Chandigarh, March 25 ,The Department of History is organizing a Diamond Jubilee Workshop on Problems and Perspectives of History Teaching (24-26 March 2008).While addressing the Workshop of College and University Teachers in History, Prof. R.C. Sobti, Vice-Chancellor, Panjab University,maintained that the quality of education, and the success of any educational programme, is linked to the quality of the teachers which in turn depended on the quality of training and orientations they receive before and during service. The performance of a teacher is the most crucial input in the field of education. They are responsible for interpreting and implementing the syllabi. Prof. R.C. Sobti advised the teachers to devise an approach that integrates advancements in knowledge with the requisite pedagogic tools and appropriate methods of evaluation.Prof. Satish Chandra, an eminent historian and a former Chairman of the UGC; addressing the Problems and Perspective of History Teaching cautioned the teachers of History against the challenges of globalization. He stressed that History cannot be neglected as there was an intricate link between the past, present and future. He stressed upon the study of the past society in its entirety in its political, social, economic and cultural aspects- and in terms of regional and local variations for which local and literary sources are of crucial importance.Prof. Narayani Gupta of the Jamia Millia Islamia urged the teachers to take into account the linkages of History with social sciences as well as with art, literature and philosophy, but History should not be identified exclusively with or subsumed under the social sciences. She emphasized that the students be given hands on experience and be taught to interpret the sources to enhance their intellectual abilities. She also suggested that the neglected fields like gender, military history, art, archaeology, music and films should find a place in the history syllabi.Speaking on the creative reading of sources, Professor J.S. Grewal, the former Vice-Chancellor of GND University showed how the study of administrative and judicial documents and of the creative and religious literature led to several interesting discoveries: the Mughal rulers, including Aurangzeb, gave charitable religious grants to non-Muslims; the Sikh rulers maintained the Qazi’scourts, using the Shariat Law, and that more non-Muslims resorted to these than Muslims; the nature of the polity under theearly Sikh rulers and Ranjit Singh was monarchical; and that the words ‘Misldari System’carried no meaning if seen in the light of the evidence from contemporary sources. Prof. Grewalgave several more examples from his own researches to illustrate how creative reading of sources could lead to fresh interpretations.
Prof. Anil Sethi from the NCERT, New Delhi talked on ‘Practising the Craft: Doing History in School, College and University.’- Apart fromhandling evidence and querying primary sources, “Doing History” refers to defining historical categories, assessing viewpoints and distinguishing between cognate concepts. Prof. Sethi showed how the NCERT’s books introduce students to the strengths and limitation of different types of sources. He also commented on different aspects of the historians’ craft-the interplay but evidence, facts, argument, narrative, taxonomies and perspective and on the manner in which we may impart this craft to young people in our schools and college. He argued that the NCERT’ s books represent the voices of various marginalized groups-dalits, women, tribals and peasants. He passionately argued for hetroglossia-allowing the varied and opposing voices of the dead (and the alive) to be heard and to be placed in the same text. He advocated that this should apply as much to College-and-University level teaching of history.
Prof. Kumkum Roy, from the Centre for Historical Studies, JNU, New Delhi emphasized two principles of the National Curriculum Framework of the NCERT, New Delhi regarding curricular concerns: democratic values and respect for diversity. Several pedagogical strategies suggested by Prof. Roy included building on the constructivist approach; encouragement for comparisons between past and present; use of projects in which learners would develop skills of presentation; flexibility in terms of schedules; to create an inclusive classroom environment; to encourage questions, debates and discussions in classrooms and also the need to evolve a continuous system of evaluation. She also referred to strategies regarding issues of content which included reducing the burden of information and ensuring variety to give a sense of diversity of historical processes.