- Introduction: the age of ideals
- Essentials of an ideal college: assets and equipment: situation: routine: class arrangement: extra-academic pursuits: academic atmosphere
Ours is an age of ideals. To seek to achieve perfection in every sphere of life is the order of the day. As in politics, we have been striving to establish an ideal form of Government, so in education, there is an unremitting endeavor to introduce an ideal pattern of instruction. The concept of ideal college is a necessary outcome of this endeavor because ideal institutions alone can carry out a plan of an ideal education.
The question of an ideal college is inseparable from the question of the ends of education. Since education is primarily concerned with the acquisition of knowledge, it is said that the supreme purpose of education is to help the flowering of the mind” and “the creation of finer human hunger” . This view of education is, however, correct only in part because it tends to disregard the role of the body in the acquisition of knowledge. Since it is undeniable that the mind, however keen and powerful, cannot function properly in the absence of a reasonably healthy body, any sound plan of education must include the harmonious development of the intellectual and physical faculties of the students. To this must also be added the inculcations of morals virtues in the pupils without which education is of no real worth. Considered in this context, an ideal college is that institution which, in course of its instruction, provides adequate facilities for the intellectual enrichment, physical well-being and moral elevation of the students. To achieve these ends, an ideal college needs certain assets and equipment which are discussed below.
The first indispensable asset of an ideal college, in fact, of any college worth the name, is a learned staff of teachers, quite sufficient in number for each subject. The teaching staff must be so ‘handsomely paid and provided with other amenities of life that they may find sufficient incentive to work with single-minded devotion. They also must possess a high standard of character which their students may, and are apt to, imitate and emulate. The next important conditions are a sizeable building, with spacious, airy and lighted rooms, a rich library with an attached reading room, a well-equipped laboratory, a standard common room, a well-furnished gymnasium, and an extensive playground.
The situation of the college is of great importance. An ideal college must, of necessity, be located in or about a town where alone the students can avail themselves of all the facilities of modern life which they need to acquire an up-to-date education. But to avoid the noise and bustle of urban society and to ensure a placid environment,” which is essential for the undisturbed prosecution of studies, the college should be situated in a quiet locality away from the busy and noisy areas of the town. Care must, however, be taken that students residing in all parts of the town and its suburbs may attend the college without any difficulty. To that end, an ideal college should have its own bus service.
As the primary function of an ideal college is to meet in full the academic needs of the students, that is, to train them up in their respective courses of study so well that they may easily get through the examinations, the importance of a balanced routine of classes can never be over-estimated. Regular lecture classes, supplemented by a network of tutorial!! and demonstration lessons, should be held daily. The routine must, however, provide for enough of leisure during which the teachers may rest and prepare for next classes and the students may read and recreate in the common room and the library. Rational plants of academic instruction must always eliminate all elements of monotony, from both teaching and learning.
Equally important is the arrangement of classes. The maximum roll strength of a general class should be one hundred and fifty and that of a tutorial class, twenty. Tutorial groups should be made not on the seriality of rolls but on a consideration of merit and intelligence. To underline the importance of tutorial classes, class promotion, and selection for the University examinations should be made largely dependent on the students tutorial records.
To lend perfection to their academic attainments an ideal college must ensure that its students take part in a large variety of extra-academic activities. These include the holding of regular debates and speech competitions, the publication of magazines, the staging of theatricals and variety performances and the organization of exhibitions, picnics, and other outdoor pursuits.
No ideal college can ignore the fact that a splendid body alone is the abode of a healthy mind which the college strives to train and flower. A sound body again is the surest custodians of a high character. The authorities of an ideal college must, therefore, see that the students may take part in all kinds of games, sports, and physical exercises. This will not only build their bodies but also recreate their minds and train them in the practical lessons of discipline, co-operation, and comradeship. The college physician must examine the health of the students from time to time and advise them on treatment, diet, and exercise. As good food is essential for good health, the college should maintain a canteen where food will be prepared under the supervision of college authorities and served to the students at a cheap rate. Modern education being a strenuous affair, students and teachers both need healthy refreshments during the college hours to keep fit for work. If the college maintains a canteen, they can be saved from taking impure food from outside.
An ideal college must also provide for an elected Students’ Union, with its members charged with the management of various departments of the extra-academic life. This would enable the college to impart to the students practical training in administration and organization.
No scheme of ideal college would bear any fruit unless the college is blessed with a healthy academic atmosphere. This, again, is to be maintained by the co-operative endeavor of the authorities and the students. No less important also is the existence of a close and cordial relation between the staff and the students. Both inside and outside the class the teacher should be kind and helpful to the students. Similarly, the students, in their turn must be dutiful, obedient and decent in their behavior towards the teachers as also among themselves. The college I contemplate must reflect a disciplined family, governed by mutual respect, helpfulness, and tolerances. It is only in such a free and healthy atmosphere that the creative impulse of the mind of both the student and the teacher may receive proper means of response.In fine, the issue of an ideal college is a controversial one. The standard of ideality? again varies from country to country.
What is an ideal institution in a poor Asian country would fall for short of the standard set for the same in a rich country like the USA While, therefore, formulating my scheme of ideality, I have kept in view that economic condition of our people. Hence I have discarded the idea of any residential institution like the “Viswabharai” in India. In my opinion, such institutions can serve only a few the privileged few who are rich enough to place their sons and daughters in boarding houses. The ideal college which I have outlined above shall be one which will be within the easy reach of all classes of our people. And I feel that the current need of Pakistan is ideal colleges like the one I have contemplated above and these will suffice to turnout? better and more useful citizens of the state.
There is hope from the sea, but none from the grave.