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314. Academic Excellence

In the late 50's, newspapers began to publish news of 100% passes in SSLC. The headmaster of a famous school in Mayiladuthurai (then known as Mayavaram) said, "My school never got less than 100% for long. Now a days it gets into the news. In my school no student secures less than 60% in any subject. It is a different story with the schools that barely enter into the 100% pass qualification." Students graduating from famous colleges used to speak of their professors who attained fame even outside the country. They were the star performers. Institutions that excelled others, apart from enjoying the services of men of high academic attainments, took care to see the lowest member of the faculty met certain high criteria. Once there was an English scholar in Oxford, Spooner, who used to mix up his words. Instead of a 'well-oiled bicycle' he used to say 'well boiled icicle'. Of course it was not a deficiency of scholarship, but a lisp in speech.

Toynbee was an historian known to have studied the philosophy of history. Students of honours sometimes used to study his works as classics. There was a Reader in History of a famous university who had taught that course for ten years.  At the end he complained to his professor, "Sir, I fail to comprehend what Arnold J. Toynbee writes." The professor was an authority on South Indian history. He smiled and asked, "What were you doing in the class for ten years?" This was in the early sixties. Indian scholarship of yore had set a very high minimum for its scholars. It was exacting and rigorous. No guru will pass the sishya if he has not risen to the occasion. It is true that the Indian scholar rose to dizzy heights. It was equally true that the entire profession maintained a very high minimum as a hallmark of scholarship.

Those were the days when the select few that could be counted on the fingers took to education. Standards can be maintained when you select your candidates, not when education is open to all. Quantitative expansion rules out the possibility of qualitative achievements. When the energizing force is the spirit and not the mind, the highest possible attainment becomes the lowest standard. This is so because the Spirit is equal all over its territory. It is an excellence not yet tried in any field in any country, but it is there as a goal for one to aim at.


Para 1, Line 2, Mayavaran -

Para 1, Line 2, Mayavaran - Mayavaram








story | by Dr. Radut