Changes needed in Kerala’s higher education sector

Need of the hour is to integrate online sessions with active student-teacher interactions and other learning methods

The integration of online sessions with active student-teacher interactions and other active learning methods is the need of the hour in Kerala’s higher education sector, according to educationist R.V.G. Menon.

“Teaching in engineering and arts and science colleges is yet to adopt even the changes that emerged in the school pedagogy. We continue to have faculty members who dictate notes to the students. Interestingly, students also expect it to be done,” he said. The new academic year in higher educational institutions in the State will start in the online mode from Tuesday onwards.

Pointing out that there is improved scope for bringing in changes in the teaching-learning mode, Prof. Menon suggested doing away with the traditional method of lecturing for five to six hours daily. “The stereotypical notion is that students should be engaged throughout the lecture. In foreign universities and Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT), the focus is on having active interactive sessions,” he said.

However, Prof. Menon reminded that such interactive sessions required extensive reading and preparations on the part of both the teachers and students. “For 12 to 15 hours a week of these interactive classes, students will have to spend nearly 40 hours of preparation while going through the various study materials provided by the teachers in advance. Teachers too will have to step up their reading and preparations in this mode,” he said.

Prof. Menon, who had headed a committee appointed by the previous government on revamping the engineering courses, said that such changes could be implemented in the State’s engineering education in view of the lesser number of students. “Instead of having sessions involving an average 60 students in a batch, tutorials can be arranged for a batch of 15 students. The teachers can hold quizzes and grade the students based on their performance. Each semester can have at least five to six quizzes,” he said.

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