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Old is not always Gold

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"An important objective of leadership is to assist those who are doing inadequately to perform well and to facilitate those who are doing well to do the exceptional."

By: Dr. Aasif Ali Naikoo
Education is pivotal and indispensable for progress. Nothing stands more important than it for any society to materialize its aspirations and dreams. Schools, colleges and universities are established to bring these dreams and aspirations to fruition. As such, these institutions deserve a lot of attention at all the levels including the tertiary level comprising Higher Educational Institutions HEIs.

Age should not be confused with wisdom and experience should not be passed for acumen. The debate of old versus young has remained a bone of contention for long and it continues to do so even today.

Higher educational institutions are assigned the task of carrying out the dissemination of information and the creation of new knowledge in the form of research. But there is a sad part of this tale often less-expressed and usually often-ignored.

At the very outset, let me make a very bold statement. I believe that higher education should do away with the trend of making the old professors the principals of degree colleges. I believe that young ones can hold the positions of principals better than those old intellectuals. It is science that after a certain age, our minds are not as capable to work or think as they should to bring out the desired creativity much-needed for progress and advancement. I fail to find them equipped enough to hold these positions.

If we believe that they can do better then we will remain in the same traditional era and it will become a deterrent in the way of educational development. The way these old professors behave, it seems they have become physically as well as mentally old and it becomes very difficult to communicate with them. The reason behind the decaying of higher education is the existence of these good-for-nothing policies. I reiterate that young ones can hold the authority in a much better way and they can examine the ground reality in a professional way. They can better gauge the need to uplift the status of education in degree colleges. We are living in the twentieth-century and we still believe ‘old is always gold’.

I opine and speak as a researcher and out of my experiences and this write-up is not an outcome of my lack of knowledge. I have observed these things very keenly during my interaction with different principals of Jammu and Kashmir. They lack interest and are living in a different world where they want to see themselves very superior to others and that too without making any significant contributions. During my duty hours, I have also observed that when a student approaches a principal with some issue or grievance but the same is not addressed as per his/her requirements.  This leads to the creation of an undesired and detrimental gap in the teaching learning environment between the teachers and the students.

Furthermore, it decreases the motivation level of students and discourages them from achieving the objective of education.

Leadership qualities play a significant role in the educational institutions. It has been rightly said that educational administrators should possess the qualities to control the educational environment which includes cooperation, affectionate attitude towards the subordinates and the students. When such kind of congenial atmosphere is provided in such institutions it will automatically help us to achieve the desired levels of quality in education. A lot of money is being wasted under the guise of construction because these principals remain stuck on their chairs and they never come to check whether the funds are being utilized in a proper way or not. A lot of money can be saved by judicious and if proper surveillance is being maintained but it needs a young team to keep such an eye on these malpractices.

To become a principal, one should be measured on leadership qualities and not on seniority. If the same existing policies remain in process, it will disrupt the quality of education.

The writer is Lecturer in Sociology

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