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`U.S. education system allows for free exchange of ideas'

By Our Staff Reporter

BANGALORE, NOV. 8. American educational institutions allow faculty a lot of freedom in course design and grading, but they have measures in check to prevent misuse of this power, Nag Rao, dean-emeritus of behavioural sciences at the University of Alaska, said here today.

Illustrating the differences between the American educational system and the Indian system based on his experiences in both, he said the American system was liberal giving everyone a chance.

"It gives students the opportunity to speak out in class and question their teachers. It gives professors full freedom in choosing and designing the courses." American education system did not impose upon the teacher any syllabi or prescribe any books, he added at a lecture organised by the Bangalore Social Sciences Forum. At the Indian university where he was teaching for two years, Mr. Rao said, the institutions prescribed the syllabi and texts. "Even grading of exams was done by someone else. Although, I was teaching students, I felt I had no control over them."

Students also enjoyed freedom in the American system, Mr. Rao added. Instead of a top-down hierarchy, the American system allowed for free exchange of ideas. At the end of the semester, students were also given a feedback form in which they would evaluate the teachers' performance.

If students felt that they had been wrongly graded, apart from demanding an explanation on the grades from the professors, they could also have it re-evaluated.

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