Time to sound death knell for teaching shops
D.S. Cheema
THE education system of any country reveals its real state of development. Every citizen has the right and must demand an education system that is capable of solving his present-day problems and raising his life to the level of prosperity and happiness. According to Albert Einstein, “Education is what is left behind after you have forgotten what you learnt in the classroom”. It is something that stays with you for the rest of your life and stands by you when you need it.


Campus NoteS



Time to sound death knell for teaching shops
D.S. Cheema

THE education system of any country reveals its real state of development. Every citizen has the right and must demand an education system that is capable of solving his present-day problems and raising his life to the level of prosperity and happiness. According to Albert Einstein, “Education is what is left behind after you have forgotten what you learnt in the classroom”. It is something that stays with you for the rest of your life and stands by you when you need it.

Today’s fiercely competitive environment forces students to go to anyone who promises hope of admission in a prestigious college or a career.
Today’s fiercely competitive environment forces students to go to anyone who promises hope of admission in a prestigious college or a career. Tribune file photo for symbolic purposes only

Unfortunately, our existing education system falls flat when assessed on these parameters. What has gone wrong, since the ancient times, when our teachers and the education system were considered the best in the world? Our ‘temples of education’, which were proud of their Guru-Shishya tradition and produced best scholars in the world, have been commercialised to such an extent that the students, parents and teachers are all ashamed of the existing state of affairs. Society at large and media in particular have chosen to ignore the menace of tuition culture far too long. Now it is their social obligation to ensure that some remedial measures are initiated to stop further decay of an already rotten education system.

How the rot sets in

Most of our schools and colleges churn out sub-standard quality pass-outs who are unfit to be employed internationally or in the domestic market without some professional training. Professional institutions, especially private or autonomous, hold stringent entrance tests for different types of courses in an effort to maintain their academic standards. While on one hand the learning output of students is poor, on the other the entrance tests are tough. This forces helpless parents and students to become victims of tuition shops.

Competition is the essence of worthwhile existence of all human beings, and today’s fiercely competitive environment has forced students to adopt short cuts to secure admission to one or the other professional programme. Students and parents get their first taste of competition ahead, when they are interviewed for admission to play-way, nursery or KG classes of a ‘good’ school. The tuition culture earns its first causality; the parents soon realise that their children have the compulsion of edging their way to the merit of IIT, IIM, PMT and CET, etc. And anyone who offers them some hope becomes their messiah.

The Ministry of Human Resources Development is responsible for ensuring that the pattern of education and the syllabus is so scientific and need-based that a student grows with such inputs of knowledge and skill which match his physical and mental maturity. However, our curriculum lacks imagination and expects the student to mug up the facts and reproduce them verbatim to secure a high percentage.

The CBSE tries to make the syllabus as comprehensive as possible by packing in anything and everything that is taught anywhere in the world, leaving the teacher and student struggling to rush through it in the limited time available. A large number of holidays coupled with extra-curricular activities leave very little time for the all-important process of teaching and learning. To top it all, teachers do not promote and students do not relish self-study. Many teachers don’t update themselves and continue to deliver the same lectures and solve the same standard and stale questions day in, day out for years unless forced to change because of changes in the syllabus.

The students expect the same questions in the examination that have been solved in the class by their teacher and even a minor variation in a question puts them off. Homework and tuitions kill the initiative and creativity of a sharp and intelligent student who wants to clarify the basic concepts.

Unscrupulous teachers, tuition academies or tutorials, etc., have made the best of this chaos prevailing in the education sector, i.e., poorly-drafted syllabus, non-committed professionally ill-equipped teachers and above all a couldn’t-care-less attitude of State/Central governments, State Education Boards and universities and indifference of society at large.

Confused and unwary average student, who is keen to make it big in the future, is the ideal target for these education shops that lure him by using the power of publicity and advertisement. They go to the extent of paying money to a student who tops in an examination because of his own effort, to have his photograph published along with the name of their institution. They classify the students according to the percentage of marks and the capacity to pay, say a separate class of students who are average in performance but can pay huge fee and another with such students who have scored more than 80 per cent marks in the previous examinations but cannot pay big amounts.

A potential candidate in his anxiety to do well in the competitive examination ignores the fact that for every one student securing a position or getting selected, there are hundreds who don’t figure anywhere. The academies use the same teachers who are not motivated enough to guide and support their regular classes, but put in every ounce of their energy in making a fast buck from these academies. There are any number of examples where even petty tuition-shop owners have made big and have become Chancellors of universities.

Some remedies

The following measures are suggested to improve the present state of affairs:

  • Schools and colleges must focus on the learning of students and not on teaching. The teaching mode lays emphasis on inputs given to the student in terms of syllabus taught by sub-standard and de-motivated teachers. The input orientation fails to adopt the requirements of terminal behaviour of students and keeps spoon-feeding the demands of the syllabus. Educational institutions must ensure that at appropriate time, good students with the potential to excel are segregated and prepared for the competitive examination in a systematic manner, while laying emphasis on clearing their fundamentals. They should adopt good students and invest in them. If every college/school follows this course, teaching shops will meet their end in the due course of time.
  • Managements of private schools that are in a position to show the way must provide all support to the Principal to innovate and take bold steps to promote aids to good learning in their schools. Aids to good learning must become a part of the system. The management should play a proactive role in selecting and integrating technology in the education delivery process.
  • The schools must, where required, hire resource persons trained to motivate the students and teachers to explore the meaning of true education.
  • Teachers must teach themselves. They should update their knowledge base and use latest techniques to impart instructions. Most teachers don’t realise that their knowledge has an expiry date.
  • Teacher-parent meetings should not remain mere rituals they are at present. The parents should understand that they must invest in the future of their children by sparing some quality time.

It is hoped that schools and colleges understand that their present approach towards teaching can, at best, be described as short-sighted and they may be driven out by competition by better institutions in the due course of time.


Social networking, texting linked to poor academic performance

WASHINGTON: The rampant use of social networking, texting and chatting on mobile phone can result in lower grades and poor performance of students, says a study. The widespread use of media among college students — from texting, chatting on mobile phones to posting status updates on Facebook — may be affecting their academic performance, say researchers at the Miriam Hospital’s Centres for Behavioural and Preventive Medicine in the US. The study showed that women spend nearly half their day — 12 hours — engaged in some form of media use, particularly texting, music, the Internet and social networking. Researchers found that media use in general was associated with lower grade point averages and other negative academic outcomes. However, there were two exceptions: newspaper reading and listening to music were actually linked to a positive academic performance. The findings, reported online by the journal Emerging Adulthood, offer some new insight into media use in early adulthood, a time when many young people are living independently for the first time and have significant freedom from parental monitoring, reports Science Daily. — IANS

Fewer women from prestigious colleges work full time

WASHINGTON: Women with degrees from top universities are less likely to be working full time compared to their counterparts from less selective schools, a first-of-its-kind study in the US has found. The research by Joni Hersch, Professor of Law and Economics and Management, Vanderbilt University, shows that female graduates of elite undergraduate universities are working much fewer hours than their counterparts from less selective institutions, especially if they have kids. “Even though elite graduates are more likely to earn advanced degrees, marry at later ages and have higher expected earnings, they are still opting out of full-time work at much higher rates than other graduates, especially if they have children,” said Hersch. Hersch’s research finds that 60 per cent of female graduates from elite colleges are working full time compared to 68 per cent of women from other schools. — PTI


Campus NoteS

Dr Y.S. Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry, Nauni, Solan

3-day exposure visit for farmers

THE Directorate of Extension Education organised a three-day exposure visit for 26 farmers of Dharampur, Garkhal, Kotla, Oachghat, Rajgarh, Pachad and Kasauli panchayats under the Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojna Project. Dr Anil Sood, the principle investigator of the project, while giving information said the farmers were given field exposure at different experimental farms of the university. Dr Dharmesh Gupta imparted versatile information about mushroom cultivation, while Dr Amit gave tips on vegetable production. Dr Jitender informed the farmers about fruit and nursery production, while Dr Meenu Sood gave tips on cultivation of medicinal and aromatic plants. While Dr Harish Sharma informed the farmers about bee-keeping, Dr K.C Sharma and Dr Narender discussed about pests and diseases of vegetables and fruit, and their management. The farmers were also taken to KVK, Kandaghat, model floriculture farm, Mahog, where Dr J.P. Sharma informed about the cultivation of different varieties of flowers. The group also interacted with the progressive farmers there who informed them about the cultivation, packing and marketing of flowers. On the concluding day, Dr N.B. Singh, Director of Extension Education, advised the farmers to adopt the latest technology made available to them by university scientists. He also asked the farmers to contact the directorate in case they needed any training on any specialised subject.

Crucial posts to fall vacant soon

The crucial posts of various statutory officials will soon fall vacant following the retirement of various officials. This includes librarian M.S. Pathania, who is due to retire by the month-end; Dean, College of Horticulture, Dr R.C. Sharma, who after completing his five-year tenure will return to his parent university at Ludhiana; and Dean, College of Forestry, Dr S.D. Kashyap, who will also retire by the month-end. The other crucial posts like Director, Research, and Director, Extension Education, are also being held on additional basis, thus adversely affecting the working of the university. Interestingly, Student Welfare Officer A.S. Chandel after having retired has now got a six-month extension, thus paving the way for more officials to apply for the same.

Apple orchards

A team comprising Dr Anil Sood, Dr Jitender and Dr Narinder Bharat visited apple orchards of two panchayats in Habban area of Sirmaur district and suggested solutions to various problems. This included measures to deal with diseases like canker, wooly aphid and mites. They were also given tips on how to prepare basins to deal with nutritional deficiencies in apple orchards and biological methods of dealing with various insect pests.

Vigilance probe

The visit of SP, Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau, Virender Tomar, to the university campus last week was an issue of debate in university circles, especially since a complaint pertaining to irregularities in recruitments and financial matters is being investigated by the bureau. While the aggrieved were hopeful that some justice would follow, those against whom inquires were being conducted were having anxious movements. It is worth mentioning that various cases of irregularities in recruitments had come to fore in the last few years, where favourties had been given appointments bypassing various norms.

— Contributed by Ambika Sharma