Prof. AK Yadav
The NorthCap University, Gurgaon
Institutions of higher learning the world over are mandated to contribute to the creation of new knowledge, apart from teaching and extension activities. The creation of new knowledge requires continual efforts to push the frontiers based on the existing knowledge. Those teachers who are engaged in research activities in a related field of inter disciplinary nature can easily provide a better perspective of theoretical concepts to the students. This significantly helps students to gain a clearer understanding of the topic being taught. Not only they get inspired to take up further work as a project but are likely to pursue higher studies for further investigations.
It is well-known that research output is one of the major factors considered by agencies which bring out ranking for top/best colleges and universities every year. Any credible ranking would show that higher ranked colleges/universities have a strong research program to supplement teaching. Therefore, teaching alone in the absence of research would severely limit the academic excellence particularly in the global context. Whenever one decides to identify a list of potential institutions for pursuing higher studies, the research credentials of the teachers and research output of the institution become a key deciding factor.
The state of research in Indian higher education institutions is abysmally poor when compared with institutions at the global level. There are numerous reasons for such a situation; starting from resource constraints, poor ecosystem, improper grooming of young researchers, lack of motivation due to near absence of incentives. In the State run universities one can find some notional research activities, where as in the private sector research hardly finds any place in their scheme of things. On the contrary, most of the engineering colleges in their promotional material rarely miss out on mentioning that they have a research focus or research-oriented faculty. One can easily see that the quality of research output coming from the private engineering colleges in India is highly substandard and it finds place in fake or low-quality journals which guarantee acceptance and online publication in less than a week. This is mainly due to absence of ecosystem for research activities, viz. inadequate research infrastructure, access to relevant research quality journals from reputed publishers, lack of encouragement by way of recognizing and incentivizing research contribution. When teachers resort to such means of producing research papers and articles, it definitely impacts their teaching adversely with unsatisfactory value system and ethics.
Though the right aptitude for research may not be possessed by every teacher, it certainly adds to the teaching quality and effectiveness. Any faculty associated with higher education must be engaged in some research work to remain agile and updated on latest developments in the field. It will also help in providing a refreshing perspective to the students while teaching. Hence, it is imperative that all universities and colleges must put in resources to provide a right environment for research activities to augment teaching. This will also stimulate interest in students to pursue higher studies with zeal to contribute to knowledge creation.