Careers360 interviews Prof. A K Ghosh, Vice Chancellor of Tripura University who speaks about the challenges that the young Central University faces. He also throws light on the importance of examination reforms in a country like India. Read below the full interview with Prof. A K Ghosh.
Careers360: Could you tell us something about the growth of Tripura University?
Prof. Ghosh: Tripura University was established as a state university in 1987. It was converted into a Central University by an Act of Parliament in the year 2007. Earlier, 99% of students were from the State only, but this figure has improved and now we have over 5% from outside the state. A dozen students from Bangladesh are also studying here.
Careers360: Has the Central University status benefited the University?
Prof. Ghosh: The major change that has happened is that now we have money to spend as when we were a State university, the budget was limited. Now we have several departments and also a sizeable number of postgraduate students. At present we have 600 PhD students and 70 sponsored research projects running at the University.
Careers360: Does the location of your University affect you?
Prof. Ghosh: Tripura is located in a remote area and surrounded by Bangladesh on three sides. It got rail connectivity recently. For a long time, it was isolated and in mainland India there is a lot of ignorance about Tripura, while in the State there is lack of knowledge about other parts of India. We have more of mental isolation, not that much physical. The location is one of the major challenges for the university in attracting faculty and students from other parts of the country because when you talk to an average person in other parts of the country, the first question arising is, ‘Where is Tripura?’ In fact, before going there I was also not much aware about Tripura and Agartala.
Careers360: You have been part of the IIT System, have spent time abroad too. How different is this university?
Prof. Ghosh: Tripura University grew out of the Calcutta University and it has to some extent retained the ancientness of Calcutta University’s system. I came from a different system and what I saw was that the things here were so ancient - the way examination questions were set, conduct of exams and also day-to-day business. For the past four years, I have been trying to instil the systems that I saw at other places and one such example is introduction of Choice Based Credit System.
Careers360: How important are examination reforms in a country like India?
Prof. Ghosh: Examination reforms are a must and my personal view is that it is the one that is holding our higher education down. Our examination, whether it is happening in Tripura or Delhi, is very ancient. We have an annual examination system or end-of-semester system though we have introduced the Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation but it is still the annual exam that holds importance. We need to work more on the continuous assessment part, and students should be evaluated continuously. The second thing is that students should be tested in different ways, not just through a written exam, but there are subjects where written exam is not a very important thing, specially in case of engineering because the skills that students learn cannot be tested in a two or three-hour exam.
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