Goa varsity seeks help of ex-students

Goa varsity launches mammoth survey, wants alumni to rate performance … Mayabhushan Nagvenkar 

Goa Tourism Minister Dilip Parulekar and GTDC Managing Director Nikhil Desai at an event
Goa Tourism Minister Dilip Parulekar and GTDC Managing Director Nikhil Desai at an event

In a role reversal of sorts, Goa University wants its alumni to rate and evaluate its performance and the quality of education it has offered them.

Founded in 1985, the university, in partnership with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), has launched an ambitious online survey to collect qualitative feedback from ex-students, which Vice Chancellor Satish Shetye claims will help tweak the syllabi and help contemporise teaching modules.
“As a university we are concerned to find out if we are really delivering on our mandate. The best people to answer that question are not in the university, but those who are now outside of the university, our alumni,” Shetye said.
The alumni, around 250,000 students who have passed out, he said, were in the best position to say whether the university is doing all right or not.
“The best stakeholders to tell you whether the university is doing all right or not are our former students who, after getting educated here, have to face the real world. Are we really preparing them to face the real world? That’s the question,” Shetye said.

The survey has been put together by Anil Kher, a former CII chairman for Goa, who said if around 20,000 ex-students responded to the survey it would make for a good sample size for qualitative analysis of the university’s performance.

While colleges and universities abroad routinely conduct such surveys as a part of career counselling programmes and assessing career paths, the Goa University’s agenda, Kher said, was different.

“Ours will be the first survey which asks about the topics which have helped students or what would have helped them,” he said.
The survey asks ex-students to rate the subjects which have helped them in their lives and to point out the shortcomings in the courses offered, apart from other queries.
“The alumni are in various stages of their life. People who are just entering the market; people who have been in the market for some time and have had time to find out what has worked for them and what has not worked for them and so on,” Shetye said.
“This is a completely different kind of exercise from what has been attempted so far,” he further said, adding that as the survey matured over time, it would provide a clear picture of how well “certain programmes are doing and which programmes need to be modified”.
Shetye frankly said during his interaction with potential employers he had been told that while the varsity does the job of teaching core courses like accounting, history, physics and the like well, the products of the institution lacked in “soft skills” like communication and leadership.
“In our curriculum we don’t have these programmes. I believe at some point we will need to introduce them. If this survey leads to these sort of suggestions, I think the university will be in a much better position to say ‘this is what our graduates are telling us, let’s pay attention to that’,” Shetye said.
CII Goa chairman Kirit Maganlal believes that the exercise would go a long way in networking the university’s alumni globally and eventually bring them all on one platform.
“CII has had a tremendous amount of emphasis as far as education is concerned. All along, we have been thinking how we can bring up the quality of education, network the people who have passed out from our states and institutes altogether. Today networking is the most important area of growing and improving ourselves,” said Maganlal.