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HindustanTimes Sun,21 Sep 2014

A year on, PU plan of teachers’ evaluation by students hangs fire

Jyotsna Jalali, Hindustan Times  Chandigarh, August 20, 2014
First Published: 10:27 IST(20/8/2014) | Last Updated: 10:30 IST(20/8/2014)
Even though last year the Panjab University administration had, after much debate, accepted the University Grants Commission’s controversial guidelines on students “evaluating” teachers’ performance, these have not been implemented so far. It had been decided once they were in place at the varsity its affiliated colleges were supposed to follow in complying with the norms.

After teachers expressed resentment over the proposal, the evaluation form was reduced to just a feedback form that was posted on the PU website. Students could download the form and fill it out for teachers. One major reason the UGC norms were not implemented was lack of accountability as no third party was involved. The feedback was given by student to the teacher concerned, with no provision for any punishment in case of adverse feedback.

Once a major issue on the campus, a year later no one now talks about teachers’ evaluation with even student groups not appearing to be interested. Meanwhile, dean of university instruction AK Bhandhari and dean of students’ welfare Navdeep Goyal have been busy passing the buck, each saying implementation of the UGC norms was the other’s responsibility.

When contacted, Goyal said: “The UGC guidelines on teachers’ evaluation was to be implemented by the dean of university instruction.” On the other hand, Bhandhari said: “The matter was approved by both the PU senate and syndicate and it’s the job of the dean of students’ welfare to begin the process of implementing the UGC rules.”

The issue regarding evaluation of teachers by students was taken up last year by student leaders, who said such an exercise was mandatory in accordance with UGC guidelines. The resentment among teachers was such that even the Panjab University Teachers’ Association (PUTA) joined the debate and held several meetings to discuss the matter.

However, before the proposal could be approved by the PU senate and syndicate, teachers got together and succeeded in watering down the evaluation form. It was decided only students with 75% attendance and without any re-appear would be allowed to fill these forms and the latter would be handed over to the teacher concerned. There was no reference of any action against a teacher who did not get a good feedback as well as no provision on taking action against any deficient teacher. No third party involvement meant the feedback would remain strictly between the student and the teacher.

Prof Rajat Sandhir, president of PUTA, said, “I also don’t know where the project got lost and what stopped its implementation. I shall look into it and if possible would try to revive it.”
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