For facilitating higher education, introduction of an academic guidance advisory committee for the students is an urgent requirement in the individual departments of universities. The students should be asked to approach the assigned committee in case of any need for academic purposes.
The concerned committee should try to solve the problems, and in case of a difficult situation, seek opinion of the authority concerned.
In case of difficulties with study, the committee concerned may advise the students for improvement of their performance. Without the periodic report of the said committee, the students should not be allowed to sit for the examinations. There should be specific provision for ensuring that students’ progress is being monitored through aptitude tests, class notes observation, tutorial class, group presentation, book review session with presentation system, etc.
There should also be a mechanism in place to invent new methods for brining students’ progress to an optimum level. Students need to be motivated for taking thesis and the departments should find out means and ways so that this option can be made more attractive for them. There should also be a thesis proposal evaluation committee and regular workshops need to be arranged for the thesis students.
Collecting software to detect plagiarism is going to help the cause of good theses at the higher levels. Moreover, exploration should be consistent in increasing research facilitates for the students through collaboration with national and international universities and international research organisations. The departments might have Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with above mentioned bodies for exchange programmes for the students.
Inviting practitioners for delivering lectures in various classes can be a very good option for the universities with the result that interactions between the students and the practitioners will result in better grounding of the students. However, there should be a guideline for this and the experienced people should prepare a panel of practitioners for delivering lectures.
The departments should also increase activities such as motivational speech by renowned scholars and successful careerists, seminars by renowned scholars and the faculty members, visits by the students in research field/research organisations, voluntary participation of students in various activities, etc.
Meanwhile, necessary requirements for equipping the class rooms with state-of-the-art technological supports and uninterrupted power supply systems for all class rooms should be addressed without delay. Installation of sufficient number of computers for a fully-equipped computer laboratory is a bare necessity in many departments of various universities. The students may be involved in the maintenance activity.
Concomitants are digitisation of the seminar library as well as a well-equipped conference room. Like the foreign universities, the public universalities should devise mechanisms for financial assistance for the poor meritorious students at the entry level by introducing fellowship, scholarship, teaching assistantship, research assistantship, etc.
At the same time, practical means and ways for rationalising the existing quota policy for making the admission policy more equitable is also a need of the hour. However, the implementation will depend on the university and state policies.
As the current class size is too big in many public universities, pragmatic suggestions in the form of double shift or sections are crucial and will require approval from the higher authorities. As either double shift or division into sections is a bare necessity for making classes meaningful, the departments should come up with pragmatic suggestions as to how either option can be implemented at the earliest.
Over and above, the traditional class hour of forty five minutes has also proved to be insufficient. So, there should be real rethinking for rearrangement of class hours for making teaching and learning more effective. It may require increasing the class hours to ninety minutes or more.
Since increasing the class hour is an urgent need for making classes more fruitful, there must be realistic suggestions as to how this option can be put in place within a short span of time.
The use of multimedia and classroom online facilities has become popular technologies. Teachers should be encouraged to use new technologies for making the students more interested and focused. A new culture should be in place where all the teachers become enthusiastic and feel motivated to use new technologies. Other than lecture methods, a good number of different methods are being used globally. There should be regular workshops for popularising such methods among the teachers.
In fact, such an environment needs to be created in the universities where all the teachers feel self-motivated to be conversant with the modern methods of teaching and feel motivated to use the same in the class rooms so that the students become naturally interactive and class-oriented.
Meanwhile, teachers of the universities, around the globe, demonstrate their office hours so that students can solve their academic problems. This very culture is helpful for the students for addressing their academic needs. All the teachers should become self-motivated to maintain their office hours.
Creation of student profile is a must for reaching the global standard. It is a part of student career planning. So, a course of action to create student profile is a necessity of the time. However, it will require institutionalisation for which there has to be technical assistance in place.
At the university level, current assessment system is still a traditional one and incapable of assessing students properly. Class attendance, class participation, assignments, presentations are not given due importance everywhere under the current system. Incorporating the above mentioned and more innovative mechanisms for diversifying the assessment system will definitely pay off and bring about qualitative changes.
All the teachers need to be enthusiastic and feel self-motivated to use the above mentioned and more innovative mechanisms. Necessary steps need to be taken for preventing unethical practices of the students. The concerned authorities should arrange regular workshops for the students to uphold ethical values among them. In fact, if ethical standards can be maintained, the overall atmosphere at the educational arena is bound to receive a natural booster.
The writer is a Professor, Department of Public Administration, Chittagong University.