CU turns down principals’ plea on attendance

The VC said scrapping the attendance rule would demotivate the students who were attending classes regularly

By Subhankar Chowdhury in College Street
  • Published 25.03.19, 3:59 AM
  • Updated 25.03.19, 3:59 AM
  • 2 mins read
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Calcutta University authorities fear campuses would lapse into indiscipline in the absence of such a rule and that would result in failure of the semester system. Screengrab: Calcutta University website

Calcutta University has turned down requests from a number of college principals to scrap the system of barring students from writing exams because of inadequate attendance.

The university authorities fear campuses would lapse into indiscipline in the absence of such a rule and that would result in failure of the semester system.

The request to do away with the attendance rule was voiced by a number of principals at an interactive session held at the Rajabazar science college on March 16. The session reviewed the implementation of the choice-based credit system (CBCS) in the BA, BSc and BCom courses.

“I am amazed to hear that some principals at the workshop had spoken on relaxing the attendance clause. The university will not go soft on attendance,” vice-chancellor Sonali Chakravarti Banerjee told Metro on Sunday.

“Only a handful of colleges have faced troubled over the implementation of the attendance rule. The heads of those institutions have to resolve the issue on their own. The university cannot accept unfair demands. Attendance is a must for implementing the semester system.”

The VC said scrapping the attendance rule would demotivate the students who were attending classes regularly.

The VC did not attend the interactive session. An official said she had been apprised of the principals’ plea by pro-vice-chancellor Dipak Kar, who presided over the session.

In the CBCS a student must attend at least 60 per cent of the classes to be eligible to write the semester exams.

Those with 60 to 74 per cent attendance are awarded six out of 10 and those with 75 to 90 per cent, eight. A full 10 is awarded to those who have attended more than 90 per cent of the classes in a semester.

Some principals argued at the session that students who stayed far away from the college were finding it difficult to attend the required number of classes.

“Some principals even went to the extent of arguing that recording attendance was leaving teachers with less time for academic activities in class,” an official said.

Strict enforcement of the rule in the last semester triggered protests by students, who had gone on the rampage at several colleges in the city.

In December, around 15 students of the City College of Commerce and Business Administration in central Calcutta, who were barred from writing the semester exams because of inadequate attendance, had threatened to slit their wrists in front of the principal. The authorities had to call in police to control the situation.

The same month hundreds of students at Heramba Chandra College in south Calcutta had blocked afternoon traffic for over an hour and vandalised vehicles after being prevented from writing the exams. Protests had also broken out at a Behala college on the issue.

The two gates of Calcutta University’s College Street campus had to be closed after the wave of protests reached its door.

Another university official said the principals opposed to the attendance rule were failing to understand that in its absence the syllabus could not be covered in class in the semester system.

“Many students will then find it difficult to pass the examinations,” he said.