A two day National Seminar commenced on 23rd February 2012 at Satguru Ram Singh Govt. Polytechnic College for Girls, Rishi Nagar Ludhiana amid the glittering presence of some of the finest intellectuals of the country. Engineer M.P. Singh, the honourable Principal of the host college welcomed the distinguished guests and faculty coming from various centres of learning in the country. In his befitting and inspiring inaugural address, Prof. Satya Prakash, eminent Professor of Physics Panjab University, Chandigarh and former Vice Chancellor of Jiwaji University, Gwalior talked of the vital importance of Science and Technology in national reconstruction. Calling upon over 300 young faculty from scientific-technical institutions as well as institutions of higher learning of the northern region present on the occasion. He dwelt at length on the current status of basic sciences being taught in the engineering colleges and asked the learned audience to ensure that scientific capabilities/ potentialities of our young budding engineers be nurtured with great care for a prosperous India in the years to come.
In her highly informative and interesting presentation on the Prof. P.K. Tulsi from NITTTR, Chandigarh dwelt a length on Teaching of Applied Sciences in Technical Institutions and highlighted some very important strategies to build relevance, improve effectiveness of teaching-learning and evaluation. She said that we must focus on the the strategies including teaching applied subjects in later years of programme, team teaching, use of examples, use of innovative approaches-demonstration, problem based learning, project based learning, cooperative learning, brainstorming etc., use of ICT in teaching learning, systematic evaluation of students’ performance, formation of subject groups, training of teachers in order to strengthen basic sciences in engineering disciplines.
Dr. Arbind Kumar Jha, a distinguished expert of constructivist pedagogy and critical thinker on issues of Science and Mathematics Education from R.B.S. College of Education, Rewari (Haryana) mesmerized the audience with his though provoking address on the topic ‘Emerging Paradigms of Pedagogy and their Implications for Basic Sciences in Engineering and Technology’.He called upon the teachers to focus on more fundamental issues in knowledge creation in the applied disciplines and said, ‘Whatever we as basic science teachers are – a theoretician or a practicenor is the result of our own epistemological belief system. If we keep on believing in the paradigm of behaviouristic teaching and learning, we will never be able to become a constructivist teacher – which is the need of the hour. Thus, first of all we all need to deconstruct our own epistemological belief system. This deconstruction requires a paradigm shift – from Behaviourism to Constructivism which is a holistic-realistic approach to teaching and learning and suits to the engineering and technological field of study. It is an epistemology, a learning or meaning-making theory, which offers an explanation of the nature of scientific knowledge and how human beings learn science’. The tenets of constructivism can be used, as per his views, as a powerful learning tool to be used to realize the various goals of constructivist pedagogical instructions by using suitable teaching strategies in our engineering and technological institutions.
In the post lunch session of the first day 12 paper presenters put forth their views in very interesting interaction and meaningful discussions were carried out to improve the teaching learning of basic sciences in technical colleges. Vote of thanks was presented by the young and energetic convener of the Seminar Dr. Major Singh Randhawa.
On the second day of the seminar on 24th o February 2012 one of the highly enthusiastic young Physicist from Bangalore, Dr. OSKS Sastry highlighted the innovative use of modern technology and computer simulation for creative teaching learning of basic sciences and physics in particular. He offered many constructive suggestions from the field of Education and Pedagogy to strengthen not only Basic Science but technical subjects also for enhancing the effectiveness of our young scientists and technocrats engineers. 25 papers were presented in three parallel sessions in the first technical sessions and the participants enjoyed the intellectual discussions during the seminar.
In the afternoon session, Prof. Arbind K Jha in his chairperson’s remarks exhorted the audience to inspire their students in excelling in their respective fields by using innovative methods of teaching learning. He called upon the distinguished guests and faculty to come forward in a collaborative adventure of creativity to strengthen basic sciences in engineering institutions throughout the country.
This two day highly gathering was a mega event by the technical institutions in the region to address the problems of teaching learning of basic sciences and mathematics.