The week long Capacity Building Workshop on Quality Initiatives for Higher Education for the staff, conducted by the IQAC of the CTTE College, began on 02/11/2020 with the introduction of the resource person, Dr. S. Sridevi, Principal, Chevalier T Thomas Elizabeth College for Women, Perambur, Chennai. Beginning with the concept of University system, Dr. Sridevi traced the origin from the ancient to the modern time. She cited philosophy as the fountainhead of science and other knowledge systems. Expounding on the evolution of mass education, she spoke about the various agencies such as NAAC, NIRF etc. that were established to rank the educational institutions. Dr. Sridevi spoke at length about Knowledge Economy while highlighting its importance. She pointed out that the society needs to adapt to the demands of knowledge economy and should produce a workforce that will be suitable. She connected capitalism and the creation of Education as an industry where the student is the consumer in whose service the teachers should seek to deliver the latest research in the respective fields, in the classroom.
On the second day the various education policies of India were discussed and the changes and improvements in each were highlighted. As Higher Education is being redesigned to meet the growing demands of specialisation, multiple roles of teachers has become the norm. In order to be effective, quality research related to the subject they handle should be done by the teachers.
On the third day, Dr. Sridevi spoke about the importance of team work within the college. She recalled the Individualism of the American businesses and the team work of the Japanese, where can be seen a family atmosphere within the corporate environs. She emphasised that learning opportunities are available and it should be the teacher’s responsibility to create the atmosphere of learning within the classroom and effective teaching will occur. Seeds sown will sprout later, is her belief.
On day 4 of the Capacity Building Workshop, Dr. Sridevi focused on Quantitative assessment and Outcome Based Education. Regarding the slow learners, support through remedial classes in mother tongue can be extended and assessment methods can be diverse. As the alumni of the college do not have high profile jobs, the college should focus more on quality in the teaching process and not focus only on the result. OBE is benchmarked as a standard for accreditation by NAAC. Since CTTE is catering to a marginalised, historically neglected section of society, it does not mean that there should be a compromise on quality and knowledge. Creating environment to inveigle the students to read and thereby being more responsive to the student diversity is the way to achieve the desired outcome.
The National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) was discussed in detail on day 5 of the Workshop by Dr. Sridevi. She revealed that a Memorandum Of Understanding signed with Google will enable extraction of data from the unified GSuite. She urged the teachers to utilise the GSuite to its maximum capacity by posting material, links to interesting websites, research papers and books in the classrooms for the advanced learners. This will encourage students to read and explore on their own, eventually.
On the 6th day, Dr.Sridevi spoke in length about Education as a capitalistic venture on the one hand and on designing a working plan for CTTE on the other hand. Proposing a working model for CTTE by customizing NAAC and NIRF guidelines, Dr. Sridevi put forth propositions to be followed by the faculty henceforth.
On the final day of the Capacity Building Workshop, Dr. Sridevi focused on topics such as knowledge versus skill development, wisdom versus employability and theory versus practice. Dr. Sridevi concluded that the teacher has to be a subject expert and a designer of interesting activities, combining knowledge and skills in the class room. She insisted that students should be taught ethics and to give back to society. The students have to bloom into women who have to emerge as leaders and decision makers. Students have to respect the teachers because the college’s success is their success.
A total of 77 participants logged in to the workshop and participated in the sessions. The participants have submitted their feedback via Google forms that were sent to them. Their collective opinion is that it incited out-of-the-box thinking, to make the classes more interesting.