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This year, at least 100 M.Tech students from IIT-Kharagpur, 50 passouts from IIM-Calcutta and 30 MStat students from the Indian Statistical Institute have bagged jobs abroad or have left the country for research in leading foreign universities. A stunning record, you would say. But it does nothing to improve Bengals dismal record in higher education. All these institutes are run by the Centre out of the influence of Bengals politics.
What is the common thread among IIT, IIM, ISI, St. Xaviers and RKM Narendrapur. There is no party-backed student politics on these campuses. This should be the first step towards reforming higher education in the state. Even in the hallowed Presidency College, the picture is one of disruption and violence in the name of student politics, says Amal Mukhopadhyay, former Principal of Presidency College. A college loses at least 50 days annually due to disruption caused by student politics, says a former official of the council for higher education. Campus discipline starts with attendance and regularity of classes again not the hallmark of Bengal. On paper they say that 75% attendance is a must. But you will find that colleges have devised a scheme whereby students can pay a fine and buy off their absence from class. You call this discipline asks sociologist Prasanta Ray, pointing out that it’s the same with teachers. Why should there be meetings and conventions called by college teacher associations on a working day It gives the faculty an excuse to take time off classes, Ray says, strongly suggesting that a 360-degree appraisal system should be started in college and university teachers. We no longer live in the era of teachers like Susobhan Sarkar and Tarak Sen, for whom teaching was a way of life. Today you need to be on test in order to perform. If the rest of the world has such a system why not Bengals teachers Mukhopadhyay asks. Even in the top government colleges like Presidency and Lady Brabourne, a large number of teachers have a mere postgraduate degree, and have never presented papers in seminars or written in journals. Those who left the state to make careers elsewhere do not want to return because that would mean living in a sea of mediocrity. At least 10 bright teachers of Presidency, who had joined after completing their degrees abroad, chose to go back or change their profession, says educationist Sunando Sanyal. The state needs to offer exciting pay scales, incentives, research allowances, accommodation and special schemes of career advancement to draw the best brains back.
Courtesy: Times of India
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