Annual Confidential Revenge in Higher Education institutions
HIGHER Education plays a major role in the development of every society. It produces scientists, engineers, doctors, business people, pilots, accountants and other professionals who contribute by applying their knowledge and skills in their respective fields.
Apart from enabling the environment at the HEIs, the faculty members devote their sweat and blood to convey knowledge and creating scenarios for acquiring skills.
All is done to produce quality graduates who may help society to solve its problems. Challenges faced by the HEIs in terms of financial and technical domains are also important to be addressed, but satisfaction and motivation of the faculty members are to be given topmost priority.
The first step in this regard would have a faculty handbook wherein the roles and responsibilities of the faculty members should be mentioned.
It is an international practice and need of the hour. The roles may include teaching, assessment, examination, supervision and other relevant tasks.
The teaching and load of other assignments may also be described in that. Further, how their roles will be evaluated may also be mentioned.
Faculty members at the initial stage of the career need continuous supervision of the seniors to develop appropriate teaching strategies and methods.
When they interact with some faculty members who are good at teaching but not for the good of the authorities, they start to feel the heat from the sitting Chairman of the department for disassociating them from them.
In turn, they will get subjects for teaching as per their choice during the semester; they will be a member of the various committees, and examination duties and other benefits will be available for them.
Such instances compel them to join one or the other group of faculty members. Although associations are created for welfare purposes, sometimes the same are misused by individuals for personal benefits.
Second, the HEIs should have an internal self-assessment system to improve the teaching and learning environment.
HEIs are currently practicing a summative approach for evaluating teaching practices, content, conduct, etc.
There is a possibility to use a constructive approach which will help adjust the appropriate teaching or assessment strategies.
Resultantly, student learning will be ensured this way. Sometimes, junior teachers are given subjects in senior classes, which is not a good option.
The student will lack interest in that subject if they cannot deliver. The subject distribution should be done with consultation and after sharing the strengths of all faculty members in various domains.
Moreover, a combination of new and old subjects may be assigned each term to provide sufficient time to prepare lectures.
Third, the HEIs may take care of all professional needs of the faculty members and develop some mechanism to take care of all social and personal needs of faculty members as well.
There are many HEIs where housing, transport and hospital facilities are given. Some HEIs, also have schools for children or have an agreement for some discounts with a good chain of schools.
HEIs must practice and follow a merit and transparency system for allocating various institutional resources and professional development opportunities to retain highly qualified faculty members.
The overall objective is to facilitate faculty members so that they become free from all daily problems and may focus on their primary job.
The violation of merit in allotment of house, transport, scholarships, promotion and selection to next grade, and other such service where some financial benefit is linked will create an unpleasant working environment.
As a result, a cycle of victimization starts, including threats of adverse remarks in the Annual Confidential Report (ACR).
The parameters mentioned in the ACR are generic and need to be specific for faculty members performing separate tasks than conventional table work.
Countries around the world have developed scorecard-based appraisal systems for teaching, research, assessment and community work evaluation.
It not only generates a healthy competition system but will also help remove that revenge culture through ACR.
The HEIs may also develop a calendar for training and capacity-building faculty members in different areas.
Higher Education Commission has established the National Academy of Higher Education which has developed seven modules for pre-service and in-service faculty members.
The capacity development events must be organized regularly to improve the relevant skills.
Even customized events may be arranged for those who receive minimum marks in the annual student evaluation.
There is a need to develop a formal peer support system in which seniors may guide their juniors weekly or monthly.
The privacy of all matters should be observed as some sensitive souls may get hurt if their weakness is disclosed.
A sincere effort from all stakeholders will help to achieve the collective objective of producing quality graduates for the country and the world. The conflicts and confusions must be addressed before they become cancer for society.
—The writer is Deputy Director at Higher Education Commission, Islamabad.