ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Learning Deficit toTeaching Deficit

What Teachers Know about Teaching in Higher Education

An inquiry into the assumptions regarding the teaching profession in higher education is made in the light of earlier discussions by V Kalyan Shankar and Rohini Sahni (1 August 2015) and Hari Nair (30 April 2016).

Teaching involves possession of content knowledge and content delivery skills or teaching competencies on part of the teacher. In higher education, it is assumed in our country that the person entering into the teaching profession with the required eligibility criteria possesses the content knowledge, and will automatically deliver in the classroom. The article, “What Does an MA Know? Postgraduate Learning Deficits and the Diploma Disease in Social Sciences” by V Kalyan Shankar and Rohini Sahni (2015), raises questions as to whether a longer continuum of ignorance/mediocrity stretches beyond schools into higher education, and if it is possible to not know much and still be able to score high? It also presents the results of a survey of postgraduate learning showing that often a Master of Arts (MA) degree can be acquired at very “low threshold of quality” through dilution of the teaching–learning and evaluation process.

Extending this scenario further and based on my two decades of experience as a faculty dealing with in-service teacher training in higher education, I have observed that it is not only possible to “not know much and still be able to score high,” but also possible to get recruited as an assistant professor in higher education wherein the eligibility condition is an MA degree, in addition to qualifying the University Grants Commission (UGC)–National Eligibility Test (NET) examination.

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