This article examines the ground realities concerning the quality of education prevalent in some management institutes. It suggests practical ways to address critical issues concerning academic quality, quality assurance, quality enhancements and qualitative initiatives leading towards value-based education.
The suggestions outlined here may help the management institutions, reeling under great stress, to receive accreditation in ‘Compliance Crisis' complying with NBA's rigorous norms of objective and outcome-based quality education.
In the first part of this article, I have mentioned ten critical performance areas, which need thorough streamlining and revamping. The remaining ten will be discussed in the second part of this article.
Once the students select their specialization stream, a group of students, say 10, must be adopted by each of the In-house Faculty and by the Regular Visiting Faculty for the overall development of the students, and prepare them to acquire necessary skill-sets for assured and better placement.
2. FACULTY-PERFORMANCE EVALUATION SYSTEM
Management must design and structure a scientifically based, Faculty performance evaluation system. The main aspects to be covered in the Feedback Format are:
The knowledge bases of the teacher as perceived by the students, communication skills to generate interest, competence to prepare course material with the real-world issues to provide a broader perspective. Skills to handle questions, design examinations/ assignments/projects to test understanding of the course are to be included too.
The commitment of the teacher, his accessibility, using the latest technology to solve queries and engage students in further discussions are also crucial.
Detailed descriptive feedback about the Faculty also needs to be obtained from each student.
3. STUDENTS-PERFORMANCE EVALUATION
Students have become overtly complacent, maybe because of our faulty system of over grading them, purely based on bookish knowledge. They prefer simple, straightforward and essay-type questions in the evaluation process.
Evaluation Tools must focus on examining the critical, analytical and application skills of the students. Lesson plans and sessions should be linked to the objectives and outcomes.
Top ranking institutions in the world follow the rigorous system of a two-tier evaluation system through second grading by an internal faculty member, followed by scrutiny by an external domain expert.
4. TWO-WAY FEEDBACK SYSTEM
To make the feedback a realistic one, at the end of each session, the Faculty must measure the learning levels by asking students probing questions viz;
What is the most useful learning point from the session, what students did not understand, what they found most difficult, what hinders their learning, and what efforts they must put in to make learning more enjoyable and effective.
A scientific, elaborate and extensive written feedback system is followed all over the world. The Faculty reads every page, be it an assignment or Semester end Project, or a Dissertation Report, and provides positive and negative feedback, with suggestions to improve, and follows it up with Action Taken Report (ATR) by the Student.
Dissertation reports of our students usually do not conform to the basic norms of global standards. Most of the reports contain one page, too basic, and generic recommendations at the end. Students follow cut, copy, paste culture without in-depth critical analysis.
We need to set up Plagiarism Tribunals, to summarily punish the Students even for as low as 10% of similarity in content, and for not following the Harvard Referencing Systems. Students must cite extensively from a minimum of 14 Books, seven journals, and seven internet sources in their reports.
5. GROOMING FOR PLACEMENTS
It is essential that Company-specific grooming sessions are conducted by an expert faculty team, conforming to the job description. That would enhance the performance of the Students in interview/GD/PI.
Students must be motivated and encouraged to take up some online certificate or Diploma Examinations, which are globally recognized, as add-on qualifications. Such programs focus more on application, critical and analytical skills.
6. STUDENTS-ENGAGEMENT IN THE CLASS
The traditional chalk-talk method and over-use of Powerpoint slides, bore the students, hence they become either mute spectators or passive listeners in the Class.
SOME EXAMPLES OF BEST PRACTICES TO ENSURING STUDENTS’ ENGAGEMENT
Using Multimedia videos on related topics, scenario analysis of contemporary ongoing corporate issues, asking the students to conduct virtual tests, say, the Financial Stress Tests, analysing the Risk profiles of financial institutions with live data, discussing the latest research reports on related topics published by internationally renowned leading agencies viz; E & Y, PWC, Deloitte, JP Morgan, and others, developing complex business and financial models.
To make the sessions more engaging and productive, it is sensible to hold all the theoretical and conceptual discourses and explanations in the morning sessions, from 9 to 1 p.m. The afternoon sessions can be devoted to Role Play, Group Discussions, Case Analysis, Problem-solving, Quizzes, Visit Financial Centers, Virtual investment Games, viewing videos of popular professors or business wizards, and others.
7. EFFECTIVE UTILISATION OF FACULTY RESOURCES
Instead of using Junior Faculty for routine administrative work, they could be engaged in productive activities to improve their career prospects, through Blended and Collaborative teaching and learning process. For instance, they can evaluate answer papers, based on the Model Answers prepared by the senior faculty members.
They need to participate in live sessions, to gain in-depth exposure to various tools of teaching pedagogy.
8. WEEKLY DISCUSSION FORUM
It should be made compulsory for students to participate in a weekly discussion forum where contemporary issues are debated and every group is expected to interact and post their views. Students enjoy posting creative and innovative rejoinders, think out of the box, and thus learning becomes fun and facilitate achieving the desired outcome.
Due weightage to discussions, must be added to the final grading of the students.
9. INTERACTION WITH ALUMNI
It makes sense to invite on a periodical basis, the seniors who have been successful and also failures, as Employees or Entrepreneurs, to share their trials, challenges faced and how they coped with them and the additional skill sets they had to acquire.
Such regular interactions with the Alumni provide better insights into the corporate ground; the bitter realities and expectations. It also makes sense to seek feedback from the corporate sector, related to students' performance, during the first year of their employment.
While there are many renowned Indian authors, it is vital to adopt globally established popular books written by real practitioners, that contain challenging questions and answers to very complex problems, with current live data, that help students fine-tune their analytical and application skills.
These books provide better insights to Millennium Students, who are keen to get placements in MNC, Fortune 500 Companies, International Brokerage Houses, Accounting Firms, Investment Banking and others.
(to be continued)