The student feedback system started with much fanfare last year to evaluate the performance of teachers at Panjab University (PU) remains a farce. Instead of allowing the students give the feedback online, so that can share their views without any hesitation, they are being made to fill in the forms in the presence of the teacher concerned.
Professor Rajat Sandhir, former president of the Panjab University Teachers Association (PUTA), who was also one of the two members of the committee formed to frame the feedback form, said: “When PU had introduced the feedback system to evaluate the teachers, it was planned to make it online. We are looking forward to see the system on an online platform.”
Defending the present system, current PUTA president professor Akshaya Kumar said: “The whole idea of this system was to help the teachers improve their performance through the students’ feedback, and not to penalise them. It is just a pedagogical exercise and there were no specifications stating that the feedback should be online.”
PU Campus Student Council president Jasmeen Kang, however, calls for “zero interference”of teachers in the feedback process. “When the varsity can make the tendering process online, putting the feedback form online is not a big deal. The online form will help the students give their response quickly,” he said.
Maintaining that the current system was receiving “very positive” response, internal quality assurance cell (IQAC) director Prof Rajiv Lochan said: “Teachers are willingly submitting their feedback forms to us. Although the online feedback system has been facing a lot of problems in the universities that have implemented it, we have asked a UIET professor to look into its popularity.”
The feedback system was implemented in the varsity in 2015. It enabled students to evaluate their teachers and curriculum at the end of the semester. Students can rate a teacher on different parameters, such as ability to complete syllabus on time, interaction and communication in class, ability to inspire, punctuality, preparedness for lecture, availability and accessibility, etc. On a form comprising 10 questions, students are also asked to comment on a teacher’s use of modern teaching aids, reference material, PowerPoint presentations, web resources and even their attitude.
The forms are maintained by the internal quality assurance cell of the university and the superior authorities can access them any time. The students are not supposed to write their name or roll number on the form, and there is an undertaking that the feedback will be kept confidential and used only for the betterment of education.