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Pushback to Part I raises pressure cry on campus

A Calcutta University decision to push back the dates for next year’s Part I examination is a cause for confusion and concern on campus.

The move to postpone the exams to the end of May 2003, say officials, may well push the date for publication of results past the Durga Puja vacation. And this, say teachers and students, will end up slashing preparation time for Part II to just about five months.

Till this year, the Part I exams would start in the beginning of May and students would get their marksheets just before the university closed for the Puja holidays. “As the Part II exams are beginning a week late, we do not have any option,” said the university’s controller of examinations Onkar Sadhan Adhikari, confirming that from 2003, the Part I exams would begin closer to the end of May.

“Having more than 18 months for Part I and then less than five months for Part II, which is the tougher half, is illogical,” says the history teacher of a prominent south Calcutta college. “We had, in fact, thought the university authorities would bring the Part I exam forward to leave more time to finish the Part II syllabus.”

Also, the November-March period, say officials, is crammed with holidays (Guru Nanak’s birth anniversary, Christmas and New Year, Saraswati puja, Holi). “Pressure on students will definitely increase if they get down to serious studying only after the publication of Part I results,” they admit.

A delay of even 10 days in the commencement of the exam, warn officials of the relevant department, is going to push back the publication of results till after the Puja vacation.

“The university will try to speed things up, but any hurried publication of results may lead to disaster, especially with the courts taking a tough stand on the issue,” said a senior CU official.

Officials explained that the decision to push back the exams was part of a “larger” scheme. “The university is trying to rationalise its time-table to minimise the number of holidays,” said a senior official. “This may, unfortunately, lead to some problems for the initial period of the change-over,” he admitted.

‘Some problems’ is an understatement, feel both teachers and students. Though some colleges start gearing up for Part II much before the university publishes the Part I results, classes — say teachers — can begin “in earnest” only after that. “The composition of a class can change after the publication of results,” pointed out a professor of English in a north Calcutta college.

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