Monitoring University Teachers

universityUniversity teachers are well protected in every aspect after the 6th Pay Commission hikes. Without any demands on performance the pay commission had increased their salaries many times. Now comes the government rider for performance. Seethalakshmi writes in The Times of India (182.2009.p.17) performance appraisal of professors and college principals? If the University Grants Commission (UGC) has its way, for the first time, lakhs of professors and principals in the 400-odd universities across the country will face evaluation. The UGC proposal includes compulsory stay on campus for five hours every day, 30 weeks of actual teaching (six working days), minimum six hours research per week and performance assessment. The vacation period too has been cut from 10 weeks a year to eight weeks. The UGC’s draft notification on ‘revision of pay scales, minimum qualifications for appointment of teachers in universities/colleges and other measures for maintenance of standards 2009’stipuates that everyone – from associate professors to principals – in all colleges/universities will come under the newly introduced Performace Apraisal Scoring System (PASS) and Academic Performance Indicator (API), UGC sources said the regulation would be finalized in March after receiving feedback from universities and teacher associations. Simply put, they will be evaluated on various criteria. For instance, a professor who excels in developing new technologies for teaching and satisfies the required number of hours for teaching will get 150 points, while 200 points has been earmarked for student mentoring, professional activities (being a member of board or committee) will earn him/her 50 points. And then there are points for familiarity with up-to-date teaching material too. To ensure that the best get into teaching, direct recruitment will be only through merit and the vice-chancellors themselves will head selection committees. On its part, the UGC will draw up a national subject expert bank and colleges/universities must include the expert while appointing a professor. “The idea is not aimed at policing the education system but to bring in quality in our higher education system. Universities can develop a weightage formula. But UGC will seek a compliance report every year from the universities on the performance. We have sought feedback from the stakeholders, “UGC sources told TOI. Predictably, university teachers are not happy, with UGC diktat. Said B.G. Bhaskara, treasurer of FEDCUTA in Karnaaka. “There are too many conditions, especially for recruitments at the college level. They are not practical. Some measures like performance indicators are needed but why is the teaching community targeted? Didn’t state and central government employees too benefit from the 6th Central Pay Commission?” Generally the government jobs are considered to be easy going ones. Without work and productivity government staff can expect to get their pay every month. With such a heavy hike in their salaries it is anticipated from them to give better results. Otherwise even public sympathy for the government staff will get eroded. Then all the strikes and demands for better pay packages and benefits will go unnoticed. For everyone’s benefit now the public servants in teaching should start delivering. No excuse of underpay and lack of government attention to their welfare should be given.