Agonized by the conditions imposed by the semester system, a group of third year students of University have initiated an online petition to protest against the system. The campaign was started by two DU students, Ankita Rastogi and Shefail Saini.
The demands written in the petition include: Continue the system of re-evaluation and rechecking of exam papers; Any academic reform should start from evaluation of the existing annual system, its benefits and weaknesses and to devise a system which specifically redresses those weaknesses, Keeping the interest of students and teachers in mind. Whether the solution will emerge from within the annual system or a different one (semester/trimester etc) cannot be pre-decided; Ensure a sustained improvement in infrastructure and share the details with teachers and students and show transparency; Improve infrastructure and student teacher relationships to ensure that dreams of lakhs of students who come to DU every year and create an efficient education system in the varsity.
The petition, compiled and posted on the internet just before the first semester exams kicked off, has received about 107 signatures so far. The number might be small but the students behind it are still hopeful to get more support. Talking about the reason behind such a response of the students, Ankita Rastogi from SRCC, the student who’s leading the campaign, says, “The response from students has been decent considering their brief stay in the University. The petition was uploaded just before the first semester exam due to which students were not quite aware of it, post that there were holidays during which the petition got the bulk of its support. But then the first semester results doused the petition since the students were overwhelmed by their inflated marks. The results made the semesters so attractive to everyone that students under the annual mode regretted not being under the semester system, totally ignoring the cutthroat competition this is going to create amongst students. Besides, such inflation of marks indicates the foul play the university has indulged in to push through the semester system smoothly, how else can you explain 99% marks in Economics and that approximately 20% students in the University have secured above 95%? If we assume the checking has been efficient and correct, then why were the question-papers sub-standard?”
The fact that the petition has been compiled by a group of third year students who do not even have to bear the system sounds surprising. But that’s where they decided to take up the responsibility so that students don’t have to bear the brunt in their fifth semester. She states, “The reason why we consider it our responsibility to oppose a system we are not under is because we’re able to see that the University is getting away with all the illegalities it is involved in due to the fact that the student fraternity is unaware, fragmented and self-involved. The time by when all students will realize the ill effects of the system it might be too late to do anything. Therefore we consider it important to stir students out of their ignorance so as to create solidarity against a system that may not benefit them in their future. But the reason that made me prepare a petition before my exams was that perhaps by the time students begin having problems with this system they will be rendered absolutely helpless.”
“In their fifth semester, when students will be preparing for entrance exams, that will clash with their semester exams. Would they be able to sacrifice an entire semester in a system of such strong meritocracy? What will students do when in subsequent semesters the course load increases and they are not awarded marks generously and they don’t have the option of re-evaluation with them?”, she questions.
Their next step would be to officially submit the petition to the Vice Chancellor of the University, after they have gathered enough support. They also plan to file it in court if the University fails to deliver. “The whole objective of this petition is to roll back the system till the University brings in a well thought out, democratic and transparent semester system,” she adds.
Here’s the link to the online petition: