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A nail-biting finish for engineering students

S. Vijay Kumar

Despite having got placements, these students had a harrowing time

MADURAI: It was a nail-biting finish for these final year students of the Thiagarajar College of Engineering (TCE) in Madurai.

Despite having got placements in companies such as Infosys, Wipro and TCS, these students with a meritorious track record throughout had a harrowing time days ahead of bidding adieu to their college. Reason — they all "failed" in one subject by a huge margin. While the marks scored in previous semesters worked to a first class distinction score, the "failure" in one subject left them dejected as they would have to lose the job opportunity once for all.

The students, mostly in the Electronics and Communication Engineering stream, got placements in the campus interview held even before their final year commenced. When they were packing to join the hi-profile jobs after the final examinations, the news of 47 of 118 students "failing" in the `Telecommunication System' came as a jolt.

17-day trauma

After shock and agony for a couple of days, the students put up a brave stand to demand instant revaluation.

Taking their pitiable situation into consideration, the college management agreed to issue a photocopy of their answer scripts. A revaluation was done in a couple of weeks and the results were announced.

Guess what happened? Yes, all the 100 plus students passed with first class and above marks. Those who scored 15 or 20 got 60 and above. "We are surprised how the difference could be this much. The revaluation marks usually vary between 5 and 10. But the average difference in this case was 45 marks," says a student.

It was a miserable time for all the students and their family members for 17 long days. Though the students were confident that they had fared well in the examinations, the college authorities gave them no assurance of a positive result in the revaluation. "Many of my classmates were almost in a state of depression. We were told that teachers from other colleges evaluated the papers. But how could there be such a wide deviation in evaluation," asks another student.

`Attitudinal aberration'

Ask the TCE Principal, V. Abhaikumar, how all this happened, he says there is an attitudinal aberration among the students once they got placed.

"The students got the job offer during the beginning of the final year. There was a perceptible change in their approach in the academic exercises and they almost took things for granted." However, Mr. Abhaikumar, who is also the Head of the Department of ECE, said he was "surprised" at seeing the results.

Though an autonomous college, the TCE has an external evaluation system where teachers from other colleges are involved. "We are planning to revamp the evaluation pattern. The placement programme also needs to be postponed at least till the fag end of the final year."

However, for the 125 students, including many girls, it was a huge relief. They are now set to take off to take up a challenging career from a college that has a distinction of 100 per cent placement.

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