On 30th July 2018, the UGC had released a press statement that declared the removal of attendance compulsion for Bachelor’s and Master’s courses in Indian universities affiliated to it.
The University Grants Commission (UGC) had released the press statement on Monday, 30th July 2018. The same had declared that from the forthcoming semester, there would be no compulsion of maintaining a particular percentage of attendance in order to be deemed eligible to sit for the semester examinations. According to a statement of UGC Chairman, Mr. D.P. Singh, several dialogue exchanges between student bodies, and the UGC had led to the ultimate decision.
Back when Rocky Tuseed’s Presidency in the Delhi University Students’ Union (DUSU) was not yet disqualified, he and other senior members of the DUSU had been in talks with the UGC and had also filed petitions with regard to the unfairness of the system of compulsory attendance.
Before the new guidelines were announced, the University of Delhi (DU) had in place strict regulations and norms to detain those students who had attendance below the margin of 66.66% from taking their semester exams. Many schools of thought had argued that the operandi of attendance compulsion at the college-level blatantly shielded poor teaching methods.
Saugata Bhaduri, a Professor of English at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), told The Telegraph in 2016, “In JNU where I teach, and which is generally considered the best university of the country, it is officially stated that attendance is not required. Yet we run classes to full capacity and more, with students, not only coming to every scheduled class on their own without any rule asking them to do so, but actually seeking out every opportunity for extra classes and additional academic opportunities. That is what educational institutions should aspire for.”
When the notice by the UGC was released, Shashi Tharoor, a Member of Parliament, had immediately expressed his delight on the piece of news by tweeting, “A move to move from over-regulation to quality learning.”
However, many quarters within India wonder whether it will improve the quality of education whether it will improve the quality of education in India or if it will lead to an increase in complacence in students. Lavina Mulani, a first-year student pursuing B.Sc. (Hons) from Miranda House, responded to the new UGC guidelines, by saying, “It may be true that students will attend the classes that interest and stimulate them. But in colleges, the dilemma between skipping classes and participating in cultural activities will also be highlighted by the new norms. It is upon the student’s will to choose the course of his or her education. The question is are we truly ready for the responsibility?”
With the UGC’s populist move to remove attendance mandates, students now have the freedom of choice. Whether this choice aggrandises indiscipline or enhances the quality of learning, only time is equipped to answer.
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Feature Image Credits: Hindustan Times