Professors lack professionalism

Permanent tenures in universities create an aura of dominance leading to exercise of coercive powers

May 28, 2023 01:08 am | Updated 01:08 am IST

The appointment process of professors needs structural changes. 

The appointment process of professors needs structural changes.  | Photo Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

When the subject of rewriting history is being debated across different platforms with different perspectives, I, as a student of history, finds something different to address. We all talk about changing the academic curriculum, bringing new policies on education, changing the pattern of entrance examinations and what not. But I find all these as peripheral. We ignore the crux of all these, knowingly or unknowingly.

The crux is those who make it possible for the institutions to survive: professors and students. I will talk more about professors and less about students. Right to expression is a fundamental right enshrined in the Constitution and on that account, I should not be apologetic in saying that Indian professors lack professionalism.

What does the term professionalism connotes here? Ideally, a professor who is endowed with a high level of intellectualism should take more lectures so that he or she could impart it to a generation in the making. But, the more educated you are, the fewer lectures you take, which has now become a norm. Instead of taking classes of their own, they delegate the task to Ph.D. scholars, who may be good in knowledge but lack articulation and expression as they lack experience, which, in turn, dilute the essence of discourse and debate in class.

One cannot deny that professors do have administrative responsibility. Instead of handling classes on their own, they do take help from a few students and in return, pay them remuneration in academic favouritism. If a student disagrees with what professors dictate, there are high chances that it will take him or her a semester back or invite other consequences. More or less the same happens with Ph.D. scholars as well. They cannot surpass their professors intellectually and they will always have to remain subordinate to them which in sociology, we call structural stagnation.

Now, the question arises what should be the solution? The appointment process of professors needs structural changes. The process of getting qualified in NET/JRF followed by interviews with senior professors has a certain element of favouritism which suppresses meritorious students. Appointments should be purely based on merit, which includes publication of research papers, columns or books. Promotions should be followed in a similar way. Second, professors should not be allowed to stay in a college for more than three years or so. Permanent tenure of professors in universities creates an aura of dominance leading to exercise of coercive powers, which ultimately results in lack of professionalism. There should be transfer of professors from one university to the other. This process will provoke them to be updated on their topic and will surely be a relief for students.

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