Sunday, September 11, 2011

The Dear Team

During his Exit Meeting speech Father Francis G. Parmar said that whenever a NAAC Peer Team visits there are to be three stages. Usually before coming the team remains the “Fear Team”, then it becomes the Peer Team. And if everything goes as they should the team leaves as a “Dear Team”. Father Parmar was spot on as far as this Visit was concerned. Without looking back (with anger and disappointment) at the other Team Visit that we had had, let’s just assert how a good visit can uplift the morale, can incorporate new ideas and ideals, can simply show the way, without bitterness, to betterness.

From the Airport to the final fond farewell, this was a tense, intense, yet pleasant experience. As coordinator meeting all the members was a duty. But it also gave me an idea how truly ‘gentle’ these gentlemen are. The Airport did not disappoint, it showed a completely wrong flight number, wrong schedule, and with no information counter available at the arrival lounge it almost gave me a heart attack. Banking entirely on Dr. P. Venkatramaiah’s mail we found him – patient, smiling, the perfect teacher. The cups of tea that we had in the Airport CafĂ© Coffee Day confirmed my first impression – here was a person who was not only gentle in his behaviour, but also cared deeply about education and institutions around the country. In all the three days we saw him, we never saw the ex-Vice Chancellor, only a great teacher (unlike the last time I must add).

Dr. H. Surya Prakash Rao, the other member of the team, confessed that he was a lover of Chemistry. His suggestions did rattle a few nerves. But his genuine concern quickly turned everything towards him. His smile, his patience, his sense of humour won many hearts. Father Parmar, who has been with NAAC from 1994, who is a trainer of Peer Teams, a reviewer of the same, a man in his mid-sixties, called all teachers Sir and Madam. His polite yet thorough reading of our report, the queries of all three, proved just how much care they have taken in preparing themselves. And this was not a fault-finding mission. Faults are many, but they also appreciated the quality that we maintain even at the face of such infrastructural limitations.

At the end of the visit I don’t know what grade we will get. Very frankly, I no longer care. The purpose of the visit, though many may scoff, is already achieved. A lucid and plausible number of suggestions are there. Mistakes are clearly marked. Commendations plainly spelt. I can honestly say that this team cared for this institution and the students. They never tried to have a patronizing attitude, never the high handedness that is often the case. They were our Peers, and now as each and every staff member feels, they are our friends.

Even though this was our second Visit, this is the first time we are appreciating what NAAC is truly trying to do. And my congratulations and good wishes to NAAC for actually caring.

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