Dr. Leena Raje, Principal – Smt. Maniben M. P. Shah Women’s College of Arts & Commerce, Matunga, shares her view on student participation and motivation in college
How do you encourage students towards academics when the syllabus sometimes is archaic and outdated?
n All the universities have a provision of periodically updating their syllabus through academic bodies such as board of studies and faculties. All colleges have the freedom to enhance their curriculum through add on courses which are enriching and adding value to the core component of education. To encourage students towards academics, efforts are taken to give them exposure through latest technology and innovative teaching learning and evaluation methods. Motivated teachers who keep themselves abreast in their respective fields excite students towards academics.
Should students in a college or institute be empowered to a certain extent that they can participate in policy decisions regarding their education?
n I truly believe that students being important stakeholders of the education system, their contribution to decision making is very vital. Even NAAC, the National Assessment and Accreditation Council of India, values student’s involvement at every level, their adage being “nothing for us, without us”. Today’s students are well aware of the global as well as local scenario and about their goals and how to pursue them.
How can educators motivate students to work towards the goal of ‘knowledge’ (and not just marks) in their particular subject, on a daily basis?
n Many good institutions take efforts to enhance today’s education system which is mainly examination oriented. They conduct activities to inculcate scientific temper (research projects), social outreach programmes to sensitize them to the social realities, through personality development activities to optimize their potential.
Do educators and students work towards getting out of the university mode and into the ‘real world’ mode, especially during the final year/ semester of postgraduate course? If there are some measures taken in classes for this, can you give us a few examples?
n To bring the students into the real world mode, in the last semester many universities offer industrial training/ internship programmes in which students acquire hands-on experience. Our college offers teacher-assistantship and mentoring programme.
I understand that students need to consider marks, especially until class 12, since the admissions to undergraduate courses depend on marks. But do they really get out of the marks mode once they are admitted?
n In my experience, students never get out of the marks mode since our overall education system is examination-oriented. Only if an institution takes special efforts through programmes such as campus to corporate, social involvement projects and entrepreneurship development programmes there is a possibility of changing students’ mindset.
How do educators/ colleges counsel students about starting small. Let me give you an example. Whenever students are looking at placements from college, in any field, they are always looking at the large companies which have some glamour attached with their names. Most students don’t look at smaller, lesser known companies. Is there a way to counsel them that they should start small and when they climb the corporate ladder, they can move on to the
larger companies with experience?
n The placement cell plays a very crucial role in achieving this orientation by inviting medium and small scale business houses on campus to share their success stories and thus inspiring students begin small and grow big. There are a few students who perhaps don’t have the means or resources themselves or within their colleges to gather the knowledge and experience that others have through different means.
What can these proactive students do to improve themselves?
n The proactive students can improve themselves by tapping on the various financial schemes and exploring various avenues of getting financial support. They can register themselves on suitable online and offline courses of shorter or longer duration and improve their capabilities. By attending seminars/
webinars the students can enrich themselves and widen their horizon by inculcating extra reading habits. The UGC has introduced choice-based credit system along with a cafeteria approach. The students can take advantage of all these schemes.