Higher education and skilling is the subject of many discussions, not just in government circles but also among industry bodies, NGOs and civil society. In the run-up to the preparations for the 12th Five-Year Plan of the Planning Commission, many of the discussions on this topic have rightly focused on the twin challenges of addressing the Shortage of Faculty and of improving the Quality of Faculty.
After many years of sustained neglect, faculty issues are without question amongst the most daunting challenges in the field of education that faces us as a nation today. What is needed is a paradigm shift in the thinking related to the quality of faculty and the quality of education today.
The following recommendations to the Ministry of Human Resources Development (MHRD) from HEF are focused solely on the issue of Quality of Faculty and the means to improve this. As such, the recommendations relate largely only to Human Resource (HR) policies with respect to 1) recruitment, 2) development, 3) career progression and 4) retention schemes for teachers. Besides providing recommendations, HEF offers to make use of the considerable teaching experience of its members to play an active role in implementing many of these recommendations.
There are two very broad groupings of teachers namely, existing teachers and incoming new teachers. The recommendations begin with those pertaining to new teachers, before moving on to those which apply to all teachers or simply existing teachers.
In the Indian tradition of Guru-Shishya Parampara, the education profession is entrusted with the responsibility of molding the minds of young people so that they become worthy citizens of a humane society. Such trust and responsibility calls for the highest ideals of professional service and the highest degree of ethical conduct.
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