For the best experience, open
on your mobile browser.

The world that often forgets the value of experience

Caught up in the whirlwind of innovation and change, we often dismiss their insights as outdated
12:00 AM Apr 28, 2024 IST | Dr. Showkat Rashid Wani
the world that often forgets the value of experience

Prof Abdul Rahim (name changed) was working in the University and was on the verge of retirement. He was a seasoned teacher with a sharp mind and a wealth of expertise garnered over decades of service to the University.


Yet, despite his formidable skills and accomplishments, Prof Abdul Rahim  often found himself feeling like a relic of a bygone era—a mere echo in the cacophony of youthful ambition that surrounded him. His juniors, bright and eager though they were, seemed to overlook the wealth of knowledge that Prof Rahim possessed.


Caught up in the whirlwind of innovation and change, they often dismissed his insights as outdated or irrelevant, preferring instead to chart their own course through the ever-shifting landscape of the University. At Departmental Committee Meetings, Prof Rahim would find himself relegated to the periphery, his suggestions met with polite nods before being swiftly brushed aside in favor of more "modern" approaches. His emails went unanswered, his presence in meetings seemingly unnoticed amidst the clamour of youthful voices vying for attention.


But beneath the surface of Prof Rahim’s quiet resignation, there burned a flicker of discontent—a longing to be seen and heard, to have his years of dedication and hard work acknowledged and respected. One day the University had to prepare a NAAC assessment document which needed some historical facts about the department.


Prof Rahim seized the opportunity to step forward and offer his insights. Drawing upon his decades of experience, he proposed a solution that had eluded his younger colleagues—a simple yet elegant approach born of years spent navigating the intricacies of the University. To his surprise, his juniors listened—truly listened—as he outlined his proposal, their expressions shifting from skepticism to genuine interest as they began to grasp the wisdom contained within his words.


And when the solution proved successful, it was Prof Rahim who stood at the forefront, his seniority finally recognised and respected by those who had once overlooked him.  In the end, Prof Rahim realised that age was not a barrier to relevance, nor was experience a relic of the past. Instead, it was the willingness to listen—to truly listen—to the voices of those who had walked the path before, that held the key to unlocking the full potential of a team united in purpose and vision. I shall share another interesting story


In this story, of  Prof Abdul Karim  (name changed), a senior colleague ignored by his juniors in a university setting, whose wisdom finds new life through the earnest pursuit of a dedicated scholar. Prof Karim, with his white  beard and gentle demeanour, had once been a shining star among his peers. However, as the years passed and new faces flooded the corridors, his voice grew increasingly faint, drowned out by the exuberance of his junior colleagues and the fervor of ambitious students.


His lectures, once attended with rapt attention, now found only a handful of eager listeners, while his office hours passed in solitude, the echoes of unanswered questions haunting the empty room. But amidst the indifference of his juniors, there emerged a glimmer of hope—a young scholar by the name of Showkat, whose curiosity burned bright like a beacon in the darkness.

Drawn to Prof Karim's quiet wisdom, he sought him out, eager to learn from the wealth of experience he had to offer. Showkat while filling the preference list for allotment of supervisors reflected the name of Prof Karim at all the three places ignoring the lavish lifestyle and SUV  cars of juniors.

He accepted the Professor as his supervisor irrespective he had partial hearing and lived a very simple life. At first, Prof Karim was hesitant, unused to the attention of a scholar so earnest in his pursuit of knowledge. Yet, as he began to share his insights with Showkat, he found a renewed sense of purpose stirring within him—a sense of fulfillment that had long eluded him amidst the indifference of his peers.

Together, they embarked on a journey of discovery, delving into the depths of academia with a fervor that transcended the boundaries of age and experience.  As the years passed and Showkat blossomed into a formidable scholar in his own right, Prof Karim found solace in the knowledge that his legacy would live on through the generations of scholars he had inspired.

Though his juniors may have overlooked him, he had found in Showkat a kindred spirit—a torchbearer for the wisdom he had spent a lifetime cultivating. And so, amidst the hustle and bustle of the college campus, Prof Karim's voice rang out once more—a beacon of guidance for those willing to listen, a testament to the enduring power of mentorship in a world that often forgets the value of experience.

The experience of senior professors matters for several reasons:

Depth of Knowledge: Senior professors have typically spent many years in their field, accumulating a wealth of knowledge and expertise. This depth of knowledge allows them to provide students with comprehensive insights into their subject matter, going beyond the surface level to explore complex concepts and real-world applications.

Wisdom and Perspective: Senior professors can offer valuable insights gained from years of practical experience, helping students to see the bigger picture and understand how different concepts fit together.

Mentorship and Guidance: Senior professors often serve as mentors to younger colleagues and students, providing guidance and support as they navigate their academic and professional journeys. Their experience allows them to offer practical advice, mentorship, and support to help students succeed both inside and outside the classroom.

Adaptability and Resilience: Senior professors have weathered many changes and challenges throughout their careers, which has honed their adaptability and resilience. They can draw upon their past experiences to navigate new challenges and adapt their teaching methods to meet the evolving needs of students and the educational landscape.

Role Modelling: Senior professors serve as role models for their students, demonstrating qualities such as dedication, perseverance, and a lifelong commitment to learning. By embodying these qualities, they inspire students to strive for excellence and to continue learning and growing throughout their lives.

The experience of senior professors is invaluable in enriching the educational experience of students, providing them with the knowledge, wisdom, guidance, and inspiration they need to succeed academically and beyond. Universities and Colleges should reach them frequently post retirement for mentoring which is one of the mandates of new education policy 2020. 

Dr Showkat Rashid Wani is a Senior Coordinator, Directorate of Distance Education, University of Kashmir