Wednesday, Aug 20, 2003
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By K. Ramachandran
Simultaneously, some official efforts are on to enlist the services of well-established private colleges to help institutions, which are struggling to meet the higher standards set by the university.
The university took academic control of all engineering colleges in mid-2002. It started conducting examinations from December 2002 for I and II year classes.
In II semester, out of 225 colleges, no student in five colleges cleared all subjects and in 28 colleges only five per cent passed. In 78 colleges, the pass percentage was below 10. As for the fourth semester results (the 2001-02 batch), 16 colleges achieved less than five per cent pass, 43 less than 10 and 81 colleges below 15 per cent.
Students, who got poor results in the fourth semester, are the most aggrieved lot. They secured good marks in the first year. But then they were in the regional universities following a different syllabus. After adopting the Anna University syllabus, most of them have failed now. At least 10,000 of the fourth semester candidates have sought revaluation.
A III B.Tech student, Nagesh from Madurai, says 10 or 12 students in the district have dropped out owing to poor results. Some others have joined deemed universities. ``Many students feel that if they continue with so many subjects in arrears, their job prospects will be practically nil,'' he says.
A parent of a student in the SSN Engineering College, Chennai, suggests that as a way out, the university can conduct a re-examination in all II and IV semester papers at the end of the next semester.
The principal of an established college, near Chennai, feels that the chairman/chief examiner in different zones did not follow the instructions uniformly or interpreted them differently to guide the examiners. The key answers were too elaborate, considering the small value of marks for certain questions.
He says only experienced examiners should be allowed to correct answer-scripts and the keys provided by the university should be brief and approved by experts. Steps and procedure in the answers (and not merely numerical values) should also be given weightage. The chairman/chief examiner for any discipline should be only from the senior faculty of the same discipline.
We'll consider suggestions: VC
The Vice-Chancellor, E. Balagurusamy, agrees that the problems of students need to be addressed before the next examinations begin. But they should also understand that the engineering course requires a lot of self-study. ``We will look into any particular suggestion to help colleges which lack resources to meet the high standards,'' he says.
University officials and management representatives are likely to meet next month for a frank exchange of views on the university's standards and evaluation system.
Academicians feel that it could look into specific lacunae in each college, using tabulated results. Then the university can rope in retired professors to address the problems. Also, reputed colleges can be designated as ``lead institutions'' so that their experience and expertise are shared with less-endowed institutions.
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