Saturday, September 8, 2018

Geoscience Education Woes In India

Dilip Saha of the Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata,  has written an editorial in Current Science on the many problems with geology education in India.

He identifies a lack of attention to field work and the quality of teachers as the two major weaknesses that need correction.

I agree with many of the points he has made. I had a very poor quality field training experience during my Master's education at University of Pune (now Savitribai Phule Pune University). That was somewhat compensated for by some very good classroom teaching. Across State Universities and local colleges, the quality of teaching suffers not just because subject experts are not up to the task, but because many departments are understaffed and don't have subject experts.  Often, just two or three faculty end up teaching all the subjects.

I will also add that besides the obvious improvements in field courses, teacher quality and pedagogy, a module on research ethics is desperately needed. This is not a geology specific issue. Plagiarism is a big problem in Indian academia. I occasionally mentor students from local colleges. I have found out, to my dismay, that copying and pasting material from a research paper in to one's thesis seems to be commonplace. Students don't even realize that they are crossing serious ethical lines.

Open Access.

1 comment:

  1. Dr Sudha Vaddadi who teaches at a local college as a visiting faculty and is one of the founders of Centre for Education and Research in Geosciences (https://cerg.org.in/), a geology outreach initiative based out of Pune, has sent me the following comment via email -

    I totally agree with you Suvrat. I too have gone through Dilip Saha's paper.
    In addition to the points mentioned by him, what I feel is that, most of teachers in Colleges and university departments are there not by choice, but accident.

    One should enter teaching profession or research only if one has the passion for the subject and desire to share the knowledge. Unfortunately, many of them took up teaching because they did not get placement elsewhere after repeated trials. Naturally, the quality of teaching gets affected. Same is true for research.

    You are right, students tend to copy and paste matter as it is from research papers in their dissertation. Unfortunately, the mentors donor realize and correct them.
    Hon. Minister, P. Javdekar was talking about lack of good teachers in schools, because only those who don't get any other employment think of teaching as profession. They are not even paid well for the number of hours they put in.

    College and University teachers and research scholars are paid way too much for the efforts they put in.

    Sad state of affairs.

    Thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete