Published On: Fri, Mar 2nd, 2012

Hamid Ansari: Time to depoliticise education

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Hamid Ansari

Hamid Ansari, Vice President

Vice President of India, Hamid Ansari has said that seeking concrete steps to depoliticise education and cease to view teacher appointments as patronage or largesse was necessary to improve Higher Education in India, adding that  politically empowering teachers, while professionally dis-empowering them, was a disservice to the cause of education.  He was addressing 44th Convocation of Utkal University as the chief guest.

He said the current system of teacher recruitment, teaching methods, performance assessment, incentive and reward pattern and way of accountability raised many questions. Vice-President Hamid Ansari sought quick steps to rebuild professional identity and skills of teachers and to depoliticise education to improve the quality of teaching.

“The key to improving quality of education system is to bring the focus back on teachers. It is a matter of concern that our society and polity today does not accord that primacy and reverence to teachers,” Ansari said . Recalling that people in ancient India believed that the guru was Brahma, Vishnu and Maheshwara, he said “we are inheritors of a civilisational legacy that accords the highest place and respect to teachers.”

“Far too often the focus, regrettably, is on completing the syllabus rather than on cultivating critical thinking skills and competencies. This needs to be corrected,” the vice-president said. The need of the hour was to painstakingly rebuild the professional identity of teachers, nurture their skills and professional competence through continuing education, he said adding it must be ensured that their work reflected Constitutional values and society needed to recognise their work and reward them appropriately.

Referring to Yashpal Committee tasked to suggest measures for rejuvenation of higher education, Ansari said its report pointed out that universities remained under-managed and badly governed with constricted autonomy, internal subversion within academia and multiple and opaque regulatory systems.