Studying in College is the most crucial period in the life of a student. College education is of significant importance as for as the career opportunities of students are concerned. Bachelor’s degree is required for most government and private sector jobs besides for participating in competitive exams like KAS and IAS. As such colleges act as launching pads where from students set their career in motion. Having this idealized vision, students join colleges to give wings to their dreams but their flight is short-lived as they soon realize that the system is a spoilsport. Recent NAAC accreditation of various degree colleges also bear witness to this fact as some of our colleges ended up in getting C grade. One of the criteria in NAAC is Student Support and Progression which evaluates the efforts of an institution to provide necessary assistance to students, to enable them to acquire meaningful experiences for learning at the campus and to facilitate their holistic development and progression. Almost all our colleges scored poorly in this very important component thus making our system a crippled one.
What we need is a strategy to ensure that we improve our educational standard to compete at national and international level. Our colleges must work as facilitation centers where our students could make use of their abilities, potentials and talents. While analyzing our college education what I feel is that our students are having enough potential to excel in their respective fields. Our classrooms are not attractive. World has changed a lot in the last hundred years, so have the needs, attitude, aptitude and desires of students. Unfortunately our classrooms have witnessed only one change, which is from black board to white board. White board alone is not enough in this era of technology and internet, but should be supplicated by modern gadgets like holograms, smart tables, android boards etc., to cater to the needs of present day student. Traditional attendance system wasting 10-15 minutes in classroom should be replaced by biometric devices. The content being taught in colleges is obsolete and outdated. It must be related to needs and desires of the students, meaning it must be related to life. Education should reflect the moral and intellectual values of society. The academic and professional courses should be more useful and diversified to meet the needs of students.
After the introduction of semester system in 2015 by Kashmir University, we are having examination dominated system and those who are good in regurgitation of information are doing well. The scope for nurturing talent and potential is still a distant dream given the geographic and political conditions that prevail in this part of the world.
In 2016 Kashmir University decided to do away with the marks attached with the attendance of students in classroom, which resulted in unprecedented rise of unexcused absence of students in colleges at undergraduate level. This step from varsity is no longer going to help the students because it has given them the volition to bunk their classes as and when they wish. Students who spend their maximum time outside the classrooms are not likely to succeed in academics. It is almost impossible for the teacher and class to build their skills and progress if large number of students is consistently absent. Further they are likely to get into trouble with the law and order problems which we are witnessing from last three to four years.
A teacher is like an artist to mould his material so if the material (students) is not retained in classrooms we have only sympathies for the poor teacher. The argument is – we need to make students sit in the classroom by empowering the teacher with at least 10 to 20 marks particularly for non-laboratory subjects.
Assessment and evaluation is an important component in teaching learning process as it is the only tool where teachers gain insight into what students understand so that they could plan instructions and guide their students accordingly. Students also realize how and what they learn which helps them to advance their learning at their own pace. The rationale behind the assessment and evaluation is to refine teaching skills on the part of teachers and to improve learning on the part of students. Internal assessment marks which were earlier lying with the concerned teacher for non-Laboratory subjects should be reinstated because without it the teacher finds himself or herself in an awkward position as students are now hardly bothered to sit even in regular class tests. After getting the admission in college most of the students join other institutions like ITI, Computers etc. which they attend with zeal and zest. It is only when date sheet is out they turn back to college. There is no deterrence in colleges by which students can be retained in classrooms except shortage cases but that too has not worked for many reasons. Thus colleges have virtually turned into distance education centers or academic cafeterias where only degrees are sold.
Top performing institutions are consistently in search for ways to make their system better. “Performing colleges” is not a showy catchphrase but is based on feedback from all stakeholders’ viz., students, teachers, parents and alumni. Institutions with good repute not only accept feedback but they deliberately ask for. Students are potentially valuable source of information about their teachers’ teaching. As students need guidance to get their errors corrected teachers require feedback for helpful direction if they are to improve their performance in classrooms. Unfortunately a good number of teachers fail to recognize the need of improvement in their profession by thinking that they are doing wonderfully good job. This perception reduces their interest in improving their performance. Understanding the significant importance of this component we need to put in place a sound mechanism of collecting feedback from students so that the education at college level can be put back on track.
We have touched the lowest ebb of morality and humanity with no exception to our educational institutions. The culture of love, respect, harmony, obedience, cordial teacher-student relationship etc., is no longer an integral part of our education system which otherwise was our identity and which we had inherited from our predecessors. The importance of morality has also increased because we are living in a world of flux where changes occur rapidly. People are not guided by single code of ethics. Differences are not often reconciled easily. Character formation and developing morality if implemented effectively in our system, students will learn to have quality judgment in their life situations to take better decisions and choices. Further our examinations are intended to evaluate only intellectual capacities of students. Moral, social and spiritual values if we really want to inculcate among our students, then due weightage must be given to these eternal values.
Author is Assistant Professor at Government Degree College Ganderbal