The curricula vitae of ‘ Gujarat’s ‘intelligent’ university teachers will now boast of an additional qualification – marketing and event management. The latest brief for professors of state’s engineering colleges is to escort international delegates visiting the city for Vibrant Gujarat Global Investors’ Summit; take students to the exhibitions and attend sector-specific seminars at the summit to ask informed questions — all of which will, hopefully, create a good impression on visitors.
A directive issued by the director of technical education has asked the principals of engineering colleges, mainly those in Ahmedabad, to select a few teachers/professors for this duty. They will be on VGGIS duty for about five days in the second week of January when visitors will start arriving for the event. There is no exact figure about the number of teachers assigned this duty but most engineering colleges have been asked to send their recommendations.
The selected teachers will be assigned the task of escorting delegations to their hotel rooms, and organising visits by students to different exhibitions at the Vibrant Gujarat Summit. Their brief does not end here: teachers will also be expected to be attentive audience at different subject-specific presentations; and ensure that speakers are asked impressive questions!
After bureaucrats, it is now the turn of teachers and professors to get a taste of event management for state government utsavs. The fact that this comes immediately after the assembly elections in which some teachers were given rigorous poll duty raises concerns that academic sessions will suffer. For obvious reasons, those assigned duty at Vibrant Gujarat Summit are not exactly thrilled about it.
“They say college teachers are given duty because they are good in English. Assigning teachers duty in anything other than academics disturbs the academic schedule. Ultimately, teachers will spend less time in class. Even when the event is a month away, our time is consumed in planning for it. Short-listing teachers and grooming them and students is not easy,” said a teacher at LD Engineering College.
Director, Technical Education, T Natarajan is confident that the services of college teachers will benefit all parties. “As examinations are close, colleges have study leave. Hence classes will not be affected at all,” he said.
“Besides, education experts from India and abroad are going to give presentations at the trade summit and attending them will give teachers better exposure,” he said.
On concerns that academic work may be affected adversely, he assured that teachers will be carefully selected for the job and those required for routine administrative and examination work will not be diverted for Vibrant Gujarat.