According to the 'Declaration of Principles' of American Association of University Professors (AAUP), the objective of colleges and universities is to stimulate inquiry and propel collective knowledge, instruct students and create experts for diversified service. As a response, faculty members are engaged in teaching, research, and acts of service to uphold the academic performance of their respective institutions.
But for the last few years it seems Bangladesh has been steering away from recruiting eligible faculties. Most public and private universities are rarely seen to properly account scholarly publications. Journal articles, conference proceedings and innovation of the aspirants are often overlooked.
In fact, the university level grading system, especially in the arts and social science departments, seems futile as these exams focus more on memorising pages rather than being research-oriented.
A public versus private university prejudice and a baseless affinity towards few institutions despite the quality of the candidate comes into play as well. Thus, it is not uncommon for students discarded from their own universities being adorned at international ones with greater impact and rankings.
It seems our colleges and universities do little to facilitate research, discoveries, innovation and designing arenas of debate, knowledge generation, collaboration and service. Individuals are not equipped with operational knowledge, credentials or even proper grooming. Rather, Bangladesh is seen to celebrate bottom-tier ranking of a handful of universities. Creativity and originality is rarely nurtured.
While a faculty is expected to revoke unethical practices like plagiarism, falsifying records and incompetence and sculpt ethical individuals, academic offences have become the norm here.
Firstly, although excellent academic performance is crucial, it is to be understood that good grades do not automatically translate into an impeccable faculty as the grading system is pretty questionable. Being a faculty is not about mindless reproduction in the exam sheets or unrivaled memorising skill. One has to be approachable, empathetic, eloquent, gracious, tolerant and respectful.
For an ideal teacher is aptly pronounced as friend, philosopher and guide. A charming persona adorned with effective teaching techniques, ingenuity in managing classes and a stronghold in both curriculum and subject is what makes one. Personal biases, racism, sexism and other toxicities are not to penetrate the classrooms.
For this reason, discipline and equity cannot be denied. As per education expert, Beat A. Schwendimann, a prodigious faculty has to play the following roles:
Educator: As an educator, a faculty must have knowledge of general pedagogy, pedagogical content, curriculum, technology, educational goals and learners. They are to have skills of organisation and classroom management.
Practitioner: A faculty is to have content knowledge and exhibit expertise in their field which enables them to make substantial contributions.
Researcher: Being a researcher, a faculty is to conduct researches while taking part in projects and serving as a dynamic member of the research community.
Like any other profession, passion for work promotes success for a faculty. Patience, maturity, compassion, intellectual curiosity, awareness and community involvement are vital. For this, one has to confidently sketch out his/her missions and visions.
Faculties must have the well-being of students as their first priority. They must have the capacity to explain and instruct clearly in accordance to the capacity of the students. An ideal faculty creates an intriguing atmosphere of creativity and cooperation that promotes the independence of students.
Faculties are to adapt themselves with the evolving climate of teaching. This requires up to date knowledge.
Again the advent of Covid-19 has dramatically changed the techniques of conducting classes and the faculty members are to comply with the diversified background of students in this challenging environment. And the training and resourcing facilities for the faculties cannot be stressed enough.
The scope of work of faculty members is not a one-way street. Supportive students and beneficiaries are needed. And so does the solidarity of administration and management for the betterment of the faculties, which is vital within their concerned educational institutions and dedicated external bodies.
Creation of quintessential faculties require optimal settings but little has been done to ensure that. However, we have to remember that Bangladesh has had some extraordinary educators, teachers and we are extremely proud of them. To continue their legacy, our education sector must recognise this as the most crucial profession as teachers are the makers of the future of this country.
The author is an Assistant Professor of Department of Sociology at Bangladesh University of Professionals (BUP). He can be reached at [email protected]
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions and views of The Business Standard.