New API grading criteria expected to be more flexible- UGC officials

New API grading criteria expected to be more flexible- UGC officials

Often people think that the work of a faculty is unchallenging or effortless. Its a common myth among students that teachers just come to the class, teach, mark the attendance and leave. Students judge their faculty on the basis of their clothing and the car in which they travel, it is so at least in most of India. But ever in anybody’s mind had the thought popped up about the struggle they do to maintain their living? not so often, I suppose. If they are getting a handsome salary today, it’s only after the struggle of more than half of their life. It is the so called ‘API grading/API score card’ which is held every year to give them the considerable hike which they deserve for moulding clay like pupil into a pot.

In the year 2010, API grading system was introduced. Taking into consideration the ongoing API system, it expects an unrealistic research output even from teachers of those colleges and institutes which don’t have the proper research facilities and enabling environment. So to abide by the uniform, appraisal criteria for all teachers was much needed especially for those from socially and economically backward areas. Teachers’ unions have been protesting against API scores ever since it was introduced, on the ground that it is inflexible and the strict regimentation of a teacher’s work kills free and critical thinking. The new API criteria will be notified soon.

As per the present API grading system under the research category, the evaluation is based on the number of research papers/publications, notably, 20 per cent on research projects, 10 per cent on research guidance/undergraduate dissertations and 15 per cent on training course and conference/seminars. The UGC has made the research criterion more flexible by scrapping the provision that made it mandatory for a teacher to contribute to all parts of research, including publishing papers in journals, attending conferences and seminars and guiding PhD and undergraduate dissertations. Now a teacher can score high in the research category by focusing on any of the above elements.

So, as to avoid such acute turmoil the focus has been shifted from research to how well a faculty member is teaching the class.

Evaluating the teacher has always been the top priority of students and much talked about thing in the education world. There are a lot of more fundamental changes that need to be made in public education before we spend time revamping teacher evaluation. It seems that a lot of new evaluation schemes are attempting to hold teachers accountable for factors they don’t control and penalize them for shortcomings for which they are not responsible.

Now sooner or later, the entire concept of education will undergo a change wherein not only the teachers will assess the students performance in the examination but also the students will be given the power they always wanted – to rate their teachers! The recent change has been brought up by the Ministry of Human Resource and Development to change this balance immensely. This decision was taken by the UGC at its last meeting held in April. The higher education regulator has also modified API to make teaching/learning the main criterion of performance appraisal instead of research and co-curricular activities.

It’s a sure bet that many of us would be pondering that ratings given by the students will be meaningless – students don’t know enough to evaluate the quality of their instruction. Some of us might be of the view that the high ratings always go to the easy graders and entertainers; few of us with complete assurance can say that the rigorous instructors who are really the best teachers may get low ratings now, but in later years, their students will come to appreciate them.

Students should feel quite happy as from now onwards they will have a say in assessment of instructors as Smriti Irani driven HRD Ministry has chosen to acquire key changes in the way the execution of those in the showing calling is surveyed. Another good thing is that that the University Grants Commission (UGC) has tweaked the contentious Academic Performance Indicators (API) — a mandatory requirement for universities and colleges to select and promote faculty members. What else can you expect? Now the students have the full right to participate in the performance appraisal of their respected teachers.

But if students really want to evaluate the teachers they have to fulfil one condition? Now what is that? This is that instead of bunking classes and going for a movie one has to have 75 per cent or more attendance. The primary center of the progressions that we are acquiring this criteria is that an instructor’s execution ought to be connected with – how well does he educate.

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