Sunday, 14 July, 2024, Reg No- 06
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New university teachers should be given foundation training

Published : Thursday, 20 June, 2024 at 12:00 AM  Count : 355

New university teachers should be given foundation training

New university teachers should be given foundation training

Bangladesh must provide top-notch higher education to develop a skilled, knowledgeable community to drive economic expansion and foster innovation. A solid foundation of critical thinking, proficient analytical abilities, and a strong focus on social responsibility in higher education empowers graduates with the necessary skills to tackle complex societal challenges and promote sustainable development.

From this standpoint, public universities in Bangladesh face significant challenges when recruiting fresh graduates who lack formal training and experience as university teachers. The majority of public universities in our country recruit fresh graduates as teachers (lecturers) based on their academic performance and the recruitment process, except in a few exceptional cases.Undoubtedly, these initiatives are commendable, as these institutions provide opportunities for meritorious graduates from a variety of public universities across the country to serve as catalysts in higher education.

The primary concern in this regard is the inadequate pedagogical competencies demonstrated by newly recruited teachers, which hinders their ability to deliver high-quality education.Despite frequently achieving high academic standing, they are not competent in curriculum development, student engagement approaches, or teaching methodologies.Correspondingly, the absence of professional development programs further exacerbates this issue by failing to provide sufficient assistance to newly recruited teachers for seamless integration into their professional roles.

They continue to encounter difficulties in transitioning from the classroom to the academic environment. Additionally, this precarious circumstance is further exacerbated by administrative inefficiencies and a scarcity of mentorship opportunities within universities. As a result, this could potentially undermine the overall quality of higher education by impeding the universities ability to produce graduates who are both proficient and diverse.

In this vein, the foundation training program for university teachers offers an in-depth exploration of the academic environments diverse obligations and expectations. This training program is designed to equip newly recruited teachers with the pedagogical skills, lesson plan methods, and institutional knowledge that are essential for delivering high-quality teaching in higher education institutions (Ali and Mawa 2019).

Foundation training typically comprises a series of interactive sessions, seminars, and workshops that address a diverse array of topics, such as curriculum design, assessment methodologies, classroom management strategies, and student engagement strategies. By engaging with a combination of practical applications and theoretical frameworks, newly recruited teachers can develop a more profound comprehension of the diverse needs of students, their perspectives on inclusive education, and the potential of educational technology to enhance the learning process.

Moreover, foundation training frequently incorporates instruction on the effective negotiation of university regulations, ethical issues, and professional conduct requirements, thereby ensuring that teachers have an extensive understanding of the educational atmosphere in which they perform. In addition, this training can enhance networking opportunities, mentoring activities, and collaborative endeavors aimed at cultivating a positive environment for professional practice among faculty members.

However, Bangladesh has a renowned institution named the Graduate Training Institution (GTI), which offers comprehensive training to university teachers from every corner of the nation based on the nominations of the respective universities. Despite its establishment in 1976, the Graduate Training Institution (GTI) introduced Foundation Training for Public University Teachers in 2007 with the financial support of the University Grants Commission (Ali and Mawa 2019).

Prior to that, Bangladesh Agriculture University (BAU), Mymensingh, established the Graduate Training Institution (GTI) as its first institute to train officers working in agriculture and rural development, with financial assistance from FAO/UNDP. The primary objective of establishing GTI on the BAU campus was to foster connections between teaching, research, and extension activities.

GTI offers BAU instructors the opportunity to interact with academics from various public universities and field-level officers across the nation. At Bangladesh Agriculture University (BAU), approximately 600 instructors serve as GTI trainers. In 1981, GTI received the President Gold Medal Award(GTI, 2022).

Currently, the institution (GTI) has a dormitory with a capacity of 74 beds, which allows for the concurrent operation of two residential training courses. The program provides non-residential training to those pursuing postgraduate studies, as well as to officials, workers, and instructors. GTI has two sophisticated PC labs specifically designed for conducting IT-focused training programs. The infrastructure has a capacity exceeding 3,000; however, only around 350 people are currently using the facility during its first phase. The institution conducts around 50-60 short training courses annually (GTI, 2022).

The role of GTI is very crucial, especially for newly recruited university teachers who have no previous foundational training to convey lectures at the undergraduate and graduate levels. In particular, the foundation training offered by GTI for university teachers covers a wide range of programs, sessions, and workshops such as the history of higher education, teachingsensibility, research method, statistical approaches for research, systematic report writing, office management, teaching quality and ethics, learning assessment, information technology skills, and co-curricular activities, etc.

From this standpoint, it is important to note that these programs are highly essential to enhancing the ability, expertise, and self-confidence of newly recruited faculty members at different public universities in Bangladesh. Although the contribution of GTI to providing foundation training for public university teachers is praiseworthy, it does have significant drawbacks in terms of fundraising, and it is unable to train more than 25-30 teachers at any given time.

As per the data provided by the UGC, a total of 15,005 teachers worked in 47 public universities in Bangladesh in 2021, an increase of 1.53% (15,236) according to the data provided by the Bangladesh Education Statistics (BES) in 2022. These statistics indicate that the total number of public universities and universities teachers is gradually increasing. In this context, it is a matter of great regret that there is hardly any other organization or institute like GTI in Bangladesh that provides foundation training for university teachers with government or UGC funding.

In this context, there is no other option to improve university teachers abilities to enhance the standard of education at the university level in Bangladesh. Therefore, the University Grants Commission (UGC), the Ministry of Education, and the government of Bangladesh have to concentrate on this issue and implement certain concrete measures to ensure that every university teacher gets foundation training opportunities.

The writer is a researcher and Assistant Professor, Department of Public Administration and Governance Studies, Jatiya Kabi Kazi Nazrul Islam University, Trishal, Mymensingh

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