In the U.S., teachers prepare syllabus, fix method of teaching, says visiting team

A group of faculty members and students of New York University, who are on a two-week study tour to India, are quite puzzled about the university system here, particularly after being informed that faculty members are not directly involved in framing of syllabus and the methodology to be followed in teaching a particular subject.

A different system

“It is surprising to know that teachers are not given the basic responsibility of designing the syllabus and the method to be followed. We understand that teachers follow a syllabus prepared by the university,” says Ann Marcus, Director, Steinhardt Institute for Higher Education Policy, New York University.

She is part of the 25-member team from the university who are on a study tour to Mumbai and Kerala to understand the higher education system in India.

On the sidelines of an interaction with Vice-Chairman of the Kerala State Higher Education Council T.P. Sreenivasan and his team, Ms. Marcus told The Hindu that in the U.S. the faculty was entrusted with the task of designing curriculum and the methodology to be followed.

At the Steinhardt University, she says for the same subject, teachers follow different curriculum and methods of teaching. “We change the syllabus often to accommodate latest global trends and make it more interactive. That means we have to do a lot of work, sometimes we spend more time than students in referring books and getting accustomed to the latest developments,” she adds.

Research thrust

Daniel, who is doing masters in higher education, says the best part of their training is students are in tune with the latest happenings.

“Another thing I find lacking in India is the lack of thrust in research. In the U.S. even at the undergraduate level, lot of emphasis is given to research and paper presentation,” he says

The government intervention in education, Ms. Marcus says is minimal and most decisions are taken at the university and institute levels. “I heard from people here, that there is great opposition in giving autonomy to colleges in Kerala. The fear is because people are suspicious about change. In most countries autonomy proves to be handy for students,” she says. Loni Bordoloi, a research candidate, says student movements are strong on U.S. campuses and views of students matter a lot in framing of education policy. The team visited the University of Kerala and interacted with students and faculty of Mar Ivanios College.