U.G.C. Academic Staff College
ASC's main philosophy is to keep in mind that teacher is central to the system. While it is universally accepted that teacher is the pivot of the educational system, our system does not provide adequate opportunities for their professional development. It is, therefore, necessary to develop inbuilt mechanisms to provide opportunities for teachers within the framework of knowledge society. It is also accepted that teachers must not be confined only to transmitting information; they must also orient students to meet the challenges of life, to become not merely a trained professional, but also a better citizen. It was believed in the past that teachers learnt the 'art' of teaching on the job by emulating outstanding models such as their own teachers or senior colleagues. The stock-in-trade of teachers has always motivated students. Today, it is no longer adequate to expect a newly appointed teacher to acquire the 'art' of teaching by emulating their peers.
There has been huge Expansion of the Education System in India. From the very beginning our country had moved away from an elitist approach to higher education. We can truly claim that our system of higher education is mass based. This is a great achievement, more so, if we call that this has been achieved in a developing country. While the expansion of the system of higher education is creditable, it has been achieved at a cost to itself. As the system moved away from the idea of higher education of the select few to higher education for all, there has been a decline in overall standards. Initially this was inevitable, but is nonetheless disturbing, especially when one considers the rapid advances being made in knowledge and the explosion of information worldwide. This trend must be reversed. This places greater responsibilities on teachers, and we owe it to them and to ourselves to make it possible for them to perform better in these changing times.
Educational Technology and Orientation in Information Technology-IT is the need of hour. New methods of teaching and educational technology along with developments in IT have made the job of a teacher both exact and demanding. Now, it has been decided to give a bigger thrust to e-content development. In order to create Internet savvy as well as computer literate teachers, to create e-content assemblers and creators, UGC is launching specially designed orientation programs/refresher courses in these subjects. The special orientation program in IT is to create Internet literate people from amongst new entrants as well as in-service teachers and to make them familiar with use of software tools irrespective of the subject/discipline they are teaching. Acquisition of knowledge is a 2-way process between the teachers and the taught and, therefore, collectively they must advance the frontiers of knowledge.
Furthermore, there has been knowledge explosion in every discipline. College/university teachers have to continuously update their knowledge in their chosen field of expertise, or run the risk of becoming totally outdated in a very short period of time. While the really motivated and industrious teachers use their own resources to keep themselves abreast of new knowledge and to train themselves in the latest processes, methodologies and techniques of teaching, it is necessary to provide systematic and organized orientation programs for the large number of teachers at the college and university level.
Concept of an orientation program of newly appointed Lecturers emphasizes teachers as agents of socio-economic change and national development and underlines the need to make them skill –oriented teachers. Philosophy and objectives of the orientation courses are significantly different from the traditional B.Ed. / M.Ed. Programs.
Orientation programs organized at ASC-BHU are not rigid but flexible. Under the program, it is intended to inculcate in young Lecturers the quality of self-reliance through their awareness of the social, intellectual and moral environment. We organize the programs in such a way that it enable teachers to discover themselves and their potential through a positive appreciation of their role in the total social, intellectual and moral universe within which they function and of which they are important members. Only in a country where teachers are able to fulfill their responsibility with awareness and confidence, the educational system becomes relevant and dynamic.
Orientation program must engender in the teacher awareness of the problems that Indian society faces, and that education is the solution to these problems. It must also focus on the achievement of the goals set out in Indian Constitution. Matters relating to subject knowledge and pedagogy, although important in them, would only be meaningful when understood in the total context of national development.
It is equally important to recognize that no scheme for orientation of teachers can succeed if the decision-makers and administrators of higher education do not understand the importance of such programs. Therefore, along with the courses for newly appointed teachers, we plan to conduct orientation programs for heads of departments, principals of Colleges, officers, etc. with a view to acquaint top-level administrators with what teachers are learning in orientation programs. This exposure will enable decision makers to actively participate in the scheme; at the same time, these administrators would be able to modify their own roles as supervisors of higher education by demanding newer role behavior from the teachers.
Exchange of Ideas in Academic and Educational Environment is very significant. An Academic Staff College with adequate number of teachers and resource persons is required to create a good academic and educational environment in the university. This helps the ASC to have a place for exchanging ideas and topics of interest in the subject area. Lectures from participating teachers are also arranged for mutual benefit. We are also planning to request university department to organise lectures by eminent resource persons for the benefit of other students and researchers. This will create a decent amount of academic interest in the university. Director/Coordinator of BHU-ASC prepares a plan well in advance, including the list of names of eminent persons to be invited as resource persons, for the concerned department/school for taking suitable measures.