The Hon’ble Union Minister for Human Resource Development
Government of India
Many thanks for your message regarding “Swachh Bharat Abhiyan”. We are all actively participating in this.
I am writing to you regarding an issue that is very important for the quality of our Universities. I teach in an eminent University in Maharashtra. Recently, the Government of Maharashtra has made it mandatory for Universities to introduce bio-metric attendance for their teaching staff. The Government of Maharashtra insists on linking salary payments to bio-metric attendance records.
We all agree that accountability of teachers in Universities is very important. But I feel that in the academic world, linking accountability to sheer physical presence inside the institution is counterproductive. I know of several colleagues who come to the University once in the morning to punch in their attendance and then again in the evening to punch out. They are generally not to be seen in the day. I feel that in an academic institution like a University, teacher’s performance should be graded on the following:
1. The number of lectures actually engaged
2. The student feedback about the teacher. Very few Universities implement a systematic and sincere exercise about student’s feedback and assessment of teachers. This should be a very important parameter to judge a teacher.
3. The number of Ph,D. students a teacher is actively guiding, including the number of research publications that the teacher has with his/her students.
4. The research output of the teacher in peer reviewed journals. Unfortunately, the UGC has created real problems in this area by its criterion of Academic performance Indicators. A veritable “peer reviewed publications”industry has started in the country where unscrupulous publishers take money to publish nearly worthless articles as “peer reviewed research papers”. These journals in reality do not do any peer review process, nor do they have an impact factor anywhere near what they claim. This is a mega Scam in Indian higher education system, arising out of UGCs insistence on API. The problem is that at the level of University administration, there is generally no institutional capacity to distinguish between a genuine research article published in a reputed journal and that published in these scamster publications.
5. The contribution to the institutional development of the teacher
6. The quantum of resources raised for the University by the teacher
A composite index can be created where University teachers can be evaluated. Large corporate houses routinely evaluate each and every employee on key deliverables. However, the current administrative setups in majority of the Indian universities do not have the institutional capacity to carry out such an exercise. It is important that Universities have dedicated Human Resource wings that would objectively evaluate the performance of teachers. This is immensely more preferable to what is currently happening in states like Maharashtra where only accountability that a teacher has is to mark attendance twice a day,. Imagine a corporate institution evaluating its employees on such an absurd criterion. The corporate will be soon beaten by the competition. There is no wonder that Indian universities are nowhere in the list of top world Universities. The institutional practices relating to teacher evaluation are important contributors to this problem.
I do sincerely hope, on the birth anniversary of the Mahatma,that your Ministry will take some steps towards rectifying this sorry state of affairs.