Teachers in Panjab University (PU) will soon get some lessons from students with a new teacher feedback system.
After much deliberation, the senate, the university's highest decision-making body, has approved the mechanism, which will judge teachers on various parameters, including communication ability, response to queries, informal behaviour and punctuality.
Drafted to act as a self-improvement tool for faculty of one of the oldest institutions of the country, the exercise will be made compulsory for all departments, while over 185 affiliated colleges can willingly opt for it.
"This feedback mechanism will help the quality of teaching and bring positive results. In PU, it will be compulsory, whereas it has been left to the colleges to decide if they want to go for this system or not," Vice Chancellor Arun Grover told IANS.
"I feel it (the system) should definitely be adopted by colleges which intend to grow and have the potential of competing at national and international levels," he said.
However, the feedback system is not an evaluation of teachers. It is being projected strictly as a student-teacher affair and has been okayed with riders not to the liking of student unions.
Only students fulfilling the condition of minimum 75 percent of attendance and with no re-appear cases in an opted subject are eligible to access the system.
Information on the system and its outcome will be made available on the university website and notice boards across the campus.
The system has however evoked mixed reactions among students.
"It is an appreciable effort. Students will feel a part of the set up as their feedback will reach teachers. Not only this, even teachers, equipped with valuable feedback, will get an opportunity of improve themselves," said law student Chirag Sood.
But Panjab University Campus Students Council (PUCSC), an elected student body, has given a thumbs down, saying the system is an "eyewash".
"The system is not foolproof. There is no involvement of a third party. It has been planned and will be executed by the university authorities only. There is no provision of any action against teachers with negative feedback. This will not lead anywhere and nothing substantial will come out," PUCSC president Satinder Singh told IANS.
Over 13,000 students, majority of them women, study at the university established in Lahore (now in Pakistan) in 1882.
The university campus moved to Chandigarh in 1956.
Among its distinguished alumni are Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Nobel laureate biochemist Har Gobind Khorana.