EDUCATION TRIBUNE

Falling standards of teaching
The Centre and states need to sort out the mess that they have created in higher education
Raman Mohan

India today boasts of having 3,000-plus universities and more than 16,000 colleges which together produce about three million graduates a year. This army of graduates that we produce every year happens to be the third largest such army in the world, with only the USA and China ahead of us. However, in terms of quality very few of our graduates have any use for the degrees handed to them.

Staff college makes its mark
Varinder Walia
THE Academic Staff College (ASC), Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, has been instrumental in understanding the significance of higher education in the global and Indian contexts since its inception in 1988.

Campus NoteS
Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar

  • Five-member NAAC team visits campus
  • UGC-NET exam on Dec 30

ADMISSION DEADLINE 

 

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Falling standards of teaching
The Centre and states need to sort out the mess that they have created in higher education
Raman Mohan

India today boasts of having 3,000-plus universities and more than 16,000 colleges which together produce about three million graduates a year. This army of graduates that we produce every year happens to be the third largest such army in the world, with only the USA and China ahead of us. However, in terms of quality very few of our graduates have any use for the degrees handed to them. It does not guarantee them a respectable job and it does not necessarily reflect their skills if any. Over the years this problem has only got more vexed, thanks to government polices both at the Centre as well as the states as education happens to be on the concurrent list of subjects in the Constitution which in effect means higher education these days is nobody’s baby.

In terms of quality and employability, only the Indian Institutes of Technology, Indian Institutes of Management, a few law schools and some select institutions like the XLRI, Jamshedpur, are really world-class higher education centres. The rest are breaking records only in the number of graduates they line up at the convocations year after year. But even these international-class-learning centres are not exactly serving the larger interest of the nation, though for no fault of theirs. Among the IITians around half go to the USA for higher education and most do not come back at all or at least for two decades. However, the IIM alumni are still choosing to serve in India itself because they are now getting the highest salaries in the country thanks to the new economy that has boosted industrial growth.

Though the rot began to set in the 80s, the downhill slide became uncontrollable in 1990 when the concept of privatising higher education in India was introduced with an eye on cutting government expenditure on higher education. Accordingly, institutions of higher learning saw drastic cuts in grants by the government. In a few years, universities were starving for funds for infrastructure and research. In 1997, a government discussion paper termed higher education as a “non-merit good” and elementary education was classified as “merit good”. In practical terms, this meant government funding to institutions of learning would become scarcer and scarcer. And that is exactly what happened. In the mid-90s, most universities saw bans on recruitment that have been in place after more than a decade.

Other than funds crunch, what has stifled universities around the country is politicisation. The spoils system that has now become the hallmark of universities nationwide has ensured that cronies of chief ministers are appointed as Vice-Chancellors without consideration to their academic brilliance. The VCs are unceremoniously removed as soon as there is change of guard at the political level. The manner in which VCs have been appointed in Punjab and Haryana recently is a good example of how our politicians are killing academic excellence in the universities. One only needs to remember the contribution of Dr A. C. Joshi which stands out more and more as years go by.

Chancellors, who are in most cases former politicians, too, are playing their role in ensuring that universities do not recover from this malaise. Most Chancellors treat VCs like lowly government employees who can be snubbed and insulted at their will. In a way, the VCs are responsible for their plight as they occupy their posts not to their academic merit but their political connections. This cause and effect argument has no end, yet it is clear that those whom we entrust the task of improving our higher education are actually responsible for its decline.

Incoherent policies framed by the bureaucracy come next in the list. The evil of privatisation of higher education was let out of the bag without giving a thought to the practicalities. The result is a complete mess in the higher education field and multiplication of regulators —the University Grants Commission, several all India bodies like AICTE and national councils on a variety of educational aspects. The private sector was quick to grab the opportunities this mess offered to it to fleece students looking for a technical degree. Higher education institutes have resultantly mushroomed all over the country with fancy-looking buildings dotting the national highways. The fancy facades are symbolic of the fancy worthless degrees they are doling out.

In this scenario, while the IITs and IIMs have ensured that technical and management talent is nurtured, the neglect of universities has meant that the arts, basic sciences and literature become the worst sufferers. Our universities have failed to upgrade themselves academically. They are still being run like they were 50 years ago—tradition bound and moribund. Unlike IITs and IIMs, lack of good salaries to top academicians has promoted mediocrity in universities. The college teacher and the university don get equal salaries for unequal work.

Perhaps even that could be excusable. But how does one explain contractual faculty in the garb of guest teachers engaged at salaries that are a shade higher than the government prescribed minimum wage for labourers? The ban on regular appointments in universities and thereafter in colleges, both government and private, has brought in this system where contracted teachers have neither commitment to their work nor hopes for a future in the academic world. How does one expect them to shape the future of their students when they are not sure about their own?

The only way to saving the future of our youth as well as the nation itself is for the governments in the states as well as the Centre to realise the mess that they have created in higher education. There is no need to appoint commissions to set things right. The problems are there to see with the naked eye. And so are the solutions provided there is will. It’s already late and any more slight delay will only plunge the country’s future in to darkness where the shine of the current economic growth will do no wonders. There will only be darkness with young hands groping in it for help.
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Staff college makes its mark
Varinder Walia

Prof Neeraj Jain, of Jiwaji University, Gwalior, delivering a lecture on physics at the Academic Staff College, Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar
Prof Neeraj Jain, of Jiwaji University, Gwalior, delivering a lecture on physics at the Academic Staff College, Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar

THE Academic Staff College (ASC), Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, has been instrumental in understanding the significance of higher education in the global and Indian contexts since its inception in 1988.

The college has been attracting teachers from various parts of the country and has become a podium, where the university’s academic community shares its knowledge, insights and ideas with the larger academic community of the country on a reciprocal basis.

According to ASC Director Harbhajan Singh Bhatia, the main philosophy of the institute is to keep in mind that the teacher is central to the system.

Various orientation courses enable the teachers of different disciplines to improve their teaching skills at the college/university level to achieve goals of higher education. These courses also keep abreast of the latest developments in their specific subjects.

The refresher courses enable the teacher of subject-oriented discipline to provide opportunities for teachers in service, to exchange their ideas and knowledge with their peers and to mutually learn from each other. These courses also help in disseminating the ideas on improving self-reliance and becoming competent in teaching career in the present-day technological world.

Giving a status report, Bhatia said the UGC-Academic Staff College is currently one of the 56 Academic Staff Colleges operating in the country. Eminent Professors such as N. S. Mavi (education), Gurupdesh Singh (English), S. K. Bhatia (English), B. R. Batra, (planning) have served as its Directors from time to time. On an average, 12-14 programmes are conducted in a year in which nearly 500 teachers are imparted training. The courses are conducted on the lines of participative and interactive learning style. Each programme has an objective and scientific mechanism for evaluation and grades are given on the basis of performance of the teacher-participants in project work, seminars and multiple-choice tests.

The ASC has so far conducted 72 orientation programmes and 135 refresher courses since its inception. Besides, it has also organised a number of workshops for Principals, conferences of heads of departments and Deans, workshop of officers and a pilot refresher course in IT for Directors of the Academic Staff Colleges.

The ASC has a computer laboratory with Internet facility, administrative room, Director’s room, two lecture halls, hostel, 3 TVs, VCR, three over-head projectors, multimedia projectors with screens, and photocopier. Female participants are placed in five rooms of the Faculty House allocated to the ASC.

Recently, the university Syndicate vide its meeting has appreciated the achievements of the Academic Staff College.
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Campus NoteS
Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar
Five-member NAAC team vists campus

A five-member PEER team of NAAC under the University Grants Commission (UGC) team was in the Amritsar city from December 4 to 8 to assess the offer of the GNDU for reaccreditations under the news methodology of the grade system.

The team visited various departments and science laboratories, and inspected the state-of-the-art facilities being provided by the university. The team also interacted with employees, students, members of the Syndicate and alumni of the university.

The PEER team of the NAAC, an autonomous body of the UGC, is responsible for assessing the performance of universities for reaccreditation with the UGC for the next five years.

According to sources, the Chairman of the team, while addressing heads and other faculty members of various departments, said the university was perhaps the first university in the country, which had offered for reaccreditation under the UGC’s new methodology. The sources said the university, which earlier fell under the five-star category, was likely to get ‘A’ grade in the assessment conducted by the team.

The sources said the team members were impressed with the facilities being provided in the Sports Department. They also lauded the performance of those students who had brought laurels to the university by winning the MAKA trophy. The team also appreciated the scholarship of Rs 25,000 being provided to young research fellows for initiating research projects started by various departments. The team will submit its report to a committee, which will examine the report for granting reaccreditation to the university.

UGC-NET exam on Dec 30

The university has despatched admit cards to the candidates appearing for the NET examination for lectureship and junior research fellowship to be held on December 30.

Coordinator Dr M. P. Mahajan said 13 centers—five on the campus and eight in affiliated colleges— had been established for the conduct of the test.

Those candidates who don’t receive their admit cards till December 26 are advised to contact the office of the Coordinator, located at the Administrative Block of the university, from December 27 to 29, with two identical passport-size attested photographs, he said, adding that no admit cards would be issued on the day of the test under any circumstances. 

Contributed by Sanjay Bumbroo

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ADMISSION DEADLINE 
Agriculture

Dr Yashwant Singh Parmar University of Horticulture & Forestry, Nauni, Solan 173230 (HP) www.ysparmaruniversity.ac.in

PhD in:1) College of Horticulture: Biotechnology / Entomology & Apiculture / Floriculture & Landscaping / Fruit Breeding & Genetic Resources / Mycology & Plant Pathology / Pomology / Post Harvest Technology / Vegetable Crops 2) College of Forestry: Agriculture Economics / Agroforestry / Forest Products / Microbiology / Silviculture / Soil Science & Water Mgmt / Tree Improvement & Genetic Resources

Eligibility: MSc in relevant subject (65% or OCPA 6.5/10).

Selection: Interview: For 1: Jan 21, ’08; For 2: Jan 22 ’08

Application Form: Send Rs 300/- by DD favouring the “Comptroller, Dr Yashwant Singh Parmar University of Horticulture & Forestry” payable at State Bank of Patiala, Nauni to the Registrar at the above address / Download from website.

Application Deadline: 17 January 2008

Art & Design

The Apparel Training & Design Centre (ATDC), Apparel House, Institutional Area, Sector 44, Gurgaon (Har) (M/o Textiles, GoI) 
www.aepcindia.com

1) Diploma in Apparel Manufacturing Technology (1 year)

2) Diploma in Knit Garment Manufacturing Technology (1 year)

3) Diploma in Textile Design (1 year)

4) Diploma in Fashion Sampling / Co-ordination (1 year)

5) Production Supervision & Quality Control Course (6 months)

6) Textile Appreciation Course (6 months)

7) Pattern / Cutting Master Course (6 months)

8) Machine Mechanic Course (4 months)

9) Garment Construction Course (4 months)

10) Sewing Machine Operator Course (3 months)

11) Measurement & Quality Control Course (3 months)

12) Apparel Merchandising Course (3 months)

13) Apparel CAD Course (1½ months)

(Courses offered at 14 ATDC centers in India. Special morning classes for working people)

Eligibility: For 1-6: Class 12.For 7-11: Class 10.For 10: Class 8.For 12: Bachelors degree/ Diploma in AMT.For 13: Class 12 / Diploma in AMT / IIHT / PSQC / PCMC

Selection: Oral Aptitude Test / Interview.

Application Form: Send Rs 140/ - by DD favouring “Apparel Training & Design Centre,” payable at A-223, Okhla Industrial Area, Phase-I, New Delhi 110020 / In cash : Rs 100/- from designated centres, Download from website.

Details: Employment News (08 – 14 December 2007) / website

Application Deadline: 09 January 2008

Pearl Academy of Fashion, A 21/13, Naraina Industrial Area, Phase II, New Delhi 110028 www.pearlacademy.com

PG Diploma Programmes: (2 years)

Fashion Retail (Delhi / Jaipur / Chennai)

Fashion Merchandising (Delhi / Chennai)Garment Manufacturing (Delhi)

Fashion Marketing (Delhi)Fashion Design (Indian Wear) (Delhi / Jaipur)

Textile Design (Home Fashion) (Chennai)

Eligibility: Bachelors degree

Selection: General Proficiency Test: 03 February 2008. AIMA-MAT scorers exempted.

Application Form: Apply on-line.

Application Deadline: 18 January 2008

Srishti School of Art, Design & Technology, PO Box 6430, Yelahanka, New Town, Bangalore 560064 (Kar) www.srishti.ac.in

1) Foundation Studies Program (2 years) 2) Professional Diploma Program (2½ years) 3) Advanced Diploma Program (2½ years)

Eligibility: For 1: 10+2 For 2: UG education in Design / Fine / Applied Art / Architecture and related fields (min 2 years) / relevant work experienceFor 3: Bachelors degree in (Technology / Computing / Fine / Applied Art / Music / Design / Architecture / Film / Animation / Education)

Application Form: Download from website.

Application Deadline: March 1, 2008

Engineering

Central Institute of Tool Design, Balanagar, Hyderabad 500037 (AP) (M/o MSME, GoI Society) www.citdindia.org

Certificate Courses for SC / ST Candidates in CAD / CAM & Automation (1 year, Full Time)

Eligibility: Degree / Diploma / ITI (with experience) in (Mechanical / Production / Electrical / Electronics / Instrumentation / Automobile)

Application Forms & Details: Employment News (08 – 14 December 2007) / Website.

Indo-German Tool Room, 291 B, 302 A, Sector E, Industrial Area, Sanwar Road, Indore 452015 (MP) (M/o MSME, GoI Society) www.igtr-indore.com

1) AutoCAD / AutoCAD for ITI students (2 weeks)2) Pro-E / Unigraphics / Catia (3 weeks)

3) AutoCAD + CNC Technology / MasterCAM + AutoCAD / Solidworks + AutoCAD (4 weeks) 4) Post Diploma CAD / CAM (6 months)

5) CNC Machining (6 months) Details: Employment News (08 – 14 December 2007) / website

Indian Institute of Maritime Studies, C/o Lal Bhadur Shastri College of Advanced Maritime Studies & Research, Hay Bunder Road, Mumbai 400033 (Mah) http://iims.dgshipping.com

1) BSc Nautical Science (3 yrs) at TS Chanakya, Navi Mumbai 2) BE (Marine Engg) (4 yrs) at Marine Engineering & Research Institute (MERI), Kolkata 3) Polyvalent BSc (Maritime Sc) (3 yrs)  at Marine Engineering & Research Institute (MERI), Mumbai

Eligibility: 10+2 (PCM & English) Age: Born on or after (01 October 1988)

Selection: IIT (JEE): 13 April ’08, Counselling Application Form: Send Rs 300 by DD favouring “Indian Institute of Maritime Studies”, payable at Mumbai with stamped (Rs 55) self addressed envelope (11”x5”) at the above address / download from site.

Details: Website

Application Deadline: 02 April 2008

Finance

The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India, Indraprastha Marg, New Delhi 110002 www.icai.org

Common Proficiency Test

Exam: 03 February ‘08.

Eligibility: Candidates who have registered for the course with the ICA Board of Studies

Application Form & Details: Website

Application Deadline: 26 Dec.

Languages

Central Hindi Directorate, D/o Correspondence Courses, West Block 7, RK Puram, New Delhi 110066 (M/o HRD, D/o Higher Education)

Hindi Courses (Prabodh, Praveen & Pragya), Distance

Eligibility: Non-Hindi speaking employees of Kendriya Vidyalayas / Central Govt/ PSUs / Statutory bodies

Selection: First com, first serve basis.

Application Form: Send in prescribed format with Rs 50/- by IPO/ DD favouring “The Director, Central Hindi Directorate,” payable at New Delhi / Delhi to the Deputy Director at the above address.

Application Deadline: 31 December 2007

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