The Department of Collegiate Education again wielded its sword on teachers and teaching environment. It had issued a circular demanding 22 hours of teaching per week from teachers, (Now it has been temporarily withdrawn) stating that there is no research environment in the colleges. It has quoted UGC guidelines of September 2009, A minimum of 6 hours per week may have to be allocated for research activities of the teacher.The department has on its own identified that the research is not taking place in colleges, and therefore, the above 6 hours of research could be converted into teaching hours.
Very clever and intelligent move by the Babus in reducing the college education to the four walls of classrooms and there by equating it with high school education! The (un)hidden agenda behind this circular is to reduce the number of faculty in colleges and thereby save a substantial amount to the government in the future. Nowhere in the country is such a move initiated by the state governments.
Following are a few observations/questions on the issue:
- The rationale behind 16 teaching hours obviously is that a teacher, before lecturing should also make preparations for the class which is more than twice the time of the teaching hours. Now,as per the new circular, where is the time for class preparation? I do not think that classrooms will be comprehensive in subject knowledge anymore. This will definitely affect the quality education in the classrooms.
- Research is an important criterion in the college education which has been much emphasized by the UGC and the NAAC. In the quality analysis of the college, it is not only teaching and learning but also research and extension that plays a significant role. By converting research hours into teaching hours the department is shunning its responsibility of promoting research activities in the colleges. Perhaps, the bureaucratic circle finds that such activities are useless in higher education.
- The circular also states that relaxation in teaching hours will be given only to those who are involved in research activities in the college. But it has not specified the type of academic work that could be considered “Research”. There are various such activities in which teachers are constantly engaged.
- A good number of teachers have registered for Ph D and are engaged in research.
- Teachers are involved in minor/major research projects funded by UGC and other funding agencies.
- College teachers are also recognized research guides under various Universities like Kannada University Hampi, DakshinBharath Hindi PracharSabha and so on and they are guiding research students to pursue Ph D.
- A few departments in the colleges are recognized as research centres by the affiliated University or Universities. For example Tumkur University has established a good number of research centres in different colleges in Karnataka and the teachers are recognized research guides.
- Quite a few college teachers are involved in publication of research articles/Journals in the colleges without any assistance from funding agencies.
- The most basic question is that, who is to provide research facilities in colleges? In the recent years the Karnataka Government has enthusiastically started Government First Grade Colleges every nook and corner of the state. This was a good move of the government to enhance the mass enrollment ratio in higher education. But the question is what are the infrastructure facilities in these colleges? What is their library holdings? Has the government provide research facilities in these colleges? Whose responsibility is it? Does the ‘poor deserve poor education’? The government of Karnataka and the Department of Collegiate Education have to make an introspection before implementing this circular.
- In a college, teachers are not simplyinvolved in teaching in the classrooms alone. They are an integral part of the administrative work along with the Principal. They are the counselors to the students, undertake extracurricular activities in the college and more than everything, they are available to the students throughout the day. A teacher is a teacher 24X7. His/her involvement in teaching and evaluation extends even to his/her home where he/she is supposed to be with family and children.
- In a college environment teaching and research has to go hand in hand. Without research teaching will be dry and inefeective. Therefore there is a need to provide good research environment in the colleges and only then the government or the Department of Collegiate education has a ethical stand to monitor the activities of the teachers on an annual basis.
Quality in teaching is the need of the hour and not the quantity of teaching.