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TRICHY: The University Grants Commission’s (UGC) decision to reduce the number of days for orientation and refresher courses offered by the human resource development centre (HRDC) across the country has not been received well by many college teachers. The new draft guideline released by UGC on Tuesday suggested reducing the 28-day long refresher course to 18 days and 21-day refresher course to 14 days. The UGC has sought opinion from stake holders to approve the guidelines.

The human resource development centre has to plan, organize, implement, monitor and evaluate induction and orientation programmes for newly appointed college and university lecturers within the jurisdiction of one or more universities in a state. There are 66 human resource development centres in the country of which four are in Tamil Nadu, offering periodic courses for young teachers that are mandatory for career advancement. While these courses provide a platform for college teachers to refresh their knowledge and orient them on teaching pedagogy, reducing the number of days may affect quality of teaching in the long run, say teachers.

“Unlike school teachers, colleges teachers are taught teaching pedagogy as they directly enter the classrooms after their research for post-graduation. For them, such refresher course enhances their ability to handle students and upgrade their knowledge,” said M Selvam, advisor of teachers association of Bharathidasan university (BDU). He said the move will way dilute the very purpose of HRDC.

Former president of association of university teachers (AUT) K Pandiyan questioned UGC’s apathy in adequately funding such courses. “Not only did UGC reduce the funding by limiting it to only few courses every year, it also made it mandatory for career advancement for teachers,” he said. “Many of the universities including Bharathidasan University that runs a human resource development centre has been making such courses selffinancing for teachers,” he said. Clarifying on the same, S Senthilnathan, director of HRDC run by BDU said, “UGC gives funding for a discipline once a year. But the fact is that there is an overwhelming number of teachers wanting to attend such courses. Such courses are run on self-financing mode with a meagre fee. This is done considering the welfare of teachers.”

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