education which gives us the knowledge of the world around us and changes it into something better. It develops in us a perspective of looking at life. It helps us build opinions and have points of view on things in life. We have a duty to benefit and serve our society as best we can, and that includes how we prepare the next generation. After all, when we are no longer here, the world will belong to them. Our children are the next generation and we are passing on a legacy to them, so we must give careful consideration, therefore, to the quality of that legacy, how we raise our children and the values we instill in them. Assessment sits at the heart of the learning process, as it provides observable evidence of learning, determines student progress and demonstrates understanding of the curriculum. More broadly, it could be said that an institution, culture, or society depicts its conceptualization of learning and ideal future citizens by how it creates and uses assessment.
Zero with an amused expression describes that intelligence is the power to analyze things properly and knowledge refers to spirit and matter, academic knowledge pertains to matter i.e. material elements and bodily needs. The living entities are travelling from one planet to another in search of life, water and all material elements but no planet is free from untimely birth and death cycles. Economic development or supremacy over the world can be finished at any moment. I believe saints who are meditating in peace can definitely complete couple of centuries. Their nourishment derives from the finer energies of the air and sunlight and from the cosmic power that recharges their body. Family ties, plant based diet, social engagements, moderate exercise, walking may boost the life for non-saints so why to worry about materialistic things in life.
After they both continuously walked for 90 minutes, the black clouds changed into sunny day and it was hot. Here, they say goodbye to meet again on some other day with a fruitful topic and discussion.
(The author is Principal, Higher Education Department, J&K)
Dr. Raj Shree Dhar