Md Umar, a first-year UG student of English honours at Jamshedpur Workers’ College in Mango here, has been told to shift to a pass course after almost a year of college, right before his first semester exams.
He is not alone, at least 50 others from various colleges affiliated to Kolhan University have been asked to do the same as they did not have marks for an honours degree but the respective colleges did not verify the mark sheets properly at the time of admission. Worse: the varsity does not yet know how many first-year students it has on its rolls and hence can’t decide on semester exam dates.
As an excuse for the mess, the varsity is pointing towards the centralised and automated admission system that started last year on the Chancellor Portal where students had to register online. Ironically, the Chancellor Portal was aimed to make college admissions more organised, fair and transparent.
“We cannot decide on our examinations unless we know how many students are registered and enrolled in the first year. We have so far not received any data to help us announce examinations,” said Kolhan University controller of examinations P.K. Pani.
As the varsity waits for this data, the directive of Raj Bhavan to the varsity to declare first semester results by June 30 seems to have gone for a toss. Uncertainty looms over the very dates of exams, which should have ideally been over by March.
Other state universities such as Nilamber Pitamber University and Sido Kanhu Murmu University have played it smarter.
After the Chancellor Portal registration, these varsities asked students to individually register on university websites.
Daltonganj-based Nilamber Pitamber University VC Satyendra Narayan Singh told this paper that they had finished their first semester exam. “We had asked our colleges to get done separate registration which is how we had a data back-up. We also haven’t received student data from the Chancellor Portal but the academic schedule (read semester exams) has to be on time,” he said.
Less clear is the problem faced by Md Umar and others who have been asked to shift to pass courses 10 months after admission. Besides Jamshedpur Workers’ College, other colleges in this mess are Jamshedpur Co-operative College, LBSM College and ABM College, all in Jamshedpur, and Tata College in Chaibasa.
The apparent reason is simple: in plus two, these students either scored below 45 per cent aggregate or below 45 per cent in the subject they went on to take up honours and were deemed ineligible. Umar, for instance, scored 51 per cent in English, but only 42.5 per cent overall. But why these students received marching orders so late remains a mystery. Apparently, this problem was also a fallout of the automated Chancellor Portal. But no principal could explain why the verification of aspirants’ mark sheets, at the level of the respective colleges, was so shoddily done that ineligible students got honours berths, were allowed to carry on for 10 months and told to switch courses only when the first semester neared.
Contacted, Amar Singh, principal of LBSM College, said, “There were some errors owing to the automated centralised system (of admissions). In our college, about five students have this problem. We told them of this glitch during registration in November but they did not pay heed. We had to ask them to shift now, because their first semester exams are coming. Luckily all five agreed to change their courses.”
A principal who did not come on record said it difficult to contact students earlier because “here they are not regular and we don’t have their phone numbers”. He could not explain why the problem was allowed to happen in the first place.
Umar said he had submitted his plus two mark sheet to the college when he sought admission in honours.
“You can say I took a chance,” he said when asked why he applied for honours though his aggregate was lower that the cut-off. “But I got through. And the college kept quiet for 10 months. I thought I would get an honours degree and pursue my BEd but without honours it won’t be possible,” added Umar who has decided to drop out.