NIVEDITA MENON* SASWATI SENGUPTA^
Attending an Orientation Course
The General Orientation Course for University Teachers (Code 012) organised by the Centre for Professional Development in Higher Education (CPDHE) came to a close on May 2,1989. It had taken up four six-day weeks and was the second course of its kind. Most of the 33 participants had not opted to do the course, but had been co-opted by their colleges, having been given to understand that it was a prerequisite for confirmation/promotion. We presume that CPDHE/UGC have instructed colleges along these lines. However, no amount of direct questioning, even of UGC officials, the Vice-Chancellor or the DUTA President, all of whom addressed the Course, could elicit any clear picture regarding the statutory requirement of these courses. The responses were usually along the lines of—'Do we have to force you, aren't you benefiting from this?'. The participants, for their part, showed a distinct lack of enthusiasm, the general attitude being that if this was essential to get one's promotion, it was better to be done with it as fast as possible.
At this point we would like to clarify that we are not against training for lecturers. A well-designed course could, perhaps, serve to systematize principles of teaching intuitively arrived at, and help to make teacher-student interaction more effective. However, the General Orientation courses designed by the CPDHE seem to serve no purpose other than to establish on paper that Delhi University has moved with alacrity to implement the New Education Policy.
From our experience in Course ^ 012, we have the following observations to make:
1. It is typical of the system that we are expected to survive the years before we get permanent jobs with no training other than common sense, and are put through training of an insultingly basic level when we all have a minimum of two years of experience.1 At this stage in our careers we scarcely need the kind of training that tells us that cards are useful while delivering a lecture or that the goals
* Lady Sri Ram College, Delhi University, Delhi
** Miranda House, Delhi University, Delhi