Adhocism in higher education

Prof. Ravinder Chadha
The  University Grants Commission has issued a data depicting quite a dismal picture of colleges all over India where more than sixty percent teachers are working on contractual basis. One can easily gauge the standard of higher education all over the country which is constantly showing downward trend. It seems as if qualitative teaching at under graduate level is not on the agenda of Government. The situation is no different in our State colleges in which more than seventy percent teachers are engaged on contractual basis. The trend is even worst in B.Ed colleges where class work in most of the colleges has become sheer a formality. All students are given almost full attendance certificate required to appear in the examinations. Teachers are engaged for a few months to complete their registers rather than consciously taking their teaching assignments.
But no one comes forward to own the responsibility of deteriorating standards of education in the colleges. Instead, everybody put his back to boast of having so many colleges. Government may offer an excuse on the pretext that appointment of confirmed teachers is stayed by the high court on the issue of eligibility criterion. But this does not absolve Government from this self created mess because it has not shown any will and determination to bring higher education out of this critical situation. Had this not been so, the Government would have come with some concrete proposal for speedy recruitment before the court. Perhaps the prevailing criterion suits the Government in saving finances at the cost of quality education which is none of the concern of the Government. This is why, the Government has preferred in the State the quantity aspect rather than quality aspect i.e. opening of new colleges rather than opting for consolidation of existing colleges.
I don’t say that all contractual teachers are not a competent lot, some of them may be fully devoted and dedicated but majority fails to deliver on the point of accountability which is prerequisite for any teacher. Moreover, at the same time question arises why should best brain serve and consciously got involved in the system for just Rs 15000 for longer time? They will prefer to switch on to some other departments against their wish, the moment some opportunity strikes them. The Government does not seems to both to lose these experienced hands.
Under the changed norms to appear before Public Service Commission, I believe that most of the candidates don’t stand a chance to be selected for none of their fault as the delay was caused by the non-seriousness of the Government. So why should they strive to contribute positively to the system? In fact, they are themselves in disarray and feel regretful as there are good number of candidates who have been serving the Department for the last five  sessions with the hope to be absorbed in the department. But now their future has come at stake. They are to look for their bread and butter somewhere else unless Government comes to their rescue with some formula for retaining experienced teachers.
At present contractual teachers dominate the teaching process by virtue of their number, there by diluting the accountability aspect. With the result, the system as a whole, has become unaccountable as far as teaching is concerned. To organize functions and seminars does not define the performance of the institution but it is the smooth conduct of class work which ultimatley decides the fate of the students. What is the fun of so many colleges, if students are to be dependent on tuitions?
The real sufferer of this fall out is the student community, who for lack of competent and devoted guides, find it difficult to explore and exploit its potentialities and is groping in the dark for none of their fault. This senario cannot be corrected unless and until dynamic teachers take over the charge and reverse the present system to pull it out of turmoil. The pass percentage alone should not be the sole criterion of judging the teaching process but how many knowledgeable and competent students we have produced is what really matters. That is possible when devoted and dedicated teachers with positive mind set are recruited in the department. Accountability with respect to qualitative change needs also to be ensured in order to draw the latent capabilities of the students.
Clear cut directions should be served  to Public Service Commission to recruit genuine deserving and zealous teachers who have the will and determination to contribute quality education to the system. For that upright experts along with psychologists should be  invited to conduct the interviews. Adhocism is needed to be done away with as early as possible because the higher education in the colleges has already reached to the point where any delay in this regard will push the system in no pull back situation.
(The author is former HOD Chemistry GCW Parade)

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