EDUCATION TRIBUNE Tuesday, September 26, 2000, Chandigarh, India

A revamp must to attain UGC target
Need to reschedule examinations
By Ajay Kahol
UCH is said about increasing the number of teaching days in colleges in the country. The University Grants Commission has fixed 180 days while the present number does not exceed 120 days.

Move on autonomy “utopian”
From Sushil Manav

The recent move by the state government to grant autonomous status to selected colleges has caused wide-spread apprehension among the teaching community. Senior educationists have not been able to remove the apprehension.

Career Hotline
by Pervin Malhotra



A revamp must to attain UGC target
Need to reschedule examinations
By Ajay Kahol

MUCH is said about increasing the number of teaching days in colleges in the country. The University Grants Commission (UGC) has fixed 180 days while the present number does not exceed 120 days. For implementation of UGC recommendations in this regard and to achieve this objective, radical changes need to be brought about in the system of examination and evaluation because this is one such area that has a direct and strong bearing on the issue. However, the entire schedule of examinations, evaluation, admission, vacations, supplementary exams and preparatories is required to be revamped and made time-bond.

At present, institutions of higher learning are closed soon after the exams are over in the month of May for over a period of 50 days. The idea that works, perhaps, for the closure of colleges is that teachers are no longer required to be on duty as teaching work at the undergraduate level remains suspended in the absence of classes during May and June. It’s absolutely irrational. Aren’t the valuable services of teachers required for other purposes? Are they meant for teaching classes alone? We must realise that besides teaching, evaluation, too, has to be done by the teachers.

They are always ready to do evaluation work. But reluctance, if any, on their part is due to the reason that evaluation work is executed at a time when the colleges remain closed and the teachers are required to do this job during the vacation period and that too at ‘spot evaluation centres’ away from parent institutions.

Though they’re paid TA/DA in addition to remuneration, there is always poor turnout everyyear at the ‘spot centres’. Consequently, the results are delayed.

Unfortunately, while delayed announcement of results adversely affects regular teaching work, it creates panic among aspirants for various competitive examinations, entrance tests and those who wish to pursue their studies with a new university. Many a time, the results are declared after July 1, the day fixed for the commencement of a new session. As a result, the entire process of admissions is prolonged beyond reasonable limits. In case of certain classes, it continues till the third week of August. Obviously, the ill-effects of delay at one stage are seen throughout the year.

The closure of institutions, in fact, at a wrong time becomes the biggest problem in the timely completion of evaluation work. The vicious circle of delay undoubtedly begins at this stage which finally culminates in reducing the number of teaching days. To avoid inordinate delays and increase the number of teaching days, I wish to suggest some remedies.

After, the examination to all classes at the undergraduate level must be over by April 30 and the colleges closed for a short break of 10 days only. The new academic session should commence with effect from May 11 everyyear instead of July 1. The services of all teachers may be availed during May and June for the purpose of evaluation of answerbooks at respective institutions of their posting, no matter, if they’re to be compensated with enhancement in leave admissible to them.

Second, for speedy and time-bound completion of evaluation work, it is essential to switch over to a more effective system. This would be a wise step if the entire teaching community is involved in the work. There will be no dearth of examiners as they’re supposed to be present in the colleges during May and June under the revised schedule of vacations. This new system can be named as ‘in-station evaluation’ system at the parent institution. The answerbooks after completing necessary formalities such as giving F/Rs for the purpose of secrecy, may be made available to the lecturers concerned by visiting teams of a university. And the same may be recollected any time between May 21 and 25 for tabulation and declaration of results by June 15. The admission to higher classes should begin w.e.f. June 16 every year. Admission date must not be extended beyond June 30. And regular teaching work should start on July 1 which, according to the present system, becomes possible only by August 10. Following this schedule, there would be a net gain of 40 days.

Besides, other areas where we’ve the possibility of increasing the number of teaching days are the lengthy period of supplementary examinations and preparatories before the annual exams. The supplementary exams are usually spread over a period of 20 days in September and October and during which the colleges remain closed. This period can be reduced by one-fourth as the number of examinees remain small. On the other hand, regular teaching work must not be suspended in any case before March 15.

Strict adherence to time-bound completion of examinations, evaluation and admissions will have far greater results. The commencement of a session and the beginning of regular teaching work, though inseparably linked, are certainly two different issues required to be dealt with separately. In fact, July 1 should be fixed as the first day of regular teaching work.


Move on autonomy “utopian”
From Sushil Manav

FATEHABAD: The recent move by the state government to grant autonomous status to selected colleges has caused wide-spread apprehension among the teaching community. Senior educationists have not been able to remove the apprehension.

The Directorate of higher Education, Haryana, had written to 20 colleges of repute informing them of its intention to refer their names to the Universities Grant Commission (UGC) for conferring on them the status of “autonomous” institutions.

The concept mooted in 1966 by the Kothari Commission on Education was given shape in the 1986 policy for Education. The concept aims at providing autonomy to colleges of repute in the matter admissions, designing syllabi keeping in view specific needs of the area, conducting annual examinations and declaring results of various classes.

Some Prominent colleges from this area including D.N. College, Hisar, CMK Girls College, Sirsa, and M.M. College, Fatehabad, are among the 20 colleges selected for the purpose. But even before any steps has been taken in this direction, apprehensions have creeped in the minds of the teaching community regarding the implication of the move.

Many colleges that have been selected for the purpose have yet not sent their consent to the government as they are not clear about the policy.

Mr R.K. Sehgal, Principal Government College for Women, here says he opposes the move as it is “impractical”. He says he had opposed the move at two meetings held for this purpose in Chandigarh which were attended by the Education Minister, the Director, Higher Education and the Financial Commissioner, besides the principals, of government colleges.

Mr Sehgal terms the move as a “utopian” one. We Indians don’t have the moral character required for the success of the policy”. He feared that we may not be able to keep secrecy which is the first and foremost requirement in conducting examinations. The administration of colleges may succumb to social and political pressure when it comes to declaration of results.

He mentions certain bottlenecks like lack of infrastructure, lack of staff and requirement of additional funds which are likely to come in the way of proper implementation of the policy. He says instead of going after such a “utopian” policy, the government should first take steps to eradicate copying during university exams.

Dr Madan, an educationist, differs. He says the educational scenario has undergone changes, as against 17 universities and 600 colleges in the country at the time of Independence, there are 254 universities and 10,700 colleges in the country now. The Indian system of higher education, he says, is the second through 3.5 lakh teachers. It is time that certain powers are decentralised to reduce pressure on the universities, he opines.Top



Career Hotline
by Pervin Malhotra

I’m keen on doing MCA after my graduation. Could you please tell me about the kind of job prospects that will be available to me?

Munish Goel, Maur Mandi

With an MCA degree under your belt, the following job opportunities will be available to you in the computer software industry:

Analyst Programmer, Application Programmer, CAD Designer, CAD/CAM Technician, Computer Consultant, Computer Graphics Specialist, Web Developer, Web Master, Computer Operations Manager, Computer Security Analyst, Customer Engineer, Data Communications Specialist, Information Services Executive, Inspection Supervisor, Management Information Systems Analyst, Operations Research Analyst, Program Librarian, Software Services Representative, Systems Analyst, Systems Design Specialist, Systems Development Manager, Systems Maintenance Analyst, Technical Services Manager, Technical Training Manager.

A majority of the above-mentioned jobs require competence in Systems Analysis. The job of a Systems Analyst involves analysing the different sets of manual procedures in use in an organisation and design and develop computerised processes to replace them with. The Systems Analyst is a professional problem solver. The job involves analysing problems or informational needs of an organisation and fulfilling them through the design of efficient patterns of information flows from the data sources to the computer.

For more details and a comprehensive list of courses and their eligibility, you may like to refer to CARING’s Guide to Careers in Computers.

I am a young MBA in a well-paid but extremely high-pressured marketing job. My work involves meeting unrealistic targets month after month. I have suddenly developed symptoms like frequent headaches, listlessness, indigestion and a feeling of constant irritability and exhaustion. Although all my medical tests are clear, my doctor says I could be suffering from job stress. Is there really such a thing, and at my age (I’m only 24)?

Balwinder Singh Sodhi, Chandigarh

Unfortunately job stress is for real. And, fairly common in the fiercely competitive and highly pressured times we live in.

Job stress occurs when the demands of the work situation are greater than a person’s resources to meet those demands. Competition and pressure can combine to make one feel overwhelmed and unable to respond effectively.

Symptoms (quite similar to the ones you describe) often include feeling anxious or depressed, feeling irritable, heavy-headedness, gastric problems, sleeping difficulties and in extreme cases, deteriorating family relations. Besides overwork job stress also results from interpersonal conflict with peers or superiors or from operating under unclear or conflicting expectations. Often people do not realise the extent to which they are suffering from job stress until they have become emotionally exhausted and are unable to continue to work. At which point it is appropriately called a burn-out. Reaching the helm of affairs at a too early stage is another sure passport to early professional burnout rather than to professional excellence. In your single-minded pursuit to win the rat race you miss out on social life and social bonding.

Luckily since you have only recently started working, you have the emotional resources to calmly evaluate your options before the problem become insurmountable. Changing your job may or may not be the best option. Other options which may be more suited to your situation could include redefining and attacking the problem itself, talking things over with your boss and seriously learning how to r-e-l-a-x. Every now and then go away for a brief vacation - just savour the joys of doing nothing. When you return to your work, your judgement will be surer since remaining constantly at work causes one to loose once power of judgement. In the words of Leonardo Da Vinci “Go some distance away because then the problem appears smaller, and more of it can be taken in at a glance, and a lack of harmony or proportion is more readily seen.”

Yoga, meditation or an exhilarating game of Tennis or even a brisk walk could make all the difference. Try it.

I am doing BSc (Agriculture). Could you please tell me about the range of prospects in the field of agriculture?

Jaspreet Kaur, Chandigarh

Agriculture is a vast and diversified field offering numerous career opportunities. It covers a range of activities which include farming, horticulture, floriculture, sericulture, tea and coffee plantation, cultivating rare medicinal herbs or hybrid seeds, dairy and poultry farming - all of which are lucrative professions.

The government is the largest employer of agricultural graduates. A number of government agencies, state departments of agriculture, banks and various trade organisations also hire agricultural graduates. Recruitment for jobs in state departments is done by the respective State Public Service Commissions and the educational requirement is a degree in agriculture or allied fields.

The Indian Council for Agricultural Research (ICAR) is the premier body engaged in agricultural research and thus requires scientists and research scholars (preferably with MSc and higher qualifications). Organisations, such as the Institute for Horticulture Research, National Dairy Development Board and various NGOs are on the look out for trained professionals either on a permanent, contract or project basis. Consultancy is another lucrative field.

Nationalised banks with a rural banking department and the rural banks such as the National Bank for Agriculture & Rural Development (NABARD) also hire professionals from this field.

A number of related careers have also emerged in agri-business and agro-industry. As a result, several industries are involved in producing, processing, packaging, transporting, distribution and marketing of farm products. Also included are those business that supply farmers with goods and services like machinery, seeds, fertilisers, credit and management information.

Could you please tell me which subject combinations are not allowed in the main Civil Services Exam?

Ms Rajvinder Kaur, Ropar

The following subject combinations are not allowed. To avoid inconvenience at a later stage, do check for these combinations right in the beginning.

(a) Political Science & International Relations and Public Administration

(b) Commerce & Accountancy and Management

(c) Anthropology and Sociology

(d) Mathematics and Statistics

(e) Agriculture and Animal Husbandry & Veterinary Science

(f) Management and Public Administration

(g) Of the Engineering subjects, viz., Civil Engineering, Electrical Engineering and Mechanical Engineering - not more than one subject

(h) Animal Husbandry & Veterinary Science and Medical Sciences.

I am working as an untrained teacher in a recognized school. Would it help if I were to do the PG diploma in higher education from IGNOU?

Yogendra Sinha, Patiala

PGDHE is a course that provides necessary knowledge, understanding and skills pertaining to higher education programmes for university and college teachers.

This course is meant for regular teachers in universities, colleges and other institutions of higher learning.

The eligibility for this Diploma is PG (50%)/professional degree in Engineering, medicine or agricultural science. Hence, provided you have done your Masters and are planning to become a lecturer, will this course be helpful. However, to teach at the college or university level, you also need to qualify the UGC NET or SLET (State Level Eligibility Test).

I run a small handloom business which I have inherited from my father. Is there any course in handloom technology that can help me with my business?

Rajesh Kumar, Pinjore

A 3-yr Diploma in Handloom Technology is offered by the Indian Institute Of Handloom Technology, Jodhpur. Application forms for this course can be obtained free of cost from the Directorate of Industries, Haryana, 30 Bays Building, Sector 17, Chandigarh.

Of late, I’ve been deluged with hundreds of queries (mainly unaddressed) sent directly to my office. As much as I would like to, you will appreciate that I can’t possibly accommodate them all in my columns or reply to each one personally.

I am working in a private firm and wish to do MA. I have heard that some universities offer admission directly to MA with or without previous qualifications. If it is possible, please advise.

Kiran Sharma, Delhi

Yes it is true that some universities do offer courses in MA without any previous, formal qualification. It’s a wonderful opportunity for those who could not complete their formal education for whatever reason. So do make the most of it.

One Open University and three others offer these courses through their Distance Education Programme. Here are the details:

* Annamalai University, Directorate of Distance Education, Annamalainagar 608002..

Notification: April/May.

*Bangalore University, Directorate of Distance Education, Jnana Bharathi,. Bangalore 560056.

Notification: July.

* Madurai Kamraj University, Directorate of Distance Education. Madurai 625021.

Notification: May/June.

* Karnataka State Open University, Pavate Nagar, Dharwad 580003.

Notification: May/June.

The duration of these courses is 2 years and the minimum age should be 25 yrs. Also, Annamalai and Madurai University conduct an entrance test for admission to these courses.Top