'The Purpose of Life' with Venerable Geshe Lhakdor
The webinar unfolded as a captivating exchange between Geshe Lhakdor and the vibrant community of students and educators from Second Chance School and Ritinjali learning centres. The event seamlessly blended physical presence at Ritinjali’s Second Chance School with a vibrant online audience, featuring Geshe Lhakdor, a renowned Buddhist philosopher, as the focal point of a spirited dialogue.
Geshe Lhakdor was in conversation with a group of eminent individuals from the education field. During this exchange, Geshe-la shared insights and experiences acquired over decades in diverse roles as he deliberated on the topic, ‘Harmony of Head and Heart’.
ASSESSMENT: Valuing what matters
Pallavan Learning Systems’ webinar series this year is aptly termed, ‘On a Quest to Learn: A series on the evolving nature of one’s learning journey’. The second episode in the series was held on 7 September 2023 on the theme Assessment – Valuing What Matters. The focus of the second webinar, Assessment – Valuing What Matters, was to look at the evolving nature of assessment and gauge its effectiveness in helping people develop into persons of substance. The webinar delved into various modes of assessment and discuss their purpose and utility. More importantly, the webinar examined if we are assessing what we consider valuable, and analyse whether the process of assigning values needs to be reevaluated.
THE UNSEEN REVOLUTION: Technology, Education and Life
The webinar 'On a Quest to Learn: A series on the evolving nature of one’s learning journey’, discussed the impact of technology and artificial intelligence on education and society, addressing concerns about the potential risks and benefits. It emphasized the need for a balanced approach, where technology is seen as a tool to augment learning rather than replace it, and highlighted the importance of nurturing learners' social, emotional and scholastic development alongside technological advancements.
Guru Shishya Relationship
The event explored the Guru-Shishya relationship in Buddhism and compared it to the Western tradition, emphasizing the roles of the teacher in guiding learners towards growth, development and enlightenment. It discussed the evolving nature of the relationship due to technology, with platforms like YouTube and WhatsApp changing the mode of communication and knowledge transfer. The discussion also touched upon the interchangeability of roles, the importance of unlearning and relearning, and the need for a wholistic bond between the Guru and Shishya for a two-way learning process.
The Irrelevance of Formal Education: Do Degrees Matter?
The talk was conducted by Dr. Dinesh Singh, a Padmashri Awardee and the former Vice Chancellor of the University of Delhi. In this talk, Dr. Singh questioned the relevance of formal education and explored whether traditional degrees serve a true purpose. He shared examples of individuals who achieved success and recognition without formal qualifications, emphasizing the importance of self-discovery and finding one's own path in education and life. The talk highlighted the need for a new paradigm in education that focuses on creativity, critical thinking, and real-world problem-solving rather than rote memorization.
The programme sought to elaborate on the understanding of mental well-being both from the perspectives of science and spirituality. The speakers included Dr. Monisha Akhtar, a licensed child, adolescent, and adult psychologist/psychoanalyst and Geshe Lhakdor, a Tibetan Buddhist scholar and author who works closely with His Holiness, the Dalai Lama. The webinar discussed the Buddhist perspective on health, emphasizing the interdependence of all phenomena and the importance of a balanced mind and body. It also highlighted the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on mental health and the need for coping mechanisms and resilience. Both science and spirituality agree that maintaining a balance between the mind and body is crucial for mental well-being.