Pitch rises for scrapping semester system in colleges
Academicians and students alike are pressing for doing away with the semester system at the college level, saying the bi-annual examination system started by University of Kashmir in 2015 has not produced desired results.
Students have often protested, hitting the streets demandingtimely exams, declaration of results and completion of their degrees.
"The spirit of semester system of exams was to increaseefficiency in academics but it failed to work here in Kashmir as our degreesare stretched unnecessarily," said Sumaiya, a 5th semester student who wasenrolled in the college in 2016.
Her batch was supposed to complete their degree in 2018 butthey are yet to appear in their 5th and 6th semester exams.
"Our three-year course has gotten stretched to four yearsnow, we are not sure whether it will be completed by this year or not," Sumaiyasaid.
The semester system was adopted by University of Kashmir onguidelines from the University Grants Commission (UGC) and was aimed at improvequality of education.
"But it has proved costly to college students given thedelay in completion of degrees and failure of authorities to hold exams ontime," said Adil Hamid, another college student.
Under the semester system, the students appear in two examsannually while earlier only one annual exam was conducted at college level.
"The semester system has added burden to students. It is notonly about regular exams but the varsity has to conduct backlog exams ofstudents' semester wise as well. It is totally time consuming and didn't provefruitful for students," another student said.
A varsity official however attributed the mess to the 2016summer uprising and overall prevailing political situation in Kashmir playingspoilsport for the semester system as it took off.
"Semester exam was introduced in 2015 but it was yet to besettled and choice based credit system (CBCS) was introduced in 2016. Later,uprising started in mid-2016 due to which the new initiatives are yet to getstreamlined," said the official, who is dealing with the examination of collegestudents.
The College Teachers Association (CTA) is also pitching forscrapping the existing semester exam system, saying it was not feasible keepingin view the geographical as well as the political situation in Kashmir valley.
"We are representatives of students as well. This practiceshould be scraped in the interest of students. I made a representation toGovernor about this issue earlier and was assured that steps will be taken toreview the semester system exams," said Prof Tariq Ashai, president of CTA.
Already, Himachal Pradesh government in June 2018 scrappedsemester system in under-graduate courses and reverted to annual examinationsystem keeping view the "difficult topography and demographic variations" ofthe state.
"But the state administration in J&K is adamant tocontinue with it which costs students dearly," Ashai said.
A top official at the University of Kashmir however said thecontroller examination was deputed to Himachal Pradesh to assess how the staterevised the annual system of exams in the state.
"The controller is yet to submit the report but the varsityis holding deliberations over the mess in exam system going on for past years,"the official said.
Registrar of the varsity, Nisar Ahmad Mir, however saidpolicy decisions are taken by the university council.
"I can't take the decision to scrap the existing system ofexams and re-introduce annual exams at college level. But the issue can bediscussed by the academic council and final decision is taken by the UniversityCouncil," Mir said.