FPJ Exclusive: Govt plans academy for teachers to brush up skills

Mumbai: The Maha Vikas Aghadi government will open an academy to provide training to college and university professors to upgrade their knowledge and improve skills. The academy will come up in Pune.

Minister of Higher and Technical Education Uday Samant told FPJ,'' The education sector is witnessing drastic changes. The teaching staff in colleges and universities need to upgrade their knowledge and skills to adjust to these changes.

Therefore, the department plans to establish an academy with the involvement of experts.'' He said, such an academy is need of the hour, as the teaching staff could bring in value addition in subjects related to tourism, artificial intelligence, knowledge economy, and marketing.

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Samant informed that the schedule and the nature of the proposed academy will be decided in due course of time.

The University of Mumbai's former vice-chancellor Dr Bhalchandra Mungekar said, refreshing and upgrading the teaching skills of the college and university staff is a welcome idea.

There are already schemes that are implemented under the University Grants Commission. He suggested that the state government can make efforts to fit those schemes with the proposed training in the new academy so that UGC funds can be available.

''The higher education sector is experiencing drastic and constant changes and, because of the rigidity of existing system, teachers do not appear to be exposed to the changes.

This affects the quality of teaching. The establishment of the academy will help to upgrade the teaching community with regard to two aspects, including the subject matter and teaching method,'' viewed Dr Mungekar.

On the other hand, Assistant Professor Aparna Phadke in the University of Mumbai said that the motive of the academy should be first understood.

For college and university teachers, B Ed is not compulsory and that is the reason they are probably considered as untrained. The thought of having such an academy must have emerged from such understanding.

''At present, even if there is no formal training available for every college and university teacher, an Orientation Course of the three-week duration and one refresher course by UGC are conducted.

In the University of Mumbai, these courses are conducted very seriously with excellent resource persons. There are different short-term courses also. It needs to be seen what will be the content of the training course of the academy,'' she said.

Up-gradation of JJ School of Arts

Minister of Higher and Technical Education Uday Samant said that his department will undertake the up-gradation of JJ School of Art, Architecture and Applied Arts at the cost of Rs 150 crore.

This will be done in consultation with the Central government. He informed that his department will in due course of the time fix the up-gradation plan with the time schedule.

Establishment of Konkan University

Samant said he will soon launch the dialogue with representatives from 83 colleges and 44,000 students for the establishment of the Konan University for Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg districts.

At present, the colleges are affiliated to the University of Mumbai and the students studying in Sawantwadi in Konkan. Mumbai University is almost 650 kilometers away and it is difficult for them to travel that far for any work. He informed that a committee has been formed to look into its viability.