Prof. Jagannath Prasad Das has been named to the Order of Canada this week. The only Oriya to be bestowed with such an honor of national order, Prof. Das remains an inspiration for Oriyas in the state and worldwide. The Governor General of Canada has awarded Prof J.P. Das for “internationally recognized work in the field of cognitive psychology, notably in the development of a new theory of intelligence.”
Association of Prof. Das with Orissa is beyond formal. After becoming the first Oriya to obtain a master degree in Psychology, he has accomplished many more feats, no doubt. After obtaining a Doctoral degree at the Institute of Psychiatry from University of London, he had been visiting professor to University of California at Los Angeles, Monash University, Oxford University and Moscow State University. Over the years, he has authored more than a dozen books which include Cognitive Planning: The Psychological Basis of Intelligent Behaviour, Assessment of Cognitive Processes, Verbal Conditioning and Behaviour and Working Mind: An Introduction to Psychology.
As Emeritus Professor at University of Alberta, Edmonton where he joined the developmental disabilities center in 1968 and remained its director for 22 years, Das was recognized so profoundly there that the center is now named after him. He possibly is the only Oriya after whom an academic center is named abroad. But his unwavering commitments towards development of Orissa always remained exemplary. In Bhubaneswar, he founded the one-of-its-kind Learning Clinic (Sisu Manovigyan Kendra), with a team comprising Dr. Namita Mohanty, Ranjita Mishra and Sambit Nanda.
In a previous interview with our editor Saswat Pattanayak, he had explained the aim of this clinic in these words, “Our idea is to assess different kinds of cognitive abilities and relate these to academic works, if the client is a child and if the client is an adult, with a history of neurological impairment. We identify the areas of cognitive functions that are weak and then modify these areas. The need is to observe how areas of intelligence are changing. We used to have a global kind of IQ and now is the time, to see how it is changing.”
The evolution of the clinic owed to a universal intelligence measurement test devised by J.P. Das-Jack Naglieri, called Cognitive Assessment System embracing PASS (Planning, Attention, Simultaneous, Successive) scale. Today, the theories of intelligence contributed by Prof. Das and Naglieri are legendary and are widely used in many countries across the world to test intelligence, to recognize gifted/talented children and to facilitate educational interventions in the world of learning disabilities.
At Orissamatters, we wish Prof. Das all success and many more achievements ahead.
Report at Edmonton Journal