TODAY -

Academic standards on our universities and colleges
- Part 2 -

Prof N Irabanta Singh *

  Center of Advanced Study in Life Science at Manipur University (MU), Canchipur in April 2012 :: Pix - Deepak Oinam
Center of Advanced Study in Life Science at Manipur University (MU), Canchipur in April 2012 :: Pix - Deepak Oinam ::



Thanks to University Grants Commission New Delhi for prescribing essential qualification for Lecturer/Assistant Professor post in the Colleges and Universities. These are

i) Good academic record as defined by the concerned University with at least 55% marks (or an equivalent grade in a point scale wherever grading system is followed) at the Master's degree level in a relevant subject from an Indian University or an equivalent degree from an accredited foreign University

ii) Besides fulfilling the above qualifications, the candidate much have cleared the National Eligibility Test (NET) conducted by the UGC, CSIR or similar test accredited by the UGC like SLET/SET

iii) Candidates who are or have been awarded a Ph.D. degree in accordance with University Grants Commission (minimum standards & procedure for award of PhD degree) regulations 2009, shall be exempted from the requirement of the minimum eligibility condition of NET/SLET/SET for recruitment and appointment of Assistant Professor or equivalent positions in Universities/ colleges/ institutions.

iv) However, NET/SLET/SET shall also not be required for such Master programmes in disciplines for which NET/SLET/SET is not conducted.

Another factor that affects the standards is a rapid expansion of higher educational opportunity in the country through the establishment of new colleges and universities. We have scattered colleges so liberally that no students need to go far for an education. We have lowered the financial barriers in the hope of easing the way for the qualified boy or girl who could not possibly pay for higher education. Many of our institution have held academic requirements as low as possible in order to salvage talented young people from poor secondary schools.

Library facilities

Poor library facility is another factor for low standard in our Institutions. Until quite recently libraries were looked upon as store houses of books and there were no library services available to teachers or students, nor were the libraries attractive places where the seeker after knowledge could spend any length of time in reasonable comfort.

Examination system

In the beginning it was thought the examination system in Indian universities would set high and fairly strict standards and that through the examinations students' capacity and attainments would be more or less truly tested. The examinations themselves were meant to be searching probes into the students acquired knowledge and his understanding of the information he/she has gathered.

But in actual fact it has been found that teachers and students conspire to develop special techniques and skills to pass examinations and that there is no very close correlation between successfully passing an examination and being a truly learned person, so that in the long run the examination system has tended to be hindrance rather than an aid to the maintenance of high standards.

Discussion

Although the achievement of many Indian students in and through the Indian colleges and universities has been remarkable for its high quality and excellence, a considerable proportion of those who went through proportion of those who went through college education had split personalities and were unable to bring into the process of learning a wholeness of commitment and devotion. So even though the outstanding student attained high standards, the average Indian students tended to perform at a lower level than his/her contemporaries in British or American Universities.

When we consider the Question of academic standards in our institutions, the importance of careful selection of students for admission becomes paramount. The main reason why a considerable proportion of those who are now admitted to colleges on the basis of minimum qualifying marks at the school leaving examinations cannot cope with the courses offered in colleges is that these courses are unsuited to their capacities or needs and are largely irreverent to their present or future life. Merely permitting unsuitable and uninterested young people to crowd the colleges is not a good way to procure social justice or equality of opportunity.

What our educational system needs is a great diversification of courses in as many of the existing Institutions that will provide training and learning opportunities. Thanks to the University Grants Commission, New Delhi for introducing a good number of vocational courses in the colleges.

The standards of higher education need to be set up co-operatively by the students and teachers. When students are well motivated, when they enjoy what they do in college, when their studies seem really relevant to their lives. We, therefore, need to change our attitude towards what we call education and the degrees granted by Universities. Values should be placed on real achievement in any area of human life and not on the mere symbol of achievement like University degrees.

Conclusion and Suggestions

The standard of higher education in India in general and Manipur in particular are high enough in invention and the scope of the syllabus prescribed for various courses but the achievement often falls very low because of a variety of factors that affect the prevailing situation. In any effort to raise standards, to raise level of achievement, we have to bring about many changes and improvement in our higher educational arrangements. We have to make admission to colleges more selective and take in only those who have reasonable chances of higher achievement.

We have to make sure that university and college teachers are able and well trained persons and that quality of teaching in our institutions will be high standard, we have to create an atmosphere in our colleges in which the students will be encouraged to read widely and for these purposes we have to make our libraries really attractive places, where students can spend long hours for study.

Library services should be greatly improved and the librarian and his assistants should not only be professionally trained men but also men of learning capable of assisting teachers and students. We have to improve our techniques of teaching. We have to create among our teachers greater pride in their profession and much greater respect for scholarships. The students on their side must be highly motivated and should feel at home in the world of learning.

Concluded...


* Prof N Irabanta Singh wrote this article for The Sangai Express
The writer is former Professor (Higher Academic Grade)/ Life Sciences and Former Dean, School of Life Sciences, Manipur University and can be reached at irabanta(dot)singh(aT)gmail(dot)com
This article was posted on September 14, 2015.


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