Human Resource Development in Higher Education in Assam
Assistant Professor in Education, West Goalpara College, Balarbhita-783129, Dist: Goalpara, Assam, India.
The concept “Human Resource Development” in the study of “Human Resource Development in Higher Education in Assam” is of high value in business and industry and has been used and applied since years. In industry and business the ‘human’ element is considered as a resource and hence its development and protection is very essential and inevitable. Of all the factors of production, human resource is the only factor having rational faculty and therefore, it must be handled with utmost care. Right recruitment, right training and right induction followed by faultless monitoring and welfare measures are but decisive factors in business and industry. Altogether there is a constant attention up on human factor there. But this is not a practice at all in education. So far there has not been any such measure of care and close watch and performance analysis of human resource on education front. This may be the main reason for lack of accountability in the sphere of education. The present study reveals the importance of introducing HRD practices in higher educational institutions in Assam. In order to promise human capital formation through education, it is basic requirement. The higher educational institutions must follow the method of industry and commerce because education can be treated as an industry in service sector. There also we can follow the methods of right recruitment, right training and promotion, delegation, performance analysis and accountability checking of human resource. HRD is a powerful idea of transformation of human being into highly productive and contributing factor. The HRD of students is the sum total of HRD of teachers. The quality of administrative staff in colleges also affects the quality of higher education. Hence, it is high time to introduce the managerial method of HRD with all its paraphernalia in higher educational institutions so as to assure proper human capital formation in higher education in India.
KEYWORDS: Higher education, Human Resources Development, Quality of Higher Education, Refresher Course, and National Knowledge Commission
Higher education is an essential social as well as economic infrastructure for an emerging nation like India. It provides the appropriate and useful skilled human power for industry, for science and technology, for creation of basic social (education, food, shelter, health, and nutrition) and economic (agriculture, energy, water, transport, communication) infrastructure and for better social and administrative governance. India has one of the largest higher education systems in the world.
The main players in the higher education system in the country are the ‘University Grants Commission’(UGC) responsible for coordination and maintenance of standards and release of grants, and the ‘Statutory Professional Councils’ responsible for recognition of courses, promotion of professional institutions and providing grants to undergraduate programmes and various awards. The statutory professional councils are: All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), Distance Education Council (DEC), Indian Council for Agriculture Research (ICAR), Bar Council of India (BCI), National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE), Rehabilitation Council of India (RCI), Medical Council of India (MCI), Pharmacy Council of India (PCI), Indian Nursing Council (INC), Dentist Council of India (DCI), Central Council of Homeopathy (CCH), Central Council of Indian Medicine (CCIM), Council of Architecture (COA), National Council for Rural Institutes (NCRI), and State Council of Higher Education (SCHE). At the time of independence, there were only 25 universities in India, most of them imparting arts and science education through affiliated colleges. In the last six decades, the number of institutions of higher education has grown enormously. Today, there are 43 Central Universities, 295 State Universities, 154 State Private Universities, 130 Deemed Universities, 50 Institutes of National Importance plus other Institutes, 5 Institutions established under State Legislature Acts and 35,539 colleges. Under the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD), the Government evolved a machinery to discharge its responsibilities of higher education and thus established the University Grants Commission (UGC) in 1956 and the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) in 1987 through Acts of Parliament to administer regulate and supervise the functioning of Higher Education in the Country. The Constitution of India (Seventh Schedule), together with the amendment of 1976, places the responsibility for co-ordination and determination of standards in the institutions of higher learning and research with the Centre and the State Governments. These institutions include Universities (both central and state), the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), and Institutes of National Importance declared by Parliament. The Union Government of India is responsible for major policy relating to higher education in the country. It provides grants to the UGC and establishes central universities in the country. The central government is also responsible for declaration of educational institutions as Deemed to be University on the recommendation of the UGC. State governments are responsible for establishment of state universities and colleges, and provide plan grants for their development and non-plan grants for their maintenance. The co-ordination and co-operation between the Union and the States is brought about in the field of education through the Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE). Education is on the ‘Concurrent List’ subject to ‘Entry 66’ in the Union List of the Constitution. This gives the ‘exclusive legislative power and special constitutional responsibility’ to the central government for co-ordination and determination of standards in institutions of higher learning or research and scientific and technical educational institutions.
The NPE 1986 rightly emphasizes that institutions of higher education are expected to possess a certain minimum facilities by way of physical infrastructure, technical and research support and resources for purchase of equipment, books etc. The thrust areas mentioned in the Policy for higher education in India are: Autonomous colleges, Re-designing of courses, State councils of higher education, Accreditation and assessment councils, Alternative models of management in universities, National qualifying test for recruitment of teachers, Making R and D broad based, Training/Orientation of teachers, Improvement of efficiency, Youths and sports, Education for minorities, SC/ST/, handicapped, and women. It was a comprehensive national policy for educational development in the country.
Teaching, Research, and Extension works are the ‘three dimensions of higher education’. Research generates knowledge; Teaching helps disseminate it; and Community Extension involves its application to real life situations. The UGC insists that universities and colleges give equal importance to extension activities so that our university system would be transformed into an instrument for social change. In academic parlance, community outreach is known as the ‘third dimension of higher education’. Although the Kothari Commission had qualified teaching, research and extension as the ‘Trinity of Higher Education’ way back in 1960; it took many years for the universities to realize the importance of the trinity, particularly of the third responsibility, i.e., ‘Extension’
The National Adult Education Programme (NAEP), eradication of illiteracy, population education, rural development, health and sanitation, aids awareness programme, youth against famine etc. are the best areas of extensions activities for the younger generation of the country. The university system should absorb the concept of ‘extension culture’ as it is integral component and can provide at least 25 per cent time allocation for the off-campus extension work through community education type programmes. Extension should be the third important activity of the universities like teaching and research as envisaged by the UGC in the Policy Frame of 1977. Education is the most powerful process of development of individuals, institutions, and the society. Hence, any programme that contributes to the student development in cognitive (intellectual), psycho meter (skill), and effective domains (values and attitudes) can always claim academic recognition. Unfortunately, most of the present curricular programmes today concentrate almost entirely in cognitive development and disregard the domain of learning through working.
A nation or a state greatly depends upon its education system and the level of education of its citizens for its development. There might be development without biotechnology, or nuclear power generation, but certainly not without education. For the welfare and further development of humankind, for the organization of societies and ultimately, for the survival of the human species, education is not just one instrument among others, not just one sector out of many. Education should be regarded both as a basic need and a human right. This notion is in line with a ‘development concept’ promulgated by the United Nations as early as 1970 which determined the six pillars, for a better life for all people, viz., Education, Health, Nutrition, Housing, Social Welfare, and to Safeguard the Environment. Within the educational system, higher education occupies the central place. This influences the school educational system, knowledge generation, quality of human resources, social, economic and political policies and actions of the sate and the people. In order to ensure a quality higher education, it is essential to have a positive intervention (through policy, planning, resource inputs and implementation) in higher educational system.
In recent years, the nation has embarked upon initiating a number of development linked strategies for promotion of higher education. The latest of these include the Report of the 'National Knowledge Commission' (NKC), the Report of 'The Committee to Advise on Renovation and Rejuvenation of Higher Education' and the Conclave of Vice-Chancellors and other Forums of Educationists. The 11th FYP evolved as a move towards a quantum leap in expanding and strengthening the higher education system. The 12th FYP is projected to maximize the output/outcome of access, equity and quality, meeting the international benchmarks. It is expected to offer an opportunity to build upon the progress made during the 11th FYP, undertake effective course corrections where necessary and initiate newer and innovative measures to provide the much needed vibrancy to the system so as to enhance access, make higher education fully inclusive and promote international quality and excellence to fulfill the objectives of the core of Indian economic and social development planning.
Enrolment in higher education and number of universities: The modern higher education system in India, which is about 156 years old, is an offshoot of the freedom movement. Prior to Independence, India had only 20 universities and 500 colleges with 0.1 million enrolment. The higher education system underwent a great chance after independence. The government took proactive steps and contributed in setting up a large number of public funded institutions. Not only that, it also took a number of affirmative measures in favour of undeserved sections of people. Today, India has the largest systems of higher education in terms of number of institutions. This has increased to 677 universities and university level institutions (43 Central Universities, 295 State Universities, 154 State Private Universities, 130 Deemed Universities, 50 Institutes of National Importance plus other Institutes, 5 Institutions established under State Legislature Acts) and 35,539 colleges.
There has been tremendous growth in the enrolment also. During the academic year 2010-11, the total number of students enrolled, in the formal system, in the universities and colleges has been reported to be 16.98 million. Similarly, there has also been growth in different programmes in Technical Education as such; during 2010-11 about 10364 Technical Programmes were running. There has also been growth in the intake in technical education and for the year 2010-11 the intake has been 2.62 million. The Open and Distance Learning (ODL) system initially witnessed slower growth in respect of enrolment, however, the same has now gained momentum and during 2010-11, 3.75million (estimated) students got themselves enrolled in ODL system.
Human Resources Development in higher education:
Every institution or a corporate, in Lincoln’s language, may be described as an entity ‘of the people, by the people, and for the people’. It means that it is an institution of those who own it (share holders / stake holders), by those who run it (HR), and for those who support it (benefactors). An ideal system of higher education is supposed to play a more innovative, more aggressive and more revolutionary role in the affairs of the nation. The academic pursuits in higher educational institutions must be marked by modern courses, relevant curricula, good syllabus, inviting instructional materials, challenging methods of instructions, reliable procedures of examination and evaluation, a dynamic and motivating institutional climate. In fine, the higher educational set up must be able enough to promise human resources development in the country. Many of our universities and colleges have not been provided with the minimum level of infrastructure for maintaining the quality and standards. In spite of the impressive progress here and there, there are serious problems relating to the quality and the relevance of higher education, with the result that the links between education, employment and development are not well formed. No wonder, the growth of Indian higher education has been ‘merry but a fruitless exercise in planned drift’. Being an integral part of the country, the status of higher education in Assam is also almost the same. The National Policy of Education, the Programme of Action on the NPE, enrolment in higher education, expenditure on higher education, quality consciousness in higher education, autonomy in higher education – all these are viewed in the angle of human resources development in higher education, in the present study. Now-a-days, organizations are greatly focusing on their change programmes and have become increasingly demanding with regard to performance outcomes. New policies and procedures that reflect a pro-active rather than a re-active management style are being devised as part of a planned-change effort. Unfortunately, the higher educational sector is remaining barren in this respect. Human Resource (HR) is viewed as the sum of knowledge, skills, creative abilities, talents, and aptitudes of an organization’s workforce as well as values, attitudes, and benefits of individuals involved. The emerging strategic potential of HR relies on the increasing pivotal role of intangible assets and intellectual capital in today’s economy. Human Resources Development (HRD) is a system or process involving organized series of teaching activities designed to produce behavioral changes in human beings in such a way that they acquire desired level of competence for present or future role. HR provides broad framework for the overall development of people in the organization and strengthens capabilities of each individual in relation to his present and expected future roles. It generates systematic information about the workforce for the purposes of manpower planning, placement, and succession planning. Successful institutions not only believe in bringing the best people, but also bringing the best out of the people.
Three categories of human resources:
The ‘students’, ‘faculty’ and ‘non-teaching staff’ are the three categories of human resources that we have in educational institutions. The educational institutions – universities or colleges – exist for the development of students. Hence, the primary objective of the policy of HRD in educational system should be to “develop the skill, knowledge and the all round personality of students”. The realization of this objective is possible only through the development of the other two categories of human resources, especially the teachers. The present study focuses on the “manifold development of students in higher education” through the proper development and involvements of teachers, non-teaching staff, the administrators, parents, and the society in general. Of different factors which influence human capital formation in higher education, the quality, competence, job attitude, devotion, values, and believes of teachers are undoubtedly the most significant single factor assuring it. In fine, human resource development of students depends to a great extend on the human resource development of teachers.
Human Resource Development of teachers: Teachers are the driving force of any educational institution. “Staff enthusiasm is by far the most important of the university’s/college’s resource assets and staff passivity the most draining resource”. Hence, HRD plans for teachers in universities / colleges are of utmost importance if these institutions are to function effectively. A beginning has been made in our country in this direction with the establishment of the Academic Staff Colleges (ASCs) at the university level to impart training to teachers and to motivate them for their career improvements. However, this is not sufficient to transform the teachers into a dynamic force capable of bringing out the best from their wards. A comprehensive and protracted plan must be prepared and implemented to enable the teachers to perform their onerous responsibilities, with zeal and vigor, in the larger interest of national development.
Faculty Improvement Programmes (FIP) FIP programmes like teachers getting leave with pay for getting higher qualifications like M. Phil and Ph. D have benefited many teachers in higher education. Such programmes need be continued in the interest of HRD in higher education. Refresher courses / orientation courses for teachers at regular intervals, sabbatical leave to do research, and seminars and workshops for updating their knowledge and skills and to keep themselves motivated to play their role effectively tantamount to HRD programmes for teachers. Prizes, awards, and appreciations in some form will sustain the motivation of good teachers and will prompt others to improve. Performance appraisal for teachers is an integral agent for Keeping teachers alert. Teaching is a noble and extra ordinary activity involving a range of skills, perceptions, attitudes, knowledge and sensitivity. A teacher must be fully trained and equipped to do justice to the students. Only a highly motivated, trained and enthusiastic teacher can engage in the primordial duty of transforming students into fully developed human assets.
Significance of the Study
Education itself aims at the development of human resources. Human Resource Development in higher education means the development of those human resources which are involved in higher education. They include teachers, support staff working in educational institutions, educational administrators at the state and central level, planners and policy makers of education and such. Development of all these categories of people becomes extremely important as the effectiveness of higher education depends upon how well they perform their roles. People at different levels and performing different roles require different competencies to be effective in their roles. These competencies are also changing from time to time as the environment is changing and knowledge base is continuously improving. Such a dynamic and changing environment requires an equally or even faster developing human resources to cope with it. However, the present study confines its significance in the HRD activities to develop the competencies and the pedagogic skills of teachers in arts and science colleges in Assam. The modern age of educational history in Assam began with the annexation of Assam with the British Empire in accordance with the treaty of “Yandabu” in 1826. In the pre independent period of Assam, there were four colleges-Cotton College at Gauhati (1901), Earle Law College at Gauhati (1914), Jagannath Barua College at Jorhat (1931) and Lady Keane College at Shillong (1935) while today there are nine universities (2 central universities + 4 state universities + 3 private universities) and as many as 343 colleges (7 government colleges + 189 provincialised colleges + 145 venture colleges). However, when one looks into the quality side of higher education in Assam, the situation is not satisfactory. This study aims to throw light up on the erosion of quality of higher education in these arts and science colleges in the State. The universe for the study is the entire Arts, Science, and Commerce colleges in Assam and whenever required the study pays attention to universities, training colleges and even plus two and school level education too.
Review of Related Literature
The premier attempts relating to the current study had been done by various Commissions, Committees and Educational Policies appointed/constituted by the central government and various state governments in India from time to time. These are the genuine and authentic attempts in the area of higher education and all other literature came subsequently have routes in the findings.
Azad (1978) says that institutions of higher education spend more on consumption rather than investment. The expenditure on salary, wages, stationery, and expenditure on day-to-day affairs are mounting whereas investment in infrastructure, laboratories and libraries and on research are scanty and seldom happens. Human capital formation must be the aim of higher educational institutions and for achieving it, the institutions must invest in and for human beings, rather than spending on consumption.
Loganathan, L. (1981) in his study, “State and Higher Education: Financing Collegiate Education with Special Reference to Arts and Science Colleges in Tamil Nadu”, establishes that education is to be a free gift to all so that it must be publicly funded. Commercialization of higher education breeds undue interests for it and private hands spread their tentacles on it. The power of private capital in higher education converts it as a tradable commodity and the price of which is determined by market mechanisms. In the quagmire of capitalist power, the quality of higher education is getting deteriorated very much and it challenges the attempts for human resources development through education.
Krishnaraj, R. (1985) conducted a study on “Organisation Structure, Leadership Behaviour, and Decision Making in Autonomous and Affiliated Colleges in India”. It is narrated in the study that the organizational structure of autonomous and affiliated colleges anywhere in India is the same so as to keep the hierarchy. The managerial behaviour and the leadership style are seldom free from the colonial orthodoxy. There is no room for free thought and action for the academics, and the centralized decision making style has paved the way for un-democratic atmosphere in the management of the temples of higher education. It kills the initiative of faculty and the administrative staff in an institution of higher education, and it mars human development in our educational institutions.
Santhosh Kumar. G.R. (1995) in his study entitled “A Comparative Study of Teacher education at Secondary Level in South Indian States” states that the curriculum occupies a pre-dominant place in education. Curriculum consists of the programmes of activities designed so that students will attain so far as possible, educational ends or objectives. Curriculum is the mould to shape younger generation and hence the revision and updating curriculum so as to assure and promise Human Resources Development is an integral part of a system of ‘Quality Education’.
Vijayan Pillai. P. (2002) in his study titled “Effectiveness of Learner Oriented Participatory Approach in Continuing education Programme”, quotes the Greek Philosopher ‘Aristotle’, replying for the query ‘how the educated men were superior to the uneducated’ as “As much as the livings are to the dead”. Education is universally recognized to be an investment in human resources. As an apex system responsible for supplying the manpower requirements of the society, besides overseeing the programmes of the entire educational system, higher education should be re-oriented to enable it to play a pro-active role in transforming the working population who, in turn can assure sustainable improvements in productivity in every socio-economic sector. It is imperative, therefore, to effect changes in planning and management, funding, teaching and learning process, research and consultancy services that fall under the domain of higher education.
Mishra R.C. and Panda A.K. (2008) are of the opinion that industry needs university for innovation, while university needs industry for finance. Their paper “Industry-University Interface”, presented at the National Seminar on Industry – University Interface, New Delhi, reads further that collaboration between the two not only benefits both the groups but also fosters over- all economic development through proper human resources development.
Objectives of the Study
For institutions of higher education, there should be a comprehensive policy of HRD for all the three human resource constituents – students, faculty, and administrative staff. HRD programmes in higher education ultimately benefit the students. The ultimate goal of all HRD Programmes in higher education should be to make teachers more useful to students. Self-improvement of teachers without any benefit to students will make HRD programmes useful to individuals but not for the system. HRD programmes should have the objective of promoting attitudes and values among teachers, which will make them work with dedication for the betterment of students. Hence, the objectives of this study are formulated as follows:
1. To explain the significance of human resources development of students in higher education in Assam.
2. To identify the existing practices of human resources development of students in higher education in the state of Assam.
3. To identify additional means and measures for human resources development of students in higher education.
Hypotheses of the Study
It would be a folly to start with the preconceived notion that whatever exists is all wrong. It is highly likely that the existing system, when it came into existence, represented the most logical solutions to the problems facing the organization at the time it was evolved. We are finding fault with it now, only because the context and the mandate have undergone a change. However, it is wiser to look into the scenario critically possible to ferret out the most logical solutions to the problems facing the sector. Watching things from that angle, the following hypotheses were formulated to fulfill the objectives of the study:
1. It is assumed that there has not been any comprehensive and concerted action towards human resources development of teachers and non-teaching staff in higher education in Assam, so that, there has not been any constructive human resources development of students in higher education in the state of Assam.
2. There is a positive correlation between the quality of faculty and human resources development of students in higher education.
3. The current trendy issues confronting higher education in the state of Assam are many: dwindling finances; lack of autonomy; erosion of accountability of faculty, administrative staff, and management; and deterioration in campus discipline, to mention mainly. There is a positive relationship between these issues and HRD in higher education in the state of Assam.
MATERIALS AND METHODOLOGY:
Tools and Data Collection: The present study is empirical in nature. Primary data are more relevant than secondary data. Personal visits, interviews, questionnaires, and telephonic enquiries were resorted to retrieve primary data. To collect the primary data, appropriate, accurate, and unbiased schedules, questionnaires and opinionnaires were prepared and adequately administered on various students, university and college teachers, administrative staff, principals of affiliated colleges, and parents. The published Annual Reports of universities, the statistics of results published by the higher educational institutions, and the Annual Reports of the Academic Staff Colleges (ASCs) were the sources for secondary data for the study. Reports of UGC and the NCERT were the other sources of published data. The ‘academic calendars’ published by colleges and the ‘journal of higher education’ of UGC, were the other sources of relevant data for the study. The human resources in arts and science colleges in Assam is the universe for data and the human resources in colleges affiliated to different universities are the different strata of the universe. Observations and samples were collected from these strata. Some information was gathered through informal interviews with the resource persons and attending teachers of some refresher courses conducted by Gauhati University in Assam. Consistent with the objective of the study, different techniques like simple percentage method and averages have been used for the analysis of the collected data. Simple statistical techniques of ranking scale, trend analysis and chi-square test have also been used to see the significance of relationships and to study the attitudes of teachers, students, and parents on various aspects of the study.
Sample and Sampling Method: To accomplish the objectives of the present study, a sample of 200 students, 140 regular teachers, 40 guest lecturers, 60 members of administrative staff, 10 librarians, 10 principals, and 40 parents were drawn and obtained information from them. For selecting the sample, simple random sampling method was adopted.
The general findings of the study are listed below:
Poor Quality of Higher Education:
The quality of higher education in Assam is poor. The analysis of responses from the surveys conducted by the researcher supports the statement. Assam suffers badly from its incapacity to break out of its vernacular cocoon. Its Universities are not cosmopolitan centers of education. The communicative competence of teacher and students alike fails to reach internationally acceptable standards. English is not the language of speech and thought. Unfortunately the accent leaves much to be desired.
Bureaucracy without Accountability:
India, particularly Assam is famous for sclerotic bureaucracy, and higher education fits into that mould. Few decisions can be made without taking permission from an authority above and the wheels of decision-making grind slowly. Fear of corruption or loss of control entrenches bureaucracy. Starting a new course, permitting autonomy, granting money, revising curriculum, building infrastructural facilities – all lag for lack of bureaucratic nods. Even after this inundate delay what we execute is the much worn out and obsolete ideas which had been practiced and thrown out by many countries who have unlearned such old things and learned something new and have crossed miles ahead.
Little Incentive to Innovate and Development:
Teachers and academics at colleges and universities have very little incentive to innovate It is a cumbersome task to establish world class universities and institutions in this bureaucratic context. Indian academics are rewarded for longevity rather than productivity, and for conformity rather than innovation. The most productive academics cannot be rewarded for their work and it is almost impossible to pay ‘market rates’ to keep the best and the brightest in the universities.
Academic Culture and Governance:
Our higher educational institutions are enmeshed in a culture of mediocrity, with little competition either among institutions or academics. Universities are subject to the whims of politicians and are unable to plan for their own future. Academics are seldom involved in their leadership and management. Bureaucracy governs everything and holds down innovation.
Corruption at many Levels:
An element of corruption exists at many levels of our higher education – from favoritism in admissions, appointment to faculty positions, cheating in examinations, questionable coaching arrangements, and many others. Damaging at all levels; corruption destroys research culture and makes a world-class higher education impossible.
Poor Research and Training:
The relationship between research and training is that of hands and gloves. It is, therefore, very essential to support research activities in universities and colleges. Today, no university in the state is research-intensive. No university in Assam can claim research-intensive and highly accomplished professor’s work in the system. There is no dearth of talented teachers and academic institutions in our country. Owing to lack of proper planning and development, our academic institutions are still proceed through the conventional way with time old curricula and teaching practices, ignoring the changes in the world.
According to international rankings, India lacks world-class universities. The Indian academics, compared internationally, are rather poorly paid also. Students also suffer from an immense shortage of places in top academic institutions throughout our higher education system.
No Strategy for Development:
We invest money and human power in academic improvement and expansion without undertaking strategies to ensure that the investment yields results. The institutions of higher education should contain the reality and come forward to incorporate such changes demanded by the industries and other developments world over. Capacity building at academic level must be taken up for molding our students suitable for overseas situations.
The state universities are the backbone of higher education in the country. However, these institutions have received shoddy treatment from central government, particularly in the allocation of funds and in the setting up of infrastructural facilities.
Access, Equity, Number, and Relevance:
The problems of Indian education system are of Access, Equity, Number, Relevance, Quality, and Resource Crunch. The system in Assam is also the replica of it.
DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION:
A famous psychologist once made the unique statement that “all humans are born geniuses, but half of us are made idiots by the system of education”. The statement, while expressing an anguish, an anxiety over the prevailing system, also rings a warning bell for the planners and implementers to indicate the extent of damage being done by the present system of education to those who have the potential to be creative, who deserve enrichment and opportunities for better self actualization and also for those who are bestowed with the rare capabilities of carving out their distinct identities in a variety of fields. Unfortunately, any possibility of shaping this distinct identity is being ruthlessly stream rolled in hundreds and thousands of our class-rooms of higher education. It is nothing short of a miracle that modern methods of instruction have not yet strangled the holy curiosity of inquiry. The admission criteria, curriculum, methods of teaching, instructional techniques, or text books fail to foster creative growth; more often than not they stifle the imagination and creative capabilities of students. The purpose of education is not to turn every student in to a Nobel Laureate but the real endeavor should be to kindle the spark of creativity in each student. Introduction of the new dimensions of lateral thinking, creative problem solving, fluency, flexibility, originality, and elaborative capabilities in thought and action would make the task of teaching and learning more exciting, productive, and meaningful.
Guilford in his ‘Structure of Intellect Model’ has shown that there are as many as 120 different ways of being talented. But in our educational system, only one type of talent namely the academic talent is considered as the index of total human ability. A number of talent processes like creative talent, decision-making talent, planning talent, forecasting talent, and many others hardly get exploited during the day-to-day curriculum transaction higher education. The prevailing system, at best, prepares a good receiver of given knowledge, a good memorizer, a good convergent thinker who, in the ultimate analysis, turns out to be a conformist, ready to produce set answers to the given problems. Rarely a student is given an opportunity to some off-the-track thinking to ask some unusual but thought-provoking questions to come forward with novel ideas to solve common problems or to use imagination for producing something exciting which can take society a step forward. There is a paradigm shift in the role and responsibilities of the modern day teacher in higher education.
The concern and significance of teachers’ training was highlighted by the Supreme Court of India in its judgment of June 15, 1993: “Training in a properly organized and equipped training institute is essential before a candidate becomes qualified to receive teachers training certificate. Simply passing the examination is not enough. The future teachers of the country must pass through the institutions which have maintained standards of excellence at all levels”.
The National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE) in its Curriculum Framework for Quality Teacher Education, 1998, summarizes the context and concerns facing teacher education: “Teacher education is an integral component of the educational system. It is ultimately connected with society and is conditioned by the ethos, culture, and character of a nation. The constitutional goals, the directive principles of the state policy, the socio-economic problems, and the growth of knowledge, the emerging expectations, and the changes operating in education, etc. call for an appropriate response from a futuristic education system and provide the perspective within which teacher education programmes need to be viewed.”
The Programme of Action (PoA) 1992 stressed the need for enhancing professional commitment and overall competencies of teachers, improvements in quality of pre-service education with the incorporation of recent developments in the Pedagogical Sciences and Information technology. The expansion in the sector of higher education in Assam has been inadequate. Enrolment in institutions of our higher education has been far lower than the demand. Many of our higher educational institutions do not have adequate facilities and infrastructural developments. Our universities and colleges experience a dearth of qualified faculties. The changes taking place in the teaching learning process elsewhere in the world have hardly received the attraction of the university system in Assam. The curricula at the collegiate level in the state are very obsolete and worn-out and are not adapted to the changing requirements of labour in domestic and international markets. The lack of capacity of the system to cater to the changing job market conditions in the world would affect the prospects for international migration of human resource from Assam. The system of management of higher educational institutions by multiple agencies – the university, the government, private managements – has become cumbersome and complicated and many a time it turns dysfunctional. The existence of these multiple agencies cause unaccountability and shifting of responsibility, as the simile of H.G Wells: ‘hen A pecks B, B pecks C, and C pecks D’. To add all these, our higher educational sector is over regulated and inflexible. Corruption and nepotism rule the roost. These are the stumbling blocks in the pursuit of Human Resources Development in Higher Education in Assam.
In this context, it is necessary to go in for a drastic and thorough change in our higher education for making it vibrant and dynamic. Satisfied humanity is the ultimate objective of HRD. The pivotal crux of the evolution of HRD is currently in the process of a radical change in terms of treating ‘humans’ as ‘end rather than means to an end’, i.e., a resource. HRD is more relevant in this context which focuses in a systems framework all issues in society – whether economic growth, trade, employment, political freedom or cultural values – from the perspective of people. In essence, human is the centre-piece of anything and everything.
To sum up, the index of students ‘performance would be high where the index of quality teachers’ is high. Apart from conceptual and pedagogical aspects, teachers have to develop certain attitudes, disposition, and knowledge to attain a level of competency where teachers shall be the alchemists for an academic transformation rather than merely remaining as the implementers of theories in the classroom situations. The attractive variables for measuring the competency level of teachers are: Internal Performance Indicator; External Performance Indicator; Operational Performance Indicator. The Internal Performance Indicator points to the success rates of a teacher in rendering of quality teaching; the External Performance Indicator measures the reputation rates (publication, citation, patents and so on); and the Operational Performance Indicator evaluates how effectively a teacher performs in the system of higher education. The parameters which measure the output of quality teaching and effective pedagogical inputs are: Academic performance of students in university examinations; Admission into higher courses (PG, M. Phil, Ph. D, Management courses etc.) Employment rates; Awards, medals, national and international recognitions, scholarships and so on; Laurels brought to the nation. Here the teacher is on supply side, and the students are on demand side of the exercise and where the supply curve and the demand curve intersect, there we meet quality education. Here, the pre-condition is the quality of faculty; it offers a movement from shadow to radiance. In fine, the quality of faculty resembles inevitably in the human resources development of students. Autonomy must be granted to higher educational institutions, wherever possible, in the State. Assam is famous for sclerotic bureaucracy, and higher education fits into that mould. Lack of autonomy is one of the stumbling blocks in the pursuit of human resources development in higher education in the State. Incentives, awards, and recognitions to talents in higher education may bring a change in higher educational scenario. It may attract the best talents into the field. Higher education must be free from political clutches, as far as possible. Academics must come in the governance, leadership and management of higher educational institutions in the State. The UG level onwards the education is research oriented. Universities and colleges in the State must be research-intensive. The conventional method of teaching practices must go and we must pave the way for Research and Development (R and D) in higher education in the State. The trio of teaching, research, and extension must get an equal attention in a comprehensive scheme of higher education. The Better pay for faculty in higher education need not be over emphasized. The poorly paid and disgruntled faculty pause a threat in the way of total quality management of higher education.
Investing money and resources without a proper strategy for development bring no result. The institutions of higher education should contain the reality of the ground and must come forward to incorporate such changes demanded by the society and industries and other developmental patterns world across. Capacity building at academic level must be taken up for molding our students fit for such situations inland and overseas.
The UNESCO International Commission on Education for Twenty-first Century, headed by Jacques Delors, has identified “learning to be” and “learning to live together” as two among the four pillars of education. They represent some of the fundamental values which education tries to impart in any society. “Learning to be” addresses the question of development of the inner capacity of the individual which would prepare him to meet the social and political responsibilities. “Learning to live together”, on the other hand, would involve the creation of a harmonious life, transcending sectarian loyalties and differences. The values in education are, therefore, a combination of the universal and the particular, both subject to changes according to the differing patterns of human experience rooted in global and local exchanges.
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Received on 27.07.2013
Modified on 11.09.2013
Accepted on 20.09.2013
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Research J. Humanities and Social Sciences. 4(4): October-December, 2013, 492-500