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Protest at ‘toothless’ audit

The proposed academic audit at universities would not be followed up with promotion or punishment of teachers, the state higher education council chairman said on Monday, triggering questions about the need for such an apparently toothless exercise.

“The academic audits will in no way be linked to teachers’ promotions. The question of taking any punitive measure against teachers, too, does not arise,” Sugata Marjit said. “The exercise, to start from the next academic session, will only evaluate teachers.”

Marjit issued the clarification as some teacher lobbies, affiliated to Left as well as non-Left parties, had objected to such audits as they feared that their promotions would depend on it.

Teachers are particularly opposed to the council’s plan to consider feedback from students as a parameter for the assessment.

“The audit intends to improve the teaching standard of the 14 state universities. There is a miconception among the teachers that the audits would be used to harass them but the government has no such intention,” said an official in the higher education department.

However, the council’s decision to not give any incentive to better performers or pull up under-performers has raised questions in various academic circles about the efficacy of the move.

“What is the point in having such an audit if there is no provision to reward good teachers,” said a vice-chancellor.

“The exercise would have given the government an excellent opportunity to haul up the education system. There are many teachers who do not have an inclination to improve their skills. These teachers will continue to neglect work if no punitive action is taken.”

The knowledge of a teacher and the usefulness of his or her lectures and assignments are some of the parameters for assessment.