TRIBUTE: Quintessential Educationist Dr. B. Yashovarma
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TRIBUTE: Quintessential Educationist Dr. B. Yashovarma

June 8, 2022

Remembering his legacy to the education field

By Bhamy V. Shenoy

It is not an easy task to write an obituary to a quintessential educationist Dr. B. Yashovarma, who passed away at a relatively young age of 67 on May 22, 2022.

He has worn several hats during his life — Botany scientist producing a Ph.D dissertation on ‘Taxonomical and Ecological Study of Algae of Some Soils of Karnataka’; Principal of SDM College, Ujre from 1993 to 2015; Secretary of SDM Educational Society till his untimely demise; President of Mangalore University Principals Association; District Chairman of Rotary; National Joint Secretary, Bharatiya Jain Milan, Delhi; President, Belthangady Taluk Kannada Sahitya Parishat and many more.

Starting from 2010 till end of April this year, I had the good fortune to be in constant touch with him through e-mail. Last e-mail we shared was about three books — Global Warming, Hydrogen Revolution and Artificial Intelligence. I had suggested these three books which could be helpful to teachers and students at engineering colleges.

Though this was not his field, he had great interest to ensure good books should be made available to students and teachers. Over the years, each time I suggested some books he was appreciative of my efforts and asked the librarians to buy the books. It was in 2010, I first got introduced to him while promoting a new programme called “True Education” which I had developed at S V S College, Bantwal. He instinctively felt that his students would benefit from such a programme.

The objective of True Education programme was to (1) Ignite critical thinking in students, (2) Promote the reading of books and  (3) Take an interest in solving societal problems. These were the three missing elements in our current education system which Dr. Yashovarma always wanted to promote. He took every effort to introduce them in SDM College. First it was Dr. Udayachand and later Sooryanarayan Bhat helped Dr. Yashovarma to implement True Education.

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In addition, he also introduced two novel elements — asking students to write in a diary at least ten lines on any topic other than school subjects and having a mentoring programme by teachers by meeting with students and their parents every month. He also developed a novel strategy to ensure students spend at least some minimum amount of time in the library every week by installing a computer monitored system. Whenever I visited the SDM campus, it was amazing to see the library full of students. Dr. Yashovarma regularly received reports analysing the time spent by students in library. Such was his interest to encourage students to make use of the library.

To promote True Education, I had visited several Colleges in Mysuru, Dakshina Kannada and Udupi districts. Many managements and teachers readily admitted that it is an excellent programme and it would help  students. Professors of Regional College of Education in Mysuru praised it as a good pedagogical strategy to promote critical thinking. But for one College (Sarada Vilas Teachers College), no one took interest to implement the programme like SDM Ujre. This shows the interest and concern of Dr. Yashovarma to impart world class education and not just going after securing ranks or getting high percentage of students clearing the public exams. It is because of such efforts, SDM Ujre got the highest grading by NAAC in the State.

When the National Education Policy (NEP-2020) draft was discussed, Dr. Yashovarma took keen interest in getting ready to implement NEP in true spirit. It was as though he had been waiting all these years to implement excellent recommendations (autonomy to schools and teachers, less emphasis on rote driven examination system, emphasis on creative thinking, extra curricular activities, flexibility in choice of courses, etc.). In 2018, he organised a workshop for his teachers with the ambitious objective — to transform India’s rote learning system which was imposed by our colonial rulers to produce clerks. Workshop discussed how to change the current system to produce world class thinkers, scientists, philosophers, administrators, and managers to contribute to India’s sustainable development. This was precursor to NEP. When NEP was finally adapted, Dr. Yashovarma organised a seminar on how his institutions can contribute to its implementation in true spirit.

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Despite being the Secretary of SDME which has 56 institutions, he always was prompt in responding to e-mails and taking interest in any new idea or concept to improve educational standards. He is a perfect example of the aphorism, “Busy people always have the time to do the right things.” When he learnt about the new programmes started by Pratham Mysuru like “Parents as Teachers” or “Student Mentoring Programme,” he was ready to get details and keen to experiment in SDME institutions. He never suffered from the “disease” affecting several institutions of “not invented here” and was always ready to learn from others.

Being a scientist himself, Dr. Yashovarma was always looking for ideas to promote curiosity and inventiveness in young students. When he learned about a book, “Class: A Life-Changing Teacher, His World-Changing Kids and the Most Inventive Classroom in America,” he immediately ordered the book. Even before knowing about the Professor’s strategy to promote inventiveness, in his own schools, Dr. Yashovarma had created an eco-system to incubate new ideas by his students.

One way to pay tribute to Dr. Yashovarma and remember his significant contribution to education field is to have a memorial lecture by a distinguished speaker every year. Another way which is also equally befitting his ideals is to name some of the libraries in SDME institutions after him. He always looked forward to learn about the outstanding books to make them available to students.

Goodbye Dr. Yashovarma. We will miss your physical presence, while always remembering your humility, kindness and concern to help students.

ONE COMMENT ON THIS POST To “TRIBUTE: Quintessential Educationist Dr. B. Yashovarma”

  1. Gautam says:

    First RIP to this person who served the society so well.
    “t was in 2010, I first got introduced to him while promoting a new programme called “True Education” which I had developed at S V S College, Bantwal. He instinctively felt that his students would benefit from such a programme”
    Here goes Barmy Shenoy, dipping into education , besides his oft repeated expertise in oil technology , and rants about climate change and pollution wearing his many Makbal Topis to brag about his many faceted interests.
    Any education, for its own sake, can only be indulged by the rich, these days, as it does not promote job opportunities, which is essential in these hard times , when food on the table, and roof over head are essentials.
    Hence, humanities courses particularly those which promote critical thinking like philosophy for example, though soul-satisfying, and can be branded as true learning, do not wash in the jobs market place. India has not adopted the German and French models of higher education where humanity subjects are seamlessly merged with science /engineering/even medicine course pathways. India does not even have the American undergraduate curricula of liberal arts. The crave for IT subjects as a means of securing jobs, reigns supreme and everything else is displaced as a result. Hence, one finds IT techies narrowly interested in thinking in terms of program codes, procedures, data structures and the like, and missing the bigger picture even in their chosen IT horizon!. Those posters who are IT techies who brag about their involvement in cutting technologies-, in the Bay area sweat shops of the USA, are merely producing codes per prescribed order! Talk about ‘true education’ to them!! They will laugh at you!

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