Sunday, October 6, 2013

Barak Valley's Colleges need better academic environment

Assam University, Silchar has over 50 affiliated colleges in Barak Valley, Dima Hasao and Karbi Anglong districts. Photo Copyright:
There was a news item published in a major Delhi Newspaper, Hindustan Times (2.10.2013) that the Delhi University Vice Chancellor, Dr. Dinesh Singh made sudden inspections to some reputed colleges of the capital city, namely Hindu College, Ramjas College, Hans Raj College and Kirorimal College and found that a good number of teachers were absent from the classes.

He called for the class routines and could detect the absentee teachers. It was also reported that he and his team rebuked the principals for their negligence in disciplining the erring teachers and called for weekly reports from them.

The inspections made by the Delhi University VC is praise worthy and makes us wonder whether similar inspections can be made in the colleges of the valley as well, since both the Assam and the Delhi Universities are central government institutions, and have similar rules governing them.

The colleges of the valley have recently seen unprecedented development in terms of infrastructure, thanks to the inspections made by the NAAC teams of the University Grants Commission (UGC). Some of the major colleges are also receiving grants regularly from the UGC and other agencies, but such infrastructural development has unfortunately not resulted in any major improvement in the academic standards of the colleges.   

Absenteeism from the classes by some teachers is a pretty old habit in some colleges of the valley which is severely hurting their decades old reputation as institutions of excellence. The Director of the College Development Council of the Assam University was asked about this dismal practice of bunking classes in colleges by some of the teachers but he expressed his helplessness in curbing the trend.

The tendency to bunk classes is closely connected with the practice of private tuition by the teachers in all the major towns. The income from the private tuitions is a roaring practice for teachers here. The principals of the colleges hardly have any control over the recalcitrant teachers who in many cases have political clout to back them upon. In fear of political backlash, the principals keep mum and show no courage to pool the erring teachers into submission to rules.

It is regrettable that these colleges had in the past many eminent teachers who are remembered even today. Everybody remembers Prof. Jagendra Chowdhury. He dazzled with his scholarship, erudition and personality. Why should a depression in the academic world descend upon the higher education in a town which had a good tradition of academic brilliance previously?

On the other hand, an undergraduate institution, Ramanuj College is showing brilliant results only through imposing discipline in the teaching faculty. Everybody should remember that our University must be a success story and without the help of the supporting colleges, this dream will not be fulfilled.
Nowadays, the teachers are looked after well by the government and they are not required to struggle hard for their livelihoods but the economic solvency seems to have had a negative effect on the class room morality. We notice a steep decline in the standards of honesty and concern for the students. Many bright students choose educational institutions outside the valley rather than wasting their talents here.

Our Vice Chancellor, Prof Somnath Dasgupta may emulate the example of his counterpart in the Delhi University, Dr. Dinesh Singh and discipline some of the best colleges of the valley. If the VC of Delhi University dares to rustle the ego of the teachers of the reputed colleges in the capital city, why can’t the VC of Assam University master courage to establish a semblance of discipline in the premier colleges of our valley which has much lesser number of colleges than Delhi. He may though have to risk a little unpopularity for taking bold actions. Already, the examination system at the undergraduate level is in a good shape and the teaching in the class room demands immediate attention.


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Silchar through the Lense