API Grading System: Boon For The Teachers But Bane For The Students

The said Evaluation system indirectly promotes teachers to get involved in their individual growth leaving aside their primary duties of teaching.

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Academic Performance Index commonly known as API in the academic circuit is not something very strange for all those who yen to get into the field of teaching. According to UGC, “API is the measure that gives away the growth of a student, teacher or an institution”. This was introduced by the UGC in 2010.

From the earliest starting point, there have been stark disparities in API based execution evaluation framework contrived by the UGC in the year 2010. While it conceived to accord API scores for distributing papers in journals, displaying papers in conferences, publishing books or chapters and finishing research ventures. These indispensable scholarly exercises had been explicitly overlooked while settling API scores. It is a gross foul play with instructors who spend extensive measure of their valuable time in these noteworthy scholarly exercises. A committee constituted by the UGC also concluded: “It is exceptionally awful that a portion of the ambiguities and errors in API score assignment still hold on after the suggestions of this board it has been notified in the official Gazette of India”. The disparities in the output and the quality of research works within the country is so wide that mostly doctorates do not produce anything concrete.

The evaluation of teachers' execution utilizing such stringent criteria has really driven educators into a 'rodent race' for social event focuses for enrolment and advancement and has constrained them to mechanically transform into score building machines as opposed to focusing on their essential obligations towards educating the students.

Crying foul over teaching workload Vs fat salaries 

According to 3rd amendment of 2016 notification issued by UGC has indicated a workload of 18 hours for Assistant Professors, 16 hours for Associate Professors and 14 hours for Professors notwithstanding 6 hours for each week for instructional exercises, medicinal classes, workshops, exam duties, development and updation obviously substance for all the three classifications of these college teachers.

However, teaching staff members have been protesting against the workload, they become too thankless that their salaries are even far better than some of the senior bureaucrats. This along with no accountability is also one of the greatest reasons why it seems to be a lucrative profession to enter.

(Source: MHRD’s DO dated 2nd November 2017)

Lobby which demands the scrapping of API

Academics is a great industry and it should be considered more responsible in numerous ways. To do this, UGC’s API which focuses or gives weight to scholarly work done by educators in colleges and research establishments.

As per the All India Federation of University & College Teachers Organisation, it demands the scrapping of API System and asserts that the quantifiable evaluation of their execution is unreasonable, impracticable and counterproductive.

The teachers have asserted that as far back as this was presented Indian higher education, a genuine distortive endless loop has set in. Most deplorable that the teaching is the setback of this framework and the students are the sufferers. The API has made higher education teachers promotion centric instead of students driven. We request the API framework ought to be rejected with retrospective effect.

Nexus of fake journals and publications are on a rise 

PhDs are bought and sold, journals with ISS numbers are printed like anything, articles are stolen, (every so often even re-worded from a special to such a degree, to the point that standard copyright encroachment checking programming can't recognize them), gatherings and courses are dealt with without legitimate reason. This is a standard and customary endeavor. It is more expansive than you will ever estimate and has transformed into another common in most if only one out of every odd, Indian college. Whereas UGC is acting strictly these days where they have published a list of peer-reviewed national and international journals, they seem to be in a tone to leave no stone unturned in their battle to counter fake, often plagiarised material.

Many journals charge a fee to publish a piece without having any peer- reviews or scanning the submissions through any scientific method. In nutshell, a would-be professor pays for his promotion to these alleged journals and they in return contribute to the enhancement of his API scores which finally help them shooting their academic credentials.

Deterioration in Research Quality 

Senior Scientist based at foreign research institute Dehradun writes on an online portal that “API is a set of skill standards for competency-based assessment that in turn is the collection of evidence of performance which can be matched to specified explicit standards that possibly reflect expectations of performance in the academia. Transparency, fairness and honesty are utmost important for competency assessment in order to evaluate the competency of a teaching faculty and his/her ability to demonstrate it”.

While most faculty members to remain cautious while attributing a proper source, it is also not wrong to say that they become too greedy to get involved with any seminars, conferences and paper presentation that they tend to forget that while producing infinite research reports that they feign, they are leaving behind the substantive findings of that very research. It is not sheer injustice on the part of that research (which is any way written frivolously) and also they have carried that research at the cost of students’ productive time.


Focus shift from teaching students to enhancing their own APIs

While earlier the teachers in the university/ college system were supposed to be concerned about teaching students about their curriculum. Now focus of the teachers are drifting towards organizing seminars, conferences, training workshops, symposiums, faculty development programmes, writing books and papers etc. While the work being done by the newly inducted faculty members are clearly laudable and appreciative, they are also inadvertently diluting their major responsibility, which is, of course, teaching.

While conducting an erudite conference or prolific conference on any technical subjects which only teachers can relate to, students are being used merely as logistical support staff members who look after towards catering food and arrangement of the travel of the delegates attending to that conference or any such event. In some cases, students have also used field researchers where their internal assessment is subject to their findings. Literally, those research results are later converted by these tactful professors as case studies and sample surveys in their book while those students never get aware of their teachers’ unbecoming endeavors.

Road Ahead 

Almost every universal rankings put strong emphasis on research & reputation – with one greatly influencing the other. As one knows that Better research attracts a greater reputation and conversely better reputation attracts greater funding and increased collaborations. While the US takes the lead in carrying out a number of researchers both in quantitative as well as qualitative manner, India undertakes much of its basic research in specialized research institutions like IITs and IIMs. While Indians focus on quantity of researches done, quality unintentionally gets compromised. If research has to be done, then teachers have to strike a balance between the quality time that they should dedicate to the pupil’s nurturing and to their own individual academic development. In addition to that, students should be engaged in research-based assignments so that they should not only become greatly interested in research as a field of career but also they should contribute to the society on a whole. Due to lack of motivation based education pedagogies and policy framework prevalent in India, many students aspire to go abroad to fulfill their innovative aspirations. We must have to make our educational institutions more accessible & inclusive for students to participate in intellectual discourses so that they would deliver better in academics as well as other walks of life.

This article was published in BW Education issue dated 'Feb. 1, 2018' with cover story titled 'BW Education Issue Feb- Mar 2018 '

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