IF I were any god of power, I would have directed the Lokayukta to look into that bad business called the B Ed and would consider him very gullible indeed if he thought imparting education were a noble task possessing time-honoured nobility.
Like any other academic session this year too the B Ed degree is in turmoil. I fail to understand why things always go wrong every year, despite the fact that there are five or more distinguished national and provincial agencies engaged in this great academic enterprise.
To begin with it, is the State Council for Education and Research (SCERT) that scrutinises the applications for the opening of the B Ed degree course in the colleges, and sends its committee to make the preliminary on-the-spot inspection of the colleges regarding the infrastructure, staff and other facilities.
Once satisfied, it sends the case to the Higher Education Department for further action, which involves another inspection by its own staff. Then the case is referred to the National Council for Teacher Education NCTE), which in its turn sends another inspection committee to verify the teaching staff, building, library, electronic teaching aids, funds etc.
Satisfied at its level, it gives recognition to the colleges to open the B Ed degree course and forwards the case to the concerned affiliating university to grant affiliation. But before granting the affiliation, the university constitutes its own committee to go through the same routine inspection of teaching staff, building, library, laboratory etc. When satisfied, the affiliation is granted to the college/colleges.
This year, another body known as the M P Board of Secondary Education has been entrusted the task of distributing the admission forms for students: it has already created problems in the distribution of forms and has allegedly raised its cost from Rs 100 to Rs 350 this year.
Nay, the B Ed business does not stop here, for we have other ad hoc bodies, with time-to-time intervention of the Honorable High Court in deciding the fee structure. With so many agencies involved, one expects the B Ed degree should run smooth, but the tragedy is it does not.
The question that haunts is why should there be so many inspections for the same purpose or the same end? We know what audit and inspections in our country mean? Even if this is appreciated as a meticulous process to ensure quality colleges and quality teachers, why despite so many inspections there is confusion every year about the recognition and affiliation of colleges imparting B Ed course?
There is chaos this year too on the issue of recognition/de-recognition and affiliation/disaffiliation of colleges. The most wonderful thing is that the Chancellor of the State universities has not taken cognizance of such a shameful situation perpetuating in the name of Higher Education.
When I talked to some very responsible persons about the syllabi and the maintenance of academic standards and quality training to the teachers, their various comments may be summed up in one word ‘No idealism, please’.
Thus in the whole exercise there is no room for quality training to be imparted. Recognition and affiliation are the entire business of the various agencies involved in the process. My heart goes out for those poor students who want to take the B Ed but are scared away by unaffordable enormous fees.
Why should one blame the colleges for they are doing pure business and the fee they charge (around 25,000) includes the alleged investments on many inspections they have to go through and a lot of unforeseen expenditures? A businessman wants his investment returned with interest and can ill afford to be charitable.
I wish that His Excellency Dr Balram Jakhar, the Chancellor of the State Universities, took note of this bad business, which makes a laughing stock of Higher Education under his charge. Or should he not advise the NCERT to further augment the powers and duties of the National Council of Teacher Training that grants recognition to colleges to serve as a single window for the B Ed course.