EDUCATION TRIBUNE

Inadequate infrastructure
J.P. Garg

The number of Bachelor of Education (B.Ed) colleges in Punjab has increased manifold during the past four years. As against 23 in 2003, the number now stands at 136. And it is likely to swell in the future because these colleges are treated as money-minting machines.

Implement quality control
Smriti Sharma

It’s easily the pride among the city colleges with the likes of Kalpana Chawla as alumni of Punjab Engineering College, Chandigarh. While a lot of the credit for its success goes to the top-notch faculty and the brilliant students, the captain of the ship invariably decides the course his ship will take. And here, under the stewardship of Prof Vijay Gupta, the engineering college, upgraded to a deemed university recently, has touched new heights.

Campus NoteS

  • Scientist gets UK varsity fellowship  

  • Induction programme for MBA students

  • Workshop on folklore

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Inadequate infrastructure
J.P. Garg

The number of Bachelor of Education (B.Ed) colleges in Punjab has increased manifold during the past four years. As against 23 in 2003, the number now stands at 136. And it is likely to swell in the future because these colleges are treated as money-minting machines.

In a meeting of the Syndicate held in November last year, the Vice-Chancellor of Panjab University, Chandigarh, admitted that some colleges were running in demolished poultry sheds, including one in a cowshed, while some are housed in rented buildings. These colleges have come under cloud for inadequate infrastructure, unqualified staff and part-time principals, good libraries, hostels and other facilities. Laboratories mandatory under the conditions laid down by the National Council of Teacher Education (NCTE) are non-existent in many colleges. Despite all this these colleges have succeeded in obtaining temporary/provisional affiliation from the university.

Though the Supreme Court has set clear rules and the procedure for filling the management quota seats, these rules are flouted with impunity. Maximum seats are deliberately kept under this quota because each student is charged between Rs 1 lakh and 2 lakh for a seat. Thus, every college makes tens of lakh of rupees each year.

Now, facing severe criticism from various quarters, the university authorities are taking note of the matter. As a result of surprise checking, Punjabi University, Patiala, recently issued notices to 20 B.Ed. colleges (out of 50 functioning under it), threatening to disaffiliate these if they do not fulfil the requirements set forth by the NCTE. How these “shoddy” colleges were granted affiliation initially is incomprehensible.

The steps taken by Panjab University in this direction need special mention. It created some sort of history by constituting 55 panels of experts to inspect as many B.Ed. colleges with a view to recommend affiliation and maintain standards. The Vice-Chancellor also promised to take prompt action in the matter. The minutes of the meeting of the Syndicate held on July 7, 2007, contain inspection reports of only 21 committees. Many of these committees have recommended affiliation on the basis of undertaking given by the principal/management due to certain inadequacies prevalent in the colleges, against the NCTE norms. A few other reports are silent about meeting some of these norms.

The inspection report for the grant of extension of affiliation to a college in Punjab makes queer reading. Objections raised by the committee say that except for the principal (who does not have DDO powers), all the seven lecturers have been appointed on ad hoc basis with no regular pay scale; a teacher having a master’s degree in music is teaching social studies; number of reference books in the library is inadequate; the psychology laboratory doesn’t have sufficient tests; the computer lab is housed in an unfurnished room; the college has facility only for two games; the hostel facility has been improvised on the top floor of the residence of the chairman; the college lacks an academic ambience; the college has yet to be shifted to a proper building fulfilling the NCTE requirements and lastly, the college has not maintained the record of any cultural activities.

In spite of these serious lapses enunciated by the committee itself, it finally recommends: “In view of the undertaking given by the chairman to fulfil the various conditions, except the building, the committee unanimously recommends that the extension of affiliation for the year 2007-2008 be granted.”

The pertinent question is whether there should be a provision for granting provisional affiliation. Shouldn’t admissions be allowed only after all the conditions laid down by the NCTE are actually met?

In a recent judgment, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has ruled that the affiliation granted to an institute does not essentially mean that admissions are bound to be made for that session. On the other hand, these colleges in Punjab are churning out 15,600 graduates in education every year.

It is unfortunate that the graduates have nowhere to go and join such colleges out of sheer frustration, sometimes paying through their nose. Already, there are about 80,000 unemployed B.Ed degree holders in Punjab. Churning out more in thousands every year will turn this problem into a giant. Above all, these trained graduates have been facing the wrath of lathi-wielding policemen while asking for jobs not only during the previous government but also in the present regime, which made tall promises for removing unemployment. Is it not a cruel joke on the future of could-be teachers of our society? Are the governments listening?


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Implement quality control
Smriti Sharma

Prof Vijay Gupta
Prof Vijay Gupta

It’s easily the pride among the city colleges with the likes of Kalpana Chawla as alumni of Punjab Engineering College, Chandigarh. While a lot of the credit for its success goes to the top-notch faculty and the brilliant students, the captain of the ship invariably decides the course his ship will take. And here, under the stewardship of Prof Vijay Gupta, the engineering college, upgraded to a deemed university recently, has touched new heights.

An alumnus of IIT, Delhi, and a PhD from the University of Minnesota, Prof Gupta began his teaching career way back in 1973 in the Aerospace Engineering Wing of the IIT, Kanpur. He was appointed as the Director of PEC in December 2004 and on July 27, 2007 he tendered his resignation for reasons unstated.

In a tęte-ŕ-tęte, Prof Gupta talks about the changing face of technical education, particularly engineering education in India, and more.

“When I started teaching more than three decades ago, only the best of the students would join engineering courses. Gradually, with the economic conditions in the country improving, a need of engineering graduates was felt. Subsequently, in the early 1980s, the motivation levels of the students joining in came down to a certain level. And later came a stage, when the methods of getting in an engineering college were completely altered. With coaching centres proliferating, the stress was only on undergoing intensive coaching, and so it is now,” he avers.

Students are no more interested in learning the concepts, instead, the focus is now only on problem solving. A lot has been said and done so far to improve the falling standards of technical education, says Gupta who is also a member of the board of undergraduate courses of AICTE and a member of the advisory group of the National Knowledge Commission.

“What matters is the implementation. There is need to have a quality control over what is being taught in the classes. The actual content delivery needs to be checked,” he suggests.

For any educational institution to progress, the faculty and all the members need to give their 100 per cent. As a curative measure, colleges should be deregulated for them to do some good for the benefit of students. Also, there is need to identify the nature of students vis-ŕ-vis the current industry practices. Entrance examinations like AIEEE and JEE should be scrapped. This is only one indicator; instead the students should be admitted on the basis of Class X and Class XII examinations, which are the foundation classes.

“The industry is cutting edge and its demands are specific. Due to the present cutthroat competition, even the teachers need to be abreast with the current industry practices. Only then the classroom teaching can be beneficial in real terms,” says Prof Gupta.

As regards to the PEC status being upgraded to that of an IIT, Prof Gupta feels the college has all it takes to be an IIT in terms of its curriculum and infrastructure and students who are at par with IITians. However, “indiscipline among some of the members of the faculty that has crept in is a major hurdle in its way. Needless to add that the students of PEC deserve much better environment to study and grow ahead,” he concludes.


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Campus NoteS

CCS Haryana Agricultural University, Hisar
Scientist gets UK varsity fellowship  

Dr R.S. Antil, a senior soil scientist of Haryana Agricultural University, has been awarded a three-month post-doctoral fellowship by the University of Aberdeen Scotland, UK.

He has been awarded this fellowship on the basis of his recent research papers published in international journals on agriculture. During his fellowship, beginning from September, Dr Antil will work to quantify nitrogen dioxide production from soil by using dual-isotope labelling technique. 

Along with this fellowship, the University of Aberdeen has also offered him the honorary staff status, which is considered a rare distinction for any agricultural scientist.

Dr Antil who is a winner of the Fertiliser Association of India (FAI) award for the year 2000-2001, has already availed post-doctoral fellowship from a number of agricultural universities and institutes of abroad. These include Catholic University, Leuvan (Belgium); Wageningen Agricultural University, Netherlands; the Institute of Soil Water and Environmental Sciences, Israel; Austrian Research Centres, Siebersdorf, Austria and Stapledon Foundation and IGER, UK.

Maharshi Dayanand University, Rohtak
Induction programme for MBA students

A novel induction programme of the newly admitted students of the MBA programme at the Institute of Management Studies and Research (IMSAR) of Maharshi Dayanand University (MDU) was organised recently. Corporate professionals as well as IMSAR alumni educated the students about the corporate sector’s roadmap for success.

The corporate professionals in their addresses advised the students to have a positive attitude, passion for work, good communication skills, team spirit.

The MDU Vice-Chancellor, Prof R. S. Dhankar, exhorted the students to develop a strategic vision towards their career and life goals.

Workshop on folklore

The Department of English at MDU will host a workshop on folklore and theatre from September 9 to 11. The Head, Department of English, Prof S. P. S. Dahiya, said Philip Zitowitz, Associate Professor, Meiji University, Tokyo (Japan), Jacques Rochas, renowned Director of Portuguese Folklore Theatre, and Anna Barros, Dramatist and Teacher (Portugal) would conduct the theatre workshop. This workshop will focus on folklore, traditional and modern theatre, acting skills, honing communication skills through theatre.

— Contributed by Raman Mohan and Sunit Dhawan


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Bioinformatics Institute of India, C 56 A/28, Sector 62, Noida 201301 (UP)
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