Srinagar: No teaching evaluation has been undertaken in the Kashmir University in the last five years, in violation of the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) guidelines, resulting in poor teaching quality and no accountability of the teachers.
NAAC has made it compulsory to conduct teachers’ yearly evaluation by students in its accredited varsities. In KU, many well-meaning faculty members argue that the evaluation mechanism makes teachers accountable for their work. It also enhances the academic and research standards, they said
“In the absence of any evaluation, the low performers have been accommodated on plum posts in the KU during the past five years,” the teachers said.
“No disciplinary action such as stalling promotion or holding increment of a teacher has been pursued to hold academia accountable based on student’s evaluation. Instead, the teachers were rewarded randomly irrespective of their scholarship,” they said.
The evaluation of teachers by students took a backseat after former Vice-Chancellor Prof Riyaz Punjabi took over. Punjabi’s successor Prof Talat Ahmad proved no better, and did not annoy the low performers, most of whom enjoy political and bureaucratic patronage.
“When Prof Talat was once advised by a colleague to undertake the teachers’ evaluation exercise and act against the poor performing teachers, he let it pass casually.
“During a KU council meeting, the teachers’ evaluation did turn up as a subject of discussion and the line of action adopted by the varsity against such cases. However, to our surprise Prof Talat got off the point and turned up with something else in order not to face embarrassment,” the KU sources said.
However, the interim VC of the KU, Prof AM Shah, told Kashmir Reader that the evaluation was conducted last year but the report is yet to be submitted. “I have asked the official concerned to submit it as soon as possible,” he said.
Meanwhile, scholars and students also said that with no accountability mechanism in place they face many issues.
“Either the teachers attend classes lately or there are no teachers available for a particular subject to teach. At the time of our exams syllabus is usually incomplete,” a group of students and scholars told Kashmir Reader.
“In addition,” they said, “examinations are not held on time as proposed under university calendar. This fault of teachers means students have to spend an extra year for two-year degree courses.”
The sources said that students wouldn’t have to face such issues if the full-fledged Directorate of Internal Quality Assurance (DIQA), established with a mandate to assess and monitor academic and administrative performance of higher education, hadn’t been sitting idle since 2008.
As Prof Talat’s term was about to expire, the DIQA prepared a report about the complaints against the teachers. However, that report is yet to be acted upon by university higher-ups. The report contained complaints in many departments including computer sciences, commerce and economics to name a few. “Yet it has to been seen whether an action would be taken or simply certificates with low grades would be issued as had been the case five years ago,” the sources said.