“Through others we become ourselves.”
― Lev S. Vygotsky
Dear AMUCT Members
Life is a gamut of varied experiences – some pleasant, some unpleasant, of failure and success, of thrill and disappointment, of pain and pleasure, of learning, unlearning and re-learning. The bygone year though started surprisingly for me with unexpected responsibilities had many significant positive developments. The mandate was sudden but your cooperation and good will was amazing. With all humility I am happy to write that our team has achieved many positive things and also able find solutions to several issues related to members. It is my feeling that of all the good things we have achieved, the creation of social capital to AMUCT by using ICT media is self gratifying. Information has been shared with the members as fast as possible. I thank you all and hope that you continue to guide us during our remaining tenure.
As predicted we have a new Government with a new Higher Education Minister in Karnataka. AMUCT is very much delighted that a veteran leader, an experienced statesman, a gifted visionary and a person of high repute, Shri R.V. Deshapande is the Hon’ble Minister for Higher Education in our State. We are hopeful that Higher Education in Karnataka would witness a progressive and qualitative transformation under his competent and progressive leadership.
An analysis of the higher education scene in Karnataka reflects that Karnataka possesses a highly developed higher education system with over 3800 colleges and 48 universities which offers facility of education and training in almost all aspects of human creative and intellectual endeavors. However, the lack of initiative in making students creative, the lack of student-centric syllabus, the lack of any capacity building of the teaching faculty, absence of experienced and full time faculty, the petty mindedness of vested self-interest groups , the “politics” and lack of foresightedness among political leaders and more importantly ad-hocism in designing and execution of plans, policies and programmes have been responsible for the decaying state of the higher education in our state and country. Over 70 percent of the teaching and related workload in the colleges and other institutions is undertaken by temporary or guest faculty or very meagerly paid unaided teachers. In most cases they are not adequately qualified too. Besides around 80 percent of our graduates are unemployable, sights the poor quality of these institutions in Karnataka. If Karnataka is to become a center for higher learning for the world, the Government has to play a very proactive role by joining hands with academicians, administrators and industry. It's late but not too late to change. The best time to start changing our higher education system is now. I hope the Hon’ble Minister will initiate these long awaited changes with timely proactive and responsive policies for strengthening and promoting higher education in Karnataka. Filling the teaching posts on regular basis without delay is immediately called for. AMUCT had always and will always welcome and support any student centric initiatives that will result in enhancing the employability of the learners and improvement in quality of higher education. I also appeal to the Hon’ble Minister to put a break to all kinds of experimentations and quantitative expansions of institutions at least for some time and take cognizable efforts to strengthen the existing institutions. Encouraging and rejuvenating the age-old public-private partnership (PPP) model of Karnataka, will certainly do a lot of good in this regard.
At the local level, there was a time when every nook and corner in Mangalore boasted a hotel management or a physiotherapy college. With the passage of time the fad shifted to BSW, MSW, B.Ed., BBM and MBA. Since last couple of years the trend is B.Com and M.Com and a fast death of BBM, BSW, B.Ed., MSW, MBA and also traditional courses of B.A. The greatest irony is that 'the head of the institutions” who are supposed to save these courses contribute for their death by wrong propagation about 'scope' for these courses and in some colleges even forced PUC arts students to take B.Com or B.B.M. Ignorance is no one’s monopoly. I feel pity for them and for their general awareness. In the name of “demand” and thereby trying to make quick money, new educational trading ventures have mushroomed and more batches have been added citing the national goal “to increase GER”. Empirical evidences time again proved that “demand led growth” has always receded sooner or later. The harsh reality is that market forces have hardly succeeded in establishing programmes and services that can improve the quality of life and the well being of the community. Demand led market forces at best may only sell the dreams and not reality.
As teachers are we not responsible for this unhealthy state of affairs?. Our golden silence, lethargic approach towards academic issues, not bothered attitude to be in good books of all and living in self –comfort zone has often led to this state of affairs. Let us accept without blaming anyone in particular, our collective failure to understand the aspirations of the students and the parents, the expectations of the employers and the need for change. As teachers if we cannot become proactive, challenge ourselves and adapt to changes, then who else? How long can we take shelter under exemptions and exceptions? Let us shrug-off from all excuses and strive for uplifting the lost glory of these programmes by revamping and restructuring the curriculum of the traditional degree courses. I call upon the subject associations, members of BOS and senior teachers to take stock of the things and initiate joint action by joining hands with the philanthropic educationist, academicians, administrative experts and interested groups to educate and enlighten the stake holders and redesign and strengthen the existing curriculum of these fast dying courses. Society does need social sciences as much as any other branch of knowledge.
Long Live AMUCT. Long live Teachers’ Movement.
Dr Norbert Lobo