Teaching more important than Research – K. Ramnarayan, Vice-Chancellor, Manipal University

In the past decade, discussion of and research into the question of a link between research and teaching has proliferated. Although in the process much of significance has been learned, general insights have only rarely emerged. The relationship between teacher and learner is? completely different in higher learning from what it is in schools. At the higher level, the teacher is not there for the sake of the student, both have their justification in the service of research.

Dr. K Ramnarayan, the Vice Chancellor of Manipal University, a pathologist who was elevated to an academic-administrator in an interview to Nimesh Chandra of Careers 360 on India?s higher education system, suggested that our Universities are laying too much stress on research.

For a university, education comes first, research is secondary.”

There is a strongly held belief among the majority of academics that teaching in higher education should take place in a research atmosphere, although the opposite is rarely stressed.

To a direct question on whether education takes precedence over research, Dr. K. Ramnarayan said ” Especially in India, most universities need to meet the primary focus, to educate. One of the major conflicts is that we have teachers who focus a lot on research but ignore the basic responsibility of teaching. ”

He further went on to add ” If you see the top universities in the world, their entire focus is on research and not on student learning. It is seen that students are learning on their own. They also do so because research is measurable, but how will you assess education? The only thing is possibly student-faculty ratio where Manipal University stands out.”

Research using student scores on standardized tests confirms the common perception that some teachers are more effective than others and also reveals that being taught by an effective teacher has important consequences for student achievement. All good teaching is an act of translation ? from the level of the teacher to that of the learner.

Prof. Ramnarayan also said that there is too much emphasis given to research while ranking universities across the world and that these different rankings do not take in to consideration, how well quality education is being delivered to the students and if he/she is being allowed to grow.


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