Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Quality of teaching

E. Balagurusamy, Member (Education), State Planning Commission, Tamil Nadu states

Our findings show that majority of teachers in many engineering colleges are in mediocre category. When the teachers themselves are lacking employability skills, how can we expect their students to be employable? So, the correction has to start from the level of teachers. It is time to have a serious look at the quality of teachers employed in various engineering colleges and arts and science colleges as well.

The quality is quite poor indeed. In a major NIT, half of the faculty in chemical engineering are B.E. who have graduated in the past year. There is nothing inherently wrong in this situation if these faculty came to teaching because of passion but it is mostly because they have been "pushed" into it due to lack of other options. If this is the state of NITs, there is no doubt that the quality is even poorer in other colleges. One way is to increase the number of doctorates who graduate from IIX and they go to NIT to teach.


milieu said...

Slightly offtopic: The phrase 'the majority is mediocre' led me to find this nice essay by Rabindranath Tagore 'The Mediocre Majority' http://www.boloji.com/index.cfm?md=Content&sd=Articles&ArticleID=7295

Ofcourse, India's educational needs are huge and it would be a big tragedy if the quality of second and third rank academia is not improved.

Vinay said...

Well, increasing the number of doctorates is fine, but how do you inculcate the passion and desire of teaching in these doctorates? Moreover, most NITs are located in areas where there is not much other economic activity. So, spouses of these doctorates may not find a job in those cities. Now-a-days, with working spouses many people do not take a teaching job because their spouses may not find work in the city the institute is situated in.

Anonymous said...


agreed. not only NITs, even IIT kharagpur and IIT kanpur face a similar problem as far as jobs for spouses are concerned. i think the popular destinations could only be IISc, JNCASR, TIFR, NCBS bang, TIFR Bombay, IITs Bombay, Madras, Hyderabad, Muddenahalli, Delhi.

Rainbow Scientist said...

shall we get started from the quality of teachers at elementary schools? we need to get our priorities straight. You can't fix problem at the high level, if you can not fix it at the low level. Give these teachers freedom to do things as per their capabilities and challenge them and you will see the difference...we need to remove control of government which is a major cause of problem. Create a reward system for high performance and remove the weeds as needed (but only done with care). There is no short cut for quality improvement.

Anonymous said...

I am wondering about the same teaching issue in bigger schools such as IITs and IISERs.
The main criteria followed in recruiting assistant professors at these institutes as well as at some central universities is the number of publications. In my honest opinion, number and quality of publications do not reflect a candidate's ability to teach and mentor young generations.

So at least at the level of Assistant professor recruitment we need to put some emphasis on teaching skills and may be put more emphasis on publication record for Associate professor level positions.
I think that a good researcher may not necessarily be a good and inspiring teacher and vice verse.

Hopefully the recruitment committees at these institutes pay attention to the teaching skill as well.
Thank you

L said...

Many engg.colleges (also schools) are started as business ventures.
The aim is to maximise financial gains for the promoter. Secondly, many of those who start these colleges are businessmen who are not highly educated and whose previous experience is in totally different businesses.
Mission 10X tries to help in this- I don't know how well. http://www.mission10x.com/Home.aspx?ReturnUrl=%2f_layouts%2fAuthenticate.aspx%3fSource%3d%252F&Source=%2F

L said...

PS to give you an idea of who controls the colleges I am talking about, must watch this

Anonymous said...

It is not just the private and profit instutions but NITs and government colleges that also attract poor quality. remember that iisc professors may earn lesser than nit counterparts.