Time for teachers to worry about grades


The war between teachers and the Vice Chancellor at Delhi University rages on.

After last year’s controversy over the proposed ‘Biometric Attendance System’ for teachers, the Vice Chancellor has now decided upon an ‘evaluation system’ for them whereby students will grade them on the basis of their regularity, quality of teaching and innovative teaching methods. This grading will then determine the faculty members’ salary hikes and promotion.

To add insult to injury, the VC explained that he had been inspired by the survey done by DUTA (Delhi University Teachers Association) last month wherein the negative feedback of students on the Four-Year Undergraduate Programme was collected, and now, DUTA is being given a taste of its own medicine. Understandably the teachers are outraged over the move and have demanded an immediate rollback of the statement.
DUTA president Nandita Narain says it clearly smacks of “vendetta,” “In late October and the first week of November, we gave out forms to students of Miranda House, SRCC and St Stephen’s College requesting their feedback on the four-year programme - its structure, content and the Foundation Courses. Ninety per cent of the students rejected FYUP and said they preferred the three-year system. The VC clearly can’t digest that.”
“But we want to ask him that if he is so fond of ‘feedbacks’ why not implement the findings of our survey first? Why not do away with FYUP as per the students’ wishes and then take their feedback on us? He will never do that.”

Abha Dev Habib, a member of the Executive Council, Delhi University, points out the lack of clarity on whether these ‘evaluation reports’ will be shared with teachers. 

“He doesn’t say a thing about acquainting the teachers with their shortcomings on the basis on these reports, and thus, improving the academic environment. He is only threatening us with demotions and salary cuts. This is not in the spirit of the exercise of ‘feedbacks.’”

“I presume the next time I attend a dharna against the VC’s flurry of ‘reforms,’ I’ll be told there is a negative ‘evaluation report’ against me,” she says.

Vijaya Venkatraman, an associate professor of Spanish in the Department of Germanic and Roman Studies, is worried about students giving a ‘wrong report’ if the teacher is strict with them, “Many a times, a teacher has to be harsh with students if they are not attending classes or taking the assignments seriously. We have to scold them. It is for the good of the students, but will it end up harming the teachers themselves?”
“Even if such a system is implemented, there have to be safeguards to ensure that it is not misused by the students or the DU authorities.”

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