To be or not to be: D-School too opposes the semester system

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With just a few months to go before the intended implementation of the semester system, various departments of the University continue to express their inhibitions and doubts about the pragmatic success of such a system in such a vast varsity like DU. The English Department , in its last general body meeting held on 16th December , 09 again rejected the semester system. However, on Dec 18 , the empowered committee constituted by the vice chancellor for working out modalities for implementation of the semester system at the undergraduate level , put up a proposal of their detailed deliberations and changes to the existing plan on the university website i.e . Though no general body meeting has been held by the varsity teachers of the English department , a recent development has been the rejection of the system and the proposed changes by the professors of Delhi School Of Economics ,post December 18th . Additionally individual concerns have been voiced and questions raised by numerous

A broad outline of the changes and the probable implications and consequences they entail:

Change :
MINORS- Students may do 6 papers in one subject and get a ‘Minor’ in his degree.The other choice would be that they can do 2 -3 subjects in a package laid down by the Dept. All Honours courses will have 16 papers. Environment will be learnt from a CD, Internet and periodicals. without teacher or classes
Only one language will be compulsory. The specifications for Eng and Hindi honours student aren’t made available yet and nor is there any mention of whether there will be a choice in this regard.
Implications : It seems the level will now be ‘non-Honours’ i.e. BA / BSc. As present concurrent disciplines are set to be replaced by 6 Pass course papers.
If Hindi is not introduced as a compulsory language , some colleges may want to do away with the option entirely. This in turn would lead to problematic questions regarding what one would do with the existing staff. Moreover , questions can be raise about the validity of a system which does not even make one paper in the local language compulsory.
Examination and Corrections
Changes :
There will be no house examinations conducted in January.

Exams will be marked centrally, by teams of 3-4 teachers each taking one or two questions only throughout the pile of scripts.

Fictitious Roll Numbers will not be used, thus the anonymity of the examinee will not be maintained.

Students shall not be given a right to re-evaluation of their answer scripts

Further, if students fail their first semester , they will not be given an opportunity to sit for their second semester examination.

Implications: Doing away of the fictitious roll number system to speed up the process of corrections may not seem to be the best solution , in fact it seems more faulty and impractical than the existing set up.

Things that might cause concern to students would be the manner of marking the exam without secrecy, which might lead to bias in the markers as they could tell the roll numbers of the students, be aware of their colleges etc, and worse, a student who found out the examiner could attempt to bribe him or her to ‘fix’ his paper. While we are not doubting the integrity of the examiners , disclosing the identity of the students is ironic for an examination system that does not trust its professors enough when it comes to internal assessment marks ,which are repeatedly moderated by concerned university authorities.

The first examination that students will give will be a full scale Delhi University examination in November as there will be no house examination. Interestingly enough ,many students and professors feel that these house examinatons are instrumental in preparing students about the more important University examinations ( in terms of weight age of marks).
This system will be additionally difficult for some students, especially the ones under quota or those general students who get in as late as mid September when quota seats are unfilled . With the university shutting down for the first two weeks of October in the light of the approaching Commonwealth Games, these students are faced with the real first semester exams only after being in college for less than a month. If they fail these , they would have to sit idle till July as they won’t be allowed to attend the second semester either.

The pattern of internal assessment will be significantly reworked as the house examinations will be done away with. Out of the 25 percent marks determined by the college ten percent will depend solely on attendance. Out of the remaining 15 percent 10 will depend on assignment ( s) submitted by the students and the remaining 5 on class tests.

SCHEDULES : classes and tutorials

Changes : The time tables will also have to be adjusted accordingly. Lecture classes will go up to 5 in each paper, the 5th period being for student presentations to be heard. Remedial measures for weaker students and late entries are being contemplated.

Implications :
However , tutorials will be reduced to only once a fortnight per student per paper with the tutorial groups being reduced to a minimum of ten students. The disadvantage is that even if the class size is 50 or 60 only 4 groups are allowed.

Journalism has been called the “first rough draft of history”. D.U.B may be termed as the first rough draft of DU history. Freedom to Express.

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