Hello friends! It’s just been a month or two that we have started attending our colleges after the summer vacations. The start of the academic year marks the beginning for execution and implementation of new plans, policies and fresh ideas framed by the authorities. The aim should be to benefit the students to the maximum. Does this happen in Mumbai University? Students enter college with great hopes but ultimately end up finding themselves in a maze of confusion at every step and disappointment at every turn, leading them back to where they started – nowhere!
Let us take a tour and see what we will be facing, as a part of Mumbai University, throughout this (and for all the coming) year(s)!
The year starts with explanations of the policies and the rules to which students are expected to stick. It does not matter how funny or illogical they may seem. In any case, students have no right to express their views on them. An example of such policies is the “Scaling down of internal marks”. If the student for some reason – say due to health issues – happens to score less in the external examinations compared to her/his internal assessment examination, her/his internal marks are scaled down in proportion with the external examination marks. It does not matter how hard the student worked for the internal assessment exam. Why? We are told that there are
questions about the authenticity of the internal marks given by the institute. This means that the MU authorities doubt the credibility of its teachers responsible for the internal assessments!
Instead of the scaling down, why not make the assessment system more transparent? The authorities should keep a check on the genuineness of the system, rather than make the students suffer for no mistake of theirs! At the same time the child inside me, which was always taught that we have to do good to compensate for the bad, right for the wrong, etc. questions – why not UP for DOWN!? On a serious note, shouldn’t “Scaling Up of internal marks” be considered for the very same reason? By the way, are there no instances of teachers taking out their xqLlk on students through the thoroughly opaque internal assessment system? There is nothing the student can do if this happens!
A friend of mine, Prathemesh, was a student of final year M.Sc. in Mathematics. His performance was excellent during his internal assessment exams. However, due to certain issues beyond his control, his performance went down during external exams, as a result of which his internal assessment scores were scaled down.
Another such example is of a friend from Mumbai University. Due to hospitalisation she missed one of her internal exams, but passed with distinction in the same paper during her external assessment examination. Neglecting her serious health issues, she was not only denied the chance to appear for the re-exam, but also declared ‘FAILED’ in her internal exam. The simple question raised by many classmates and students was, “Why not scale up her marks? “The irony is that she would have passed just on the basis of her external marks alone!
Not only the policy but also the structure of the complete internal assessment system seems unjust. The internal assessment accounts for a great portion of one’s marks. It could have been very important in terms of helping the student understand which the needed areas for improvement are. This however doesn’t happen, because it is only right at the end, when the final mark sheet is in his hands, that the student gets his internal marks. There is no process by which a student can know how he was assessed throughout the semester.
Moreover, the internal assessment is extremely opaque. If the student is awarded fewer marks than he deserves, there is no avenue for redress.
An S.Y.B.Sc. student who I know always maintained above average performance in all his examinations. At times one of his professors even asked him to take lectures for his fellow classmates on a difficult topic! His classmates say that he indeed took the lectures very well. Despite all this, he was marked ‘failed’ by the very same teacher in his internal exam! Was this due to some personal grudge that the teacher developed? That is what some of his classmates think. The thing that troubles me the most is the lack of transparency in the internal assessment system.
There was nothing that this student could do about this patent injustice!
Now let’s try to see the beauty of the external examination system. Firstly, the announcement of timetable for the final semester exams is usually just 2-3 weeks prior to commencement of the examination. This affects the students adversely as they have practically no time left to plan their work schedule. Here I worry the most about the students who try to earn their own college fees.
इतने से भी अगर आपका दिल ना भरा हो, इन सब के बाद भी अगर आप इसी युनिव्हर्सिटी में आगे बढ़ने की हिम्मत दिखाते हो (which we all usually do as we have no other option) तो, these people have some more schemes to add to your problems. The way in which the results are announced is again a huge mess. Firstly, results are never declared on time. There could be serious consequences of this as students might lose various opportunities like acquiring admission to a particular institute, or getting a good job, etc. Now consider a hypothetical situation (I say so because it never happens, especially in MU) where one gets her/his result within 45 days from the date of the last paper (as ordered by the High Court to the University). Even in this case the result is sure to contain some error or the other. The name of the student or the grade obtained may be wrong or missing. Students are even marked “absent” for an exam they have appeared for and done excellently in! Every year many students face a lot of problems due to this callous behaviour of MU.
Lack of accountability and utter mismanagement by authorities is the reason for all the problems and resentment. In our last article we saw how some students fought against the unjust system and were successful in not only challenging the system but also in saving a year. The ‘Power of the Collective’ was very well demonstrated in their act. The only way, I see, to deal with these problems is raising our voices against this system. And it is only through the collective efforts, I believe, that we can bring changes in this system. So let’s not just wait here, but instead join hands and then take up initiatives to fight for justice!