I am now fully trained up in BPR implementation, having now finished the 5 day course. The aims of BPR for the university seem quite sensible and reasonable, but I’m not sure how much of what they’re wanting to implement will actually happen (or how the practise will match the theory), especially give that no timescales defined – they can’t want to implement all the radical changes all at once during the next semester, can they??
I have quite a few reservations and concerns arising from the reorgnisation:
Research Teams. Each dept has had to create a number of research teams and I’ve been nominated team leader for the ‘Networking an ELearning Research Team’. When we were discussing what research projects we could do in Computer Science, I suggested we could look at what the problems may be in switching users from Windows to Ubuntu. I meant that we’d need to find what the problems would be for people, what training they’d need etc, but it seems to have been taken that installing Ubuntu on a few PCs is enough and that this is research. This happened in an number of other areas, where there doesn’t seem to be any understanding of what research involves and it’s just taken to be installing new software or hardware they’ve not used before.
Work Load and Incentives. There seems to be the impression that staff (lecturers) have a huge work load. I’m sure that some do, but there are a great many who don’t. For example, I know of staff who have 10 hours per week face to face with students, consisting of a 2 hour lecture, then 4 x 2hour lab sessions (each lab session having the same content). The lecture and lab material was written several years ago, and there are no tutorials. Given that they don’t teach any other lessons and don’t do any research (short of searching for scholarships in Europe/US), this doesn’t to me seem like a huge workload. Under BPR, staff are being asked to involve the students more in the lessons (not just lecturing) and be part of research teams. Many staff seemed to want incentives to take on this extra workload – even though they’re already being paid full time wage for having less than what I’d consider to be a part time work load.
Lesson Plans. Another item in BPR that didn’t go down well with staff was that lesson plans should be prepared for all lessons (more extra work apparently). Am I just confused in thinking it should be very difficult to deliver a lesson without a lesson plan?
100% satisfaction. Unrealistic and unachievable objectives seem to be another feature of BPR, for example 100% student satisfaction and 100% error-free exams. Under ideal conditions, yes, it would be great to think these objectives were achievable, but wouldn’t it be better to start with remotely obtainable objectives? Call me cynical, but maybe it depends on how they’re measured?
Performance measuring. Teacher’s performance is going to be measured based on the results of their students. Not even sure where to start with all the problems and issues with this!
On top of it all, I had a number of people tell me they thought BPR was commonly used throughout Europe/US. Perhaps it is, organisations often have restructuring/reviews, but never (to my knowledge or in my experience) to the extent that BPR is being applied here in Ethiopia. I’m not sure it’s appreciated just how much training and staff development will be necessary to implement BPR and become the university envisaged, or how much the ethos and work ethic of the university will need to change.