The world’s third-largest higher education system of India is presently catering to 37.4 million students through 14.16 lac of teachers with a gross enrolment ratio of more than 26.3.
The average pupil-teacher ratio (PTR) staggering around 26 is quite low as compared to this ratio in the world’s best Universities with respect to teaching which has it in a single digit.
As per the report published by All India Survey on Higher Education, in some states of the country, the PTR is as low as 50 meaning thereby that quite a sizable number of teachers are needed for enabling the effective teaching-learning processes in higher education across the country.
Looking from the global perspective, the recent Times World University Ranking-2020 shows that the first Indian higher education institutions (HEI) to figure in this ranking is the Indian Institute of Sciences in the rank range 301-350.
The first public university to figure in this ranking is Jawaharlal Nehru University in the range 601-800. These facts indicate that the higher education institution needs to upgrade a lot on all accounts namely teaching, research, citations, industry income, and international outlook for competing globally.
The assessment scores in various attributes of India’s elite HEIs do not demonstrate a very encouraging situation leading to the conclusion that the deficiencies do exist and are concerning.
Among these attributes, teaching is one of the most important components and relates to the moot purpose of HEIs. To wrap up it can be said that the performance of any educational institution depends primarily upon the quality of teachers in HEIs.
Thus, the teachers being the substratum of the higher education institute, the issues pertaining to PTR and their quality should be brought to the fore.
From time immemorial, the higher education institution has been finding it quite difficult to attract good teachers, though the term ‘good teacher’ has subjectivity involved in it.
Introspecting into the aspects pertaining to a teacher, an individual with excellent academic credentials, flair for teaching, passion to mentor others, effective communicator, good listener, good domain knowledge and strong work ethics along with the basic requirements of creativity, honesty, high integrity, and good human being can be called a good teacher.
It is obvious that the features indicated herein will have varying connotations for different individuals, but the fundamental requirements to accomplish the excellent teaching-learning and research-extension remain intact.
Reasoning Limitations For Brilliant People
Let us see the prevailing situation of teacher recruitments. Teaching in HEIs necessitates the eligible ones to possess postgraduate qualifications and other certifications.
It means that the age of the aspirants is likely to cross 25 years in all possibilities even in case of those with sparkling academic credentials.
Usually, on account of varying reasons, it is not possible for all of the capable ones to wait until the age of 25-27 years for getting a regular job.
Also, family support is happily available for pursuing undergraduate courses gradually becomes feeble for further education at postgraduate levels.
At the same time, the individuals also start comparing their life with that of their counterparts who have opted for a job immediately after completing the graduation.
It may inculcate frustration due to future uncertainties for teaching jobs in the country.
Apparently, some of the obvious reasons for the brilliant ones drifting away from the teaching profession include the long period of study before becoming eligible, insufficiency of opportunities, sustenance while pursuing higher studies, fairness & integrity of recruitment processes, etc.
Therefore, it is inescapable to strategize for attracting brilliant ones to the teaching profession as well as in good numbers.
Excellent academic credentials are extremely important for those being picked up as teachers in context to the respective institution. Special attention is needed towards the pedigree comprising of high school, intermediate and graduation as the students complete these levels with utmost innocence and aspiration to excel.
Potential of any candidate having done extremely well in education up to the first-degree level consistently can not be questioned.
In general, the education at the postgraduate level is embedded with the individual’s longing to attain the specific end goals and anyone even with poor pedigree detailed earlier may do exceptionally well.
But it does not elicit good academic competence of such performers.
In view of a large number of seekers for teaching jobs with respect to the available opportunities, it has been evident that the sanctity of processes followed for recruiting teachers are often voided.
Thus, it is imperative to evolve a suitable strategy for hooking up the best candidates as future potential teachers right at the stage of the graduation itself so that they can be groomed properly.
A look at the core strength of defense forces in the country exhibits it to be accrued from the selection of proper human resources immediately after higher secondary education and their proper training in National Defence Academy.
So why the higher education system can’t also follow a somewhat similar model and make teaching an attractive career for the brilliant ones.
Awarding teacher’s job to the brilliant scholars in the respective institution in the final year of graduation and providing decent fellowships till the completion of post-graduate & doctoral qualifications from the best institutions as per their capability will end the uncertainty in the minds of those brilliant ones aspiring to become teachers.
These candidates recruited as the teacher trainees will have no future uncertainties about getting a job and their financial independence will also keep them motivated and committed for the best deliveries in the postgraduate courses and research.
After successful completion of the postgraduate and doctoral degrees, these teacher trainees may be formally declared full-fledged teachers i.e. Assistant Professors in the present scenario.
The concept of early recruitment of the brilliant ones may be restrained to limited toppers of every course depending upon the availability of vacancies in conformity to other regulations with applications on a pan India basis in all higher education institutions to get the best brain into the teaching profession.
Time is ripe for transforming the teacher recruitment process. Otherwise, the inappropriate quality due to various factors will eventually worsen the scenario in due course of time.
Higher education needs to be strengthened by enriching its core strength which is possible only when the teachers coming into them are those with exemplary academic and other credentials.
The sanctity of our own education systems recognizing the students as toppers and awarding medals as recognition to their competence should be corroborated with the opportunity of becoming teachers as well.
It goes without saying that the quality of teaching and research is bound to excel through the meritorious, committed and passionate individuals getting into the roles of teachers in higher education institutions.
The issues responsible for the inadequacy of performance parameters of HEIs as evinced through different ranking frameworks entail accepting the weaknesses and taking corrective measures accordingly.
It also needs to be realized that there have been fallacies yielding in failure to attract the best ones to the teaching profession.
The academic community has to deliberate and evolve appropriate strategies for enriching the quality of the stuff getting into teaching. Investing upon the human resource at the nascent stage in the teaching profession is likely to improve the deliverables and should be tried upon.
The state of affairs in academic leadership also needs holistic brainstorming so as to ensure that the higher education institution gets good teachers and credible academic leadership of merit for assured quality of output from the institutions.
To begin with, the experiments should be made in the premier institutions for attracting their own gold medalist undergraduates as teachers in premier institutions through suitable regulations.
Let us realize that merely evolving new regulations to overcome the crisis & difficulties faced in the traditional approach of teacher hiring will not end up in improving the overall quality of the institutions, rather radical thinking is needed to populate our higher education institution with world-class teachers so that the quality generates quality.
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