Monday, 4 February 2019

What is Human Resource Development (HRD)?

In the present article, our team of experts have explained the concept of human resource development (HRD), role of human resource development, why do we need human resource development, what are the aims/objectives of human resource development, historical perspective/evolution of human resource development, what are the benefits of human resource development, and what is the difference between human resource development (HRD) and human resource management (HRM). Let's start and enjoy the reading.

What is the Definition of Human Resource Development (HRD)?

Before going into the depth of the subject, it is extremely important to comprehend the term “HRD” clearly. The term “HRD” consists of two words i.e. ‘Human Resource’ and ‘Development’. Human resources, who are considered to be the lifeblood of any organization, are the people and their characteristics at work either at the national level or organizational level, and ‘Development’ is the acquisition of capabilities that are needed to perform the present job or the future expected job. Thus, human resource development is the process of developing the human resource working in an organization by modernizing their knowledge and upgrading their skills, attitudes and perceptions in order to meet out the changing trends of the globalized economy and also to utilize those developments for the attainment of the organizational goals.

Components of Human Resource Development
Components of Human Resource Development

In other words, human resource development encompasses activities and processes which are intended to have impact on organizational and individual learning. HRD as an activity is extremely significant in achieving organizational excellence i.e. to excel with people, process and performance. Human resource development is a process which is needed to make the people grow continuously and growth of people will ultimately lead to the growth and development of the organization.

Thursday, 13 December 2018

What are the key challenges in education sector in India?

“What are the key challenges in education sector in India?” is being elaborated by me in the present article. In this piece of writing, I have discussed in details various issues such as “Access and Participation”, “Quality Issues”, “Skills and Employability”, “Curriculum and Assessment”, “Information and Communication Technology (ICT)”, “Teacher Development and Management”, “Equity Issues”, “System Efficiency”, “Governance and Management”, “Research and Development”, “Budgetary constraints”, and "Global Commitment”.  

What are the Key Challenges in Education Sector in India:

The earlier policies on education have laid out clear objectives and goals; however, many of these have not been realized fully. Though India has made significant progress in terms of enhancing access to and participation in all levels of education, the overall picture of education development in the country is mixed and there are many persisting concerns and challenges relating to access to and participation in education, quality of the education imparted, equity in education, system efficiency, governance and management, research and development, and financial commitment to education development.

Access and Participation:

Research from around the world highlights the importance of early childhood education. However, participation in pre-school education remains low. Expanding access to early childhood education to provide equal opportunity to all children to prepare them better for formal schooling emerges to be a high priority task.

Nationally the percentage of out-of-school children aged 6-13 years has declined significantly since 2000. However, the absolute number of out-of-school children remains high. The relatively lower enrollment rates in upper primary and secondary education as compared to primary education are also a matter of concern. Ensuring upward transition/mobility of students from elementary to secondary to achieve universal secondary education and from secondary to higher secondary and tertiary education continues to be a challenge.

India has the second largest higher education system in the world. Although the Indian higher education has already entered a stage of massification, the Gross Enrollment Ratio in higher education remains low at 23.6 percent in 2014-15. The current target is to increase GER to 25.2 per cent in 2017-18 and further to 30 per cent in 2020-21.

The relatively slow progress in reducing the number of non-literates continues be a concern. India currently has the largest non-literate population in the world with the absolute number of non-literates among population aged 7 and above being 282.6 million in 2011. India also hosts the largest number of youth and adult illiterates in the world with the youth literacy rate (15-24 years) and adult literacy rate (15 years and above) in India in 2011 being 86.1 percent and 69.3 percent respectively.

Quality Issues:

Poor quality of education resulting in unsatisfactory learning outcomes is a matter of great concern. Quality-related deficiencies such as inappropriate curriculum, the lack of trained educators and ineffective pedagogy remain a major challenge relating to pre-school education. A significant proportion of children who complete pre-school education do not have school readiness competencies in cognitive and language domains when they join primary school. The majority of pre-school educators are inadequately trained/prepared. The curricula for pre-school education in many cases continue to be a downward extension of the primary education curriculum.

The biggest challenge facing school education relates to the unsatisfactory level of student learning. The findings of the National Achievement Surveys (NAS) covering Grades III, V, VIII and X suggest that learning levels of a significant proportion of students do not measure up to the expected learning levels. Poor quality of learning at the primary and upper primary stages affects student learning at the secondary stage. Poor quality of learning at the secondary stage spills over to the college/university years, leading to poor learning outcomes in the higher education sector.

Several factors have contributed to unsatisfactory quality of school education. Some of these include: existence of a large proportion of schools that are not compliant to the prescribed norms and standards for a school; student and teacher absenteeism; serious gaps in teacher motivation and training resulting in deficiencies relating to teacher quality and performance; slow progress in regard to use of information and communication technologies in education; sub-optimal personnel management, inadequate attention to monitoring and supervision of performance etc. The perceived failure of the schools in the government system to provide education of good quality has triggered entry of a large number of private schools, many of which lack required infrastructure, learning environment, and competent teachers.

The quality of education provided in a large number of higher education institutions is a matter of great concern. Accreditation agencies were established in India in 1994 as a measure of quality assurance in order to enhance standards of higher education. Of the 140 universities accredited by the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC), only 32 percent are rated as A grade. Among the 2,780 colleges accredited by the NAAC, only 9 percent are rated as A grade. Among the accredited institutions, 68 percent of the universities and 91 percent of the colleges are rated average or below average in terms of the quality parameters specified by the NAAC. There has been mushroom growth of private colleges and universities, many of them of indifferent quality. The higher education sub-sector is constrained by shortage of well-qualified faculty due to vacant faculty positions; poor infrastructure in many private as well as a significant proportion of public higher education institutions; slow progress in the renewal of higher education curriculum to align it more closely with the skills demanded in a diversified economy; and inadequate funding for research and development.

Skills and Employability:

India is one of the youngest nations in the world with more than 54 percent of its total population below 25 years of age. This necessitates that the youth in the country are equipped with the skills and knowledge to enter the workforce through education and training. However, the institutional arrangements to support technical and vocational education programmes remain quite inadequate. Formally linking the development of skills in vocational fields, and bringing an academic equivalence to vocational accomplishments with avenues for horizontal and vertical mobility of students has been attempted only recently. Fostering dignity and social acceptability to high quality vocational training needs increased attention.

A large proportion of the products of the education system are found to lack employable skills. This has substantially lowered the credibility of the higher education system. The utility of higher education in assuring employment remains questionable. Many graduate and post-graduate students do not get jobs in their respective fields. The task of enhancing the employability of the products of the education system ought to be accorded high priority.

Curriculum and Assessment:

There is a growing realisation that there exist serious disconnects between the existing school and higher education curricula and the curricular thrusts that are needed for promoting the acquisition by students of relevant skills required for decent work and a better life in a rapidly changing world. A key challenge in this context is expanding opportunities for acquiring relevant skills, including skills needed for work and entrepreneurship; skills and competencies that allow learners to be more creative and innovative, to think critically, to communicate effectively, to solve problems independently; and life skills that enable individuals to grow as responsible citizens and embrace cultural diversity, live and work together harmoniously, etc. The overall assessment practices at the school and college/university level remain unsatisfactory. In most cases the assessment of learning achievement continues to focus on rote learning and testing the students’ ability to reproduce content knowledge. The whole assessment system needs to be revamped to ensure comprehensive assessment of the students, including learning outcomes relating to both scholastic and co-scholastic domains.

Information and Communication Technology (ICT):

Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) have made rapid strides in the past couple of decades. Many experiments have taken place in the country, and a large body of knowledge has accumulated in regard to the use of ICT in education. However, the potential of ICT in education has not been fully harnessed. The use of ICT in education remains limited and there is a need to accelerate efforts to use ICT for fostering quality education.

Teacher Development and Management:

In spite of the continued efforts for improving teacher quality and performance, the system for initial professional preparation and continuing professional development of school teachers continue to be characterized by several deficiencies. The current teacher education and training programmes are considered inappropriate in terms of equipping the teachers with the competencies required to cope with the new profile and roles expected of teachers and to enable them to carry out their duties in diverse social, economic, cultural and technological environments. The exists a continued mismatch between institutional capacity and required teacher supply resulting in shortage of teachers. The problem is acute in the eastern part of the country where there is a huge backlog of untrained teachers. The capacity to train teachers is also very limited in these States. Research, experimentation and innovations in teacher education remain very limited. These deficiencies have brought about an erosion in the professional identity of teachers and the status of teaching as a profession. The issues relating to the capacity, motivation and accountability of teachers to achieve improvements in learning outcomes of students need to be urgently addressed.

Equity Issues:

Though substantial progress has been achieved in increasing enrollment in pre-school education, children from disadvantaged population groups still lack access to pre-school education. Children from economically disadvantaged groups are more likely to receive less opportunity to participate in pre-primary education.

Despite considerable progress, enrollment rates in upper primary and secondary education in some states remain well below the national average. While there has been a rise in the demand for secondary education and increase in the number of secondary schools, the spread of secondary education throughout the country remains uneven. Regional disparities continue, as do differences in access depending on the socio-economic background of students.
Though the number of out-of-school children (OOSC) has declined significantly since 2000, the number and proportion of out-of-school children remain much higher than the national average in some states. The proportion of OOSC has been higher than the national average for SC children, ST children and Muslim children. This indicates that these children need greater and focused attention.

Regional disparities in Gross Enrollment Ratio (GER) in higher education are large. In 2011- 12 GER in higher education ranged between 8.4 percent in Jharkhand and 53 percent in Chandigarh. Similarly, the variations among the social groups too are considerable the Gross Enrollment Ratio in higher education remains low at 23.6 percent (24.5% for boys, 22.7% for girls; 18.5% for SCs and 13.3% for STs) in 2014-15. One of the challenges faced by the higher education sector in India is to harmonize the expansion requirements with equity considerations.

Most states have successfully integrated inclusive strategies to facilitate enrollment and retention of disadvantaged population groups in primary education. Despite these efforts, children from certain sections of the population, such as children with disabilities, children in remote locations, children belonging to nomadic families, migrant children, and other vulnerable/disadvantaged groups have not been able to take full benefit of the educational opportunities. Urban poor children constitute another group of children whose participation in education remains low. Ensuring access to education for the hardest-to reach section of population remains one of the key priorities in the context of efforts to achieve universal elementary and secondary education.

The findings of the National Learning Achievement Surveys reveal significant differences in the average achievement levels of students between States/Union Territories (UTs). They also indicate that urban students are performing significantly better than rural students; students in private unaided schools performed marginally better than government schools; students from the general category and OBC category performed better than the SC and ST students. These findings suggest a serious challenge to the goal of ‘equity in learning’. Children from historically disadvantaged and economically weaker sections of society and first generation learners exhibit significantly lower learning outcomes.

Children with disabilities and children with special needs constitute a significant proportion of out-of-school children. This situation highlights the needs to equip schools to address the challenging needs of children with disabilities who are both socially and educationally disadvantaged.

Though the dropout rate is a matter of concern in the case of all categories of students, drop-out rates among socially and economically disadvantaged groups, especially for girls from these groups, remain higher than the national average. This brings into focus the need to undertake measures to improve retention in schools of children from socially and economically disadvantaged communities.

Most states/UTs have made impressive progress in terms of reduction in gender disparities in participation, with most of them either having reached or surpassed gender parity, particularly at the primary and upper primary stages of education. However, large disparities remain at the senior secondary level. Many girls are not sent to schools; and many who complete secondary education are not able to pursue their studies at the higher secondary level and in colleges. Once in school, especially at the secondary stage, there are several barriers that prevent a significant proportion of girls from continuing their education. The interventions which are currently being made to bridge the gender and social category gaps need to be stepped up, and more focused strategies need to be worked out to facilitate effective inclusion and participation of girls and other special category children.

The relatively higher gender gaps in youth and adult literacy rates remain a principal challenge. India continues to be characterized by higher level of gender gap (8.2 percentage points) in youth literacy rate, with the youth literacy rates for male and female population (age 15-24 years) in 2011 being 90 per cent and 81.8 percent respectively. India also continues to be the country with higher level of gender gap (19.5 percentage points) in adult literacy, with adult literacy rates for male and female population (age 15 years and over) in 2011 being 78.8 percent and 59.3 percent respectively. It is clear that major efforts are needed to raise the literacy levels of girls and women.

System Efficiency:

Even though the drop-out rates at elementary and secondary stages of education have been declining, large numbers of children continue to leave the school before completing elementary education. In 2014-15, the retention rate at primary level was 83.7 percent and it was as low as 67.4 percent at the elementary level. This indicates that roughly, four in every 10 children enrolled in grade I leave the school before completing grade VIII. Dropout rates in secondary education continue to be high, especially for socially and economically disadvantaged groups of learners. Though the dropout rate is a matter of concern in the case of all categories of students, drop-out rates among socially and economically disadvantaged groups, especially for girls from these groups, remain higher than the national average. This brings into focus the need to undertake measures to improve retention in schools of children from socially and economically disadvantaged communities. Ensuring completion of elementary, secondary and higher secondary education by all enrolled pupils emerges to be high priority task.

Governance and Management:
Several studies have reported the challenges in education governance exemplified by teacher absence, delayed fund flows to schools/colleges/universities and administrative capabilities. Capacity constraints relating to effective programme planning and implementation continue to be a key issue. Consequently, the progress of implementation of planned programmes remains uneven. The governance and management of education system and institutions, especially at the tertiary education stage, has assumed complexity with the advent of a multiplicity of providers, programmes and modes of financing. While it is true that some states have displayed encouraging initiatives and innovative management, the overall picture in the country is mixed. A renewed look at governance and management policies both at the system as well as the institutional level has become imperatively urgent.

Commercialisation is rampant both in school and higher education sub-sectors as reflected in the charges levied for admissions in private educational institutions. The proliferation of sub-standard educational institutions has contributed to the diminished credibility of the education system.

Research and Development:

Research and development initiatives in universities in India remain weak. There has been only a limited initiative for upgrading the skills of existing faculty; build synergies between teaching and research to promote excellence in both; promoting internationalization by encouraging and supporting higher education institutions and their faculty to engage more deeply with institutions and faculty around the world to improve quality of research; creating and facilitating alliances for research, and linking university departments with research institutions and industry to accelerate the process of knowledge development.

Budgetary constraints:

Insufficient financing of education continues to constrain efforts to expand access to education and foster quality education. Several studies have reported the challenges in education governance exemplified by the delayed fund flows to schools/ colleges/universities. The earlier education policies had endorsed a norm of 6 percent of GDP as the minimum expenditure on education. However, this target has never been met. Shortfall in the funding has been a major constraint to the complete implementation of some of the programmes designed to further expand school, higher and adult education programmes and to maintain a reasonable level of quality in education. There have also been pervasive and persistent failures in timely programme implementation leading to sub-optimal utilization of the resources provided.

Global Commitment:
The global Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG 4) within the Agenda 2030 seeks to ‘Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all’. The EFA agenda initiated in 2000 remains unfinished, particularly those relating to youth and adult illiterates, out-of-school children, low access to Early Childhood Care and Education, inadequate opportunities for skill development and unsatisfactory quality of education and student learning levels. The NEP will, therefore, pursue both the unfinished EFA agenda and the targets associated with SDG4.

The challenges being faced by the education sector call for innovative approaches and sustained efforts to foster education development in general, and quality education, in particular without compromising on access and equity. The main thrust will be to devise effective strategies to address the divergent challenges for the growth of education in India and realizing the potential of the country’s ‘demographic dividend’.

Wednesday, 12 December 2018

A Glimpse of Education System of India right from Ancient Period

In the present article, I have tried my best to give you all a glimpse of origin and journey of education system in India. Here, I have talked about the ancient system of education prevailed in India right from Vedic system to education system in pre-independent India (that is during the time of British rule in India) to post-Independent India.

What was the ancient education system in India? What was the ultimate aim of education in ancient India?  

To begin with, it is widely accepted the fact that India has always accorded high importance to education. The education system was first evolved in ancient India which is commonly known as the Vedic system of education. The ultimate aim of education in ancient India was not knowledge, as preparation for life in this world or for life beyond, but for complete realization of the self. The Gurukul system fostered a bond between the Guru and the Shishya and established a teacher centric system in which the pupil was subjected to a rigid discipline and was under certain obligations towards his/her teacher.

The world's first university was established in Takshila in 700 BC. The University of Nalanda, or the Nalanda Mahavira as it was known at the time, established in 4th century BCE, was one of the world’s first great universities in the world. In its heyday, in the 7th century AD, Nalanda University had some 10,000 students and 2,000 teachers. The subjects taught at Nalanda University covered diverse fields of learning covering science, astronomy, medicine, and logic as diligently as they applied themselves to metaphysics, philosophy, Samkhya, Yoga-shastra, the Veda, and the scriptures of Buddhism and foreign philosophy.

Transcending ethnic and national boundaries, Nalanda University attracted pupils and scholars from China, Indonesia, Korea, Japan, Persia, Turkey and other parts of the world. Indian scholars like Charaka and Susruta, Aryabhata, Bhaskaracharya, Chanakya, Patanjali and Vatsayayna and numerous others made seminal contribution to the world knowledge in such diverse fields as mathematics, astronomy, physics, chemistry, medical science and surgery, fine arts, mechanical and production technology, civil engineering and architecture, shipbuilding and navigation, sports and games.

Modern Education System of India:
During the freedom struggle, several leaders like Gokhale, Ram Mohan Roy, Pundit Madan Mohan Malaviya and Gandhiji worked for better education for the people of India. The concern for the improvement of education had been at the top of India’s development agenda since independence. Several commissions were appointed by the government of India from time to time to formulate policies and programmes required to enhance access to and participation in education and improve quality of education. Prominent among them include: the University Education Commission (1948-49), the Secondary Education Commission (1952-53), the Education Commission (1964-66), and the National Commission on Teachers - I & II (1983-85).

The Resolution on National Policy on Education (1968) formulated on the basis of the recommendations of the Education Commission, laid stress on the need for a radical reconstruction of the education system, to improve its quality at all stages, and the development of science and technology, the cultivation of moral and social values, and a closer relation between education and the life of the people. The Resolution stressed the role of education in promoting national progress, a sense of common citizenship and culture, and in strengthening national integration.

The National Policy on Education 1986 (revised in 1992) envisaged a National system of education which implies that “up to a given level, all students, irrespective of caste, creed, location or sex, have access to education of a comparative quality”. The 42nd Constitutional Amendment in 1976 brought about a fundamental change by transferring education from the State List to the Concurrent List thereby recognizing the importance of the federal structure of our country and giving equal primacy to both the central and state governments as partners in furthering the educational goals in a cohesive manner. Any policy on education has to acknowledge the inter-sectoral and inter-ministerial nature of a holistic education process and the important role to be played by the States. This Policy therefore recognizes the role to be played by the other national level policies such as, the National Policy on Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) adopted in 2013, National Youth Policy (NYP), 2014 and the National Policy for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, 2015 and numerous other State level policies.

Since the formulation of the National Policy on Education, 1986/92, significant changes have taken place in India and the world at large. India’s political, social and economic development is passing through a phase which necessitates a robust and forward looking education system. A major development relating to education sector in India has been the establishment of Constitutional and legal underpinnings for achieving universal elementary education. The Constitution (Eighty-sixth Amendment) Act, 2002 that inserted Article 21- A in the Constitution of India envisages free and compulsory education for all children in the age group of six to fourteen years as a Fundamental Right in such a manner as the State may, by law, determine.

The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009 which represents the consequential legislation envisaged under Article 21-A of the Indian constitution entitles every child of the age of six to fourteen year with the right to free and compulsory education in a neighborhood school till completion of elementary education. Significant changes have taken place in the education sector.

The educational activities and learning process are no longer confined to the classroom and, therefore, the domain of education is no longer limited to formal schooling or higher education. The educational process is not only mediated by classroom-based curriculum transaction but also by media, both electronic and print, information and communication technologies, books and journals etc. Learners today have access to more current knowledge through non-institutionalized means.

The fast pace of generation and application of new knowledge, especially in the fields of science and technology, and its impact on the daily life of people brings into focus the importance of introducing learners to the rapidly changing world of knowledge. The need for the development of human skills, including life skills, that meet the demands of the emerging knowledge economy and society highlights the need to promote the acquisition by learners of knowledge and skills on a life-long basis to enhance their capacity to adapt to changing skill requirements.

The changing social contexts of education as well as the national concerns for achieving the goals of equity and inclusion demands a changed approach to education for enhancing opportunities for all learners to become successful in their learning experience and making all educational institutions responsive to the learning needs of diverse student population groups in order to ensure equitable educational outcomes for all.

The use of new information and communication technologies, especially of internet, has expanded dramatically during the past few years. New technologies are transforming the way in which people live, work, and communicate. The new technologies have brought about easy access to new pools of information and learning resources and new learning opportunities for learners. Integration of new technologies into educational settings has emerged as a priority task in the education sector.

The above developments imply that the education policies and the content and process of education must evolve with the changing times and needs. The goals, structure, content and processes of education need renewal keeping in view the experiences gained in the past and the concerns and imperatives that have emerged in the light of changing national development goals and societal needs as well as the dynamics of the local, national, regional and global realities and changes, including the changing learning needs of children, youth and adults.

Draft National Education Policy, 2016:

The Draft National Education Policy, 2016 which is designed to guide the renewal process in education in India represents an attempt in this direction. The Draft National Education Policy, 2016 envisions a credible education system capable of ensuring inclusive quality education and lifelong learning opportunities for all and producing students/graduates equipped with the knowledge, skills, attitudes and values that are required to lead a productive life, participate in the country’s development process, respond to the requirements of the fast‐changing, ever‐globalizing, knowledge‐based societies, and developing responsible citizens who respect the Indian tradition of acceptance of diversity of India’s heritage, culture and history and promote social cohesion and religious amity.

This vision recognizes the central role of education in India’s social, economic, political, and cultural development. Mahatma Gandhi said, “The real difficulty is that people have no idea of what education truly is. We assess the value of education in the same manner as we assess the value of land or of shares in the stock exchange market. We want to provide only such education as would enable the student to earn more. We hardly give any thought to the improvement of the character of the educated.”

Inspired by the thoughts of the Father of the Nation, the Policy brings into focus the role of education in inculcating values, providing skills and competencies to citizens, and enabling them to contribute to the nation’s well-being. It recognizes that long-term economic growth and development of the nation critically depends upon the quality of the products of the education system and that an education system built on the premises of quality and equity is central to sustainable development and to achieving success in the emerging knowledge economy and society. It recognizes education as the most potent tool for socio-economic mobility and a key instrument for building an equitable, just and human society. It also recognizes the education as an integrative force in society, and its role in imparting values that foster social cohesion and national identity. The vision also implies that good quality education will help amalgamate globalization with localization, enabling India’s children and youth to become global citizens, with their roots deeply embedded in Indian culture and traditions.

The Draft National Education Policy, 2016 provides a framework for the development of education in India over the coming few years. It seeks to address both the unfinished agenda relating to the goals and targets set in the previous national policies on education and the current and emerging national development and education sector-related challenges. Recognizing the importance of quality education in national development, the Draft NEP, 2016 places an unprecedented focus on significantly improving the quality of education at all levels and on ensuring that educational opportunities are available to all segments of the society.

Saturday, 1 April 2017

What is “Sentiment”?

The present article is all about what sentiment means, about self-regarding sentiments (such as self-concept, self-esteem, and self-image) about the process of formation of character, as well as types of character (such as amoral, expedient, conformist, irrational conscientious, and rational altruistic).

What is “Sentiment”?

What is Sentiment
A sentiment is a combination of various emotions clustered around some important persons, objects, ideals and values. These sentiments form one's permanent emotional disposition.

In the initial stage, these sentiments are centered around family members. Later, these are developed around one's community members and are based on caste, religion and language.

Gradually, they are transformed into abstract ideals of cooperation, gregariousness (fond of company), honesty, truthfulness and justice.

For instance, one person from Bihar gets excited to see another Behari in Kanyakumari, because they belong to the same state. But the same Behari may be happy to see any Indian in Canada, because they belong to the same nation.

Self-regarding Sentiments:

Before we discuss the concept of self-regarding sentiments, we should first understand and have clarity on the term “self”. Self means oneself- one’s identity, one’s personality, that is what one is.

Self can be defined roughly as the elaboration of such statements as –“I am this sort of a person. These are my strengths and weaknesses....”

Thus, self refers to the image of total personality of an individual, including bodily self and the sense of identity. Self is the central point of personality. It directs the process of individualization through which the useful and creative aspects of the unconscious are made conscious and channeled into productive activity.


A human being is aware of himself. He is aware of his past and future, and of other people, friends, enemies and strangers.

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Frustration & Conflict: Measures to Resolve Conflicts; Various Forms of Defence Mechanism

The present article discusses about frustration, the concept of conflict, types of conflict, various measures for resolving conflicts, and definition and forms of defence mechanism.

What is Frustration?

Frustration & Conflict
Frustration & Conflict
Frustration is the hollow state of mind which occurs when a goal response is blocked. In other words, it occurs when satisfaction of needs is interfered with or blocked.
One major element of maladjustment that is consistently repeated in almost all the causes of maladjusted behavior is frustration. Frustration may be due to familial conditions, school atmosphere, personal inadequacy or peer group relationship.

Frustration could take place under two circumstances:

  • When the biological, psychological and social needs of the students are not fulfilled or satisfied
  • When the individual faces conflicting situations or moral dilemmas

Concept of Conflict:

Before going ahead, let us understand the difference between conflict and frustration. Yes, there is a difference between conflict and frustration. The latter (frustration) is the product or the consequence of the dissatisfaction of needs, whereas, the former (conflict) is the process, or one of the factors responsible for causing frustration.
Conflict is the operation of two incompatible action systems, it may be drives; needs, values, tendencies and impulses. The individual finds it difficult to make a choice between two conflicting situations.

A conflict is caused under two situations.

First, it (conflict) arises when there is an urge to fulfill the two equally important objectives, needs, drives, values, tendencies and impulses. This situation of conflict is exemplified in the following situation.

Example: Mr. Singh is a Police Inspector. He is quite sincere and honest in his work. He has a good reputation in the community. Like any other responsible father, he too arranges his daughter's wedding. Unfortunately, the marriage expenses exceed the budget and he finds it difficult to manage. At that moment, his wife advises him to borrow money from his friends. But Mr. Singh cannot even think of borrowing money from others as he gives much importance to self-respect.

So, the situation may create a conflict in his mind. In the above given example, you find that the psychological need of self-respect is incompatible with the social need or social status in the community.

Second, conflict arises when two different goals are set to fulfill a single need. For example, a young girl wants to establish herself as a social scientist. There are many ways through which she can get recognition. She can work hard as a committed researcher and achieve her objective, or can seek the influence of the higher authority in the department and get the academic recognition, without working on it.

She is in a dilemma, whether to seriously work or achieve the goal through easy means. Often, people find easy means to come up in life, eventually gain, but this leads to tension and anxiety.

Types of Conflicts:

Conflicts are classified into three types. These are the following:

An approach-approach conflict:

An approach-approach conflict is a situation, wherein I the individual is caught between two mutually exclusive goals which are desirable and also are difficult to realize simultaneously. This is exemplified in the following situation. A student prepares for his examination, is keen to secure high marks but at the same time, wishes to attend the wedding of his best friend, both due on the same day.

Similarly, a girl who is eager to marry her fiance, and also wishes to complete her computer course in the same semester itself. In these illustrations, you find that the boy and girl should move towards the other goal in order to achieve one.

An approach - avoidance conflict:

Let us consider a common example. A girl of twenty five wishes to marry a boy who is highly qualified and well placed. She hesitates to achieve her goal because the life style of the boy is totally different from the girl. He smokes and drinks. Similarly a boy wants to approach his father to obtain grace marks in two subjects.

However, he hesitates to approach him, as he had assured his father that he would secure a rank in his class. This situation creates conflict in the student's mind. These examples reveal that at some point of time the person wishes to realize the goal and at the same time avoids the goal.

Thus, approach-avoidance conflict is a situation wherein the individual is motivated to achieve a goal and at the same time develops a tendency to avoid it.

An avoidance-avoidance conflict:

An avoidance-avoidance conflict is a situation, wherein an individual is motivated to avoid both the goals. Observe yet another dilemma. Karan is forced by his friends to see a new movie, which he is reluctant to watch. At the same time, he does not want to displease his friends by saying that he would not accompany them for the movie. In this situation, he wants to avoid both the goals and finally faces a conflicting situation.

Measures for Resolving Conflicts:

Every individual faces a conflict in life sometime or the other. But it is not necessary that every time, it leads him to frustration. Whenever he meets frustration in life he develops tolerance towards that situation. Thus, every individual develops a certain degree of frustration tolerance. A person who has low frustration tolerance may live in a maladjusted manner.

If an individual is intelligent and has an insight into the problem, he will find ways and means to solve it. In such situations, he may adopt the direct method or an adaptive mechanism, to solve his problem.

On the other hand, if he is timid and weak in understanding the problem, he may adopt the indirect method or a defensive mechanism to escape from the conflicting situation. You, as a teacher, have to develop in the students the skills to resolve conflicts.

Some of the adaptive mechanisms of resolving conflicts are as follows:

Accepting reality:

We tend to move far away from reality. We set our targets beyond our capacity to achieve. Instead, if we change our goals and re-set them according to reality, it may be feasible for us to achieve the goals and thus solve the conflicting situation.
For example, a teen-age girl aspires to study medicine in the United States, but her financial position forces her to re-set her goal and takes up the course in one of the best colleges in the city or country.

Analyzing problem situation:

 Whenever we face conflicts in life, we usually think of only one alternative solution. If that alternative is not a viable one to help us arrive at the solution, we stop at that point itself and start worrying about it.

An intelligent person will not react in such a passive manner. He may think of as many alternatives as possible for a given problem and analyze the pros and cons of each of the alternatives and may find a better solution.

Prioritizing the goal:

At times, you might have observed that individuals meet with conflicting situations, where more than two goals are involved. In such situations, one should work out positive and negative aspects of achieving each one of these goals and choose the best.

For example, a student may want to finish an assignment in time but there is a very interesting movie on television he does not want to miss. Here he may face a conflict which may be resolved by prioritizing the goal.

Developing value-judgement:

One should develop the ability to judge values when one is facing a moral or value dilemma. Study the following situation.

Diverging one's interest:

Open mindedness could help solve one's problems easily. Narrowing down our interest to one specific act leads to conflict.

For example, Smith is good at drawing. He is keen to take up Architecture as his specialization because of his interest towards arts. Unfortunately, he fails to obtain a seat in that course. Immediately, he switches over to Mechanical Engineering. He further utilizes his talent by developing interest in freelancing artwork, calligraphy, advertising, etc. Thus, changing one's interest also solves the problem to some extent.

Defence Mechanism:

Defence mechanism is a technique adopted by individuals to cope with tension, stress and anxiety that are mainly aroused by conflicts.

When an individual meets with such a problem, instead of developing an insight to solve it, he may find an easy way to escape from the problem and give a totally different explanation for it.

However, psychologists are of the view that a defence mechanism rescues the individual from maladjusted behavior. Nevertheless, excessive use of such techniques may again lead to maladjustment.

Types of Defence Mechanisms:


It is a tension-reducing device and is temporary in state. Human tendency is to retain the pleasurable experiences in mind and push aside the undesirable one’s to the sub-conscious mind or one may force oneself to forget such unpleasant experiences by repressing it. This is true even with growing children.

Reaction formation: 

This is a technique wherein an individual reacts in an extreme way for the one he is already in conflict about. It is just switching over from one end of reaction to the other end. For example, a child who has been very notorious during his early school becomes cooperative later on and helps in the study of his classmates.


It is a mechanism wherein the individual gives false reasons, other than the actual one in order to reduce his guilt feeling raised out of conflict.

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Adjustment & Maladjustment: Characteristics and Causes

The present article deals with ‘Adjustment’ and ‘Maladjustment’, characteristics of a well adjusted person and a maladjusted person, as well as causes of maladjustment.
Adjustment & Maladjustment
Adjustment & Maladjustment

What is “Adjustment”?

The term “adjustment” originates from the biological term “adaptation”. Biologists used the term “adaptation” strictly for the physical demands of the environment, but psychologists use the term “adjustment” for varying conditions of social or inter-personal relations in the society.
Adjustment means the reaction to the demands and pressures of social environment imposed upon the individual. The demand to which the individual has to react may be external or internal.
Psychologists have viewed adjustment from two important perspectives—“adjustment as an achievement”, and “adjustment as a process”.

Adjustment as achievement:

‘Adjustment as achievement’ means how efficiently an individual can perform his duties under different circumstances.

Monday, 27 March 2017

Edward Lee Thorndike: Theory of Learning

The present article describes in details the Theory of Learning propounded by Edward Lee Thorndike, his Laws of Learning--Law of Readiness, Law of Excercise, Law of Effect.

Edward Lee Thorndike
Edward Lee Thorndike
Edward Lee Ted Thorndike (31 August 1874 - 9 August 1949) was an American psychologist, who developed learning theory that lead to the development of operant conditioning within behaviorism.
Whereas, Classical Conditioning depends on developing associations between events, Operant Conditioning involves learning from the consequences of the behavior. Skinner's Theory of Operant Conditioning was built on the ideas of Edward Thorndike.
Thorndike was a pioneer not only in behaviorism and in studying learning, but also in using animals in psychology experiments.
Connectionism is a learning theory which is based on the concept of bonds formed between stimulus and response i.e., natural connections between Situations (S) and Responses (R) are formed and strengthened. The stimulus affects the organism which responds to it. Thus, S-R bonds are formed which are considered as physical conditions. 
This theory of learning is related to conditioning that utilizes the concept of association of connection. It emphasizes that the behavior begins with conditioned reflexes and natural responses and new behaviors result from the acquisition of new bonds through experience. Thorndike formulated the major laws of learning on basis of his belief in connectionism.

Thorndike’s Puzzle Box:

One of Thorndike major contributions to the study of psychology was his work with animals. He believed that learning occurred through trial and error. The animal made many responses, many of them were wrong and ineffective and eventually learned to repeat those that got desirable results.
Thorndike's Puzzle Box
Puzzle Box
Thorndike felt that the learning was a matter of creating associations between stimuli and response and no speculation about mind was necessary or useful. Through long, extensive research with these animals, he constructed device called puzzle box.
The puzzle box was approximately 20 inches long, 15 inches wide and 11 inches tall. The box had a door that was pulled open by a weight attached to a string that ran over a pulley and was attached to the door. The string attached to the door led to a lever or button inside the box. When the animal pressed the bar or pulled the lever, the string attached to the door would cause the weight to lift and the door to open.

At first, cat put in the cage explored restlessly, but did not know how to escape. Eventually, they stepped on the foot switch and the trap door opened. On succeeding trials, they operated the switch faster.
Cat in Puzzle Box
Cat in Puzzle Box
Thorndike explained learning with his “law of effect”. Animals tended to repeat a behavior that resulted in a pleasing effect. This was an early version of the concept of positive reinforcement that Skinner has used effectively. Behavior was varied during a trial and error phase. Thorndike believed that the animal stumbled upon a behavior that produced a desirable effect.

This created a link between stimulus (cage) and, a response (stepping on switch or pulling the lever). Later, in the same stimulus situation, that response occurred faster.
He produced a graph called a "learning curve" showing the number of seconds the animal took to escape on each trial.
Learning Curve
Learning Curve
Thorndike concluded that all animals learn, solely by trial and error or reward and punishment. He used the cat’s behavior in the puzzle box to describe what happens when all the beings learn together. 
All learning involves the formation of connection and connections were strengthened according to law of effect. Intelligence is the ability to form connections and humans are the most evolved animal because they form more connections than any other being.