Delayed Degrees

  • Shah Khalid
  • Publish Date: Aug 26 2018 9:01PM
  • |
  • Updated Date: Aug 26 2018 9:01PM
Delayed Degrees

How University of Kashmir’s lackadaisical attitude has leaved students in lurch, writes Shah Khalid

 

Kashmir University has taken a laid back approach towards the career of thousands of students enrolled in distance as well in regular mode programmes. In the beginning, the students who were enrolled in various programmes were jubilant to see their selection at Kashmir University. However, later the students regret their decision for joining distance as well as regular mode programmes. Reason: Endless visits to the Kashmir University for contact classes and examination.  Students believe their tryst with Kashmir University was marred by tragedies from the day of admission. 

“Kashmir University grows you old,” says a student from Department of Food Technology. 

The main fact behind the delaying examination is due to implementation of semester system, which was borrowed from American Universities, which has completely failed in India. Because the evaluation process there is internal. But when it comes to Kashmir, the burden increases on students as well on teaching faculty. This poor academic management on the part of Kashmir University is due to implementation of Choice Based Credit System (CBCS), which has created more chaos and confusion not only among the students, but also the teaching staff in the affiliated colleges offering Under-Graduate Programmes. The CBCS which was introduced by Kashmir University authorities, has been recognized as a failure in state’s education system. To adopt CBCS for Under-Graduate and Post-Graduate level degree, diploma and certificate programmes, University Grants Commission (UGC) has set up various guidelines for running the smooth academic session. 

The Choice Based Credit System (CBCS) was adopted owing to the diversity of approaches with respect to examination, evaluation and gradation so that this uniform grading system will facilitate seamless mobility of students across institutions, and will make the process easier when they have to assess the performance of students. A ‘cafeteria’ approach being taken under CBCS, wherein students will be able to pick courses of their choice, understand and learn at their own speed. Also they can also take up additional courses like core, elective and foundation, so that students will receive more than the required credits.

“The students enrolled in 2016 academic session for various Under-Graduate Programmes under CBCS have recently appeared in their 3rd Semester examination, and their 2nd Semester results had not yet declared,” a group of students from Journalism Department said at the Women’s College Srinagar. 

“The regular as well as distance mode Post-Graduate students are also unhappy with University administration, as their two year Post-Graduate Programmes have extended into 3rd year. Irony is that the result of previous semester is yet to be declared,” said Mujtaba, who is presently pursuing Masters in Computer Applications at SSM College of Engineering & Technology Parihaspora Pattan, as the college is affiliated with University of Kashmir.

The previous Vice Chancellor of Kashmir University had taken various steps for uplift of academics, but while adopting the semester system for non-professional UG and PG programmes, the VC completely failed to be in tune with other Universities, who too are offering various Under Graduate and Post Graduate Programmes in regular as well in distance mode under Choice Based Credit System. The CBCS at University of Kashmir has proved a complete failure, by which University of Kashmir has lost the potential. By introducing semester system for non-professional Under-Graduate and Post-Graduate Programmes, Kashmir University faces a raft of challenges.

Interestingly, students from Kashmir division enrolled in Regional centres of Indira Gandhi National Open University New Delhi (IGNOU) and Maulana Azad National Urdu University Hyderabad (MANUU) which are running the distance mode Programmes have completed their degrees in time, as the authorities managed to conduct examinations even when examinations were delayed first because of 2014 floods and 2016 summer unrest, which threw entire academic calendar out of gear. Other Universities in Kashmir division like Islamic University of Science and Technology Awantipora (IUST), Sheri-Kashmir University of Agriculture Science and Technology (SKAUST) Shalimar Srinagar, Central University of Kashmir (CUK) which is running in various off-site campuses, have also managed to conduct their examinations without any further delay.

This poor academic session does not allow its constituents any room for creativity in teaching, learning, curriculum development or research. The delay in examination can be eliminated if we have an autonomous administrative system for conducting the examination in an organized way. In such a structure, quality enhancement can only be brought about by reducing the burden at the university level and giving greater autonomy and accountability to the constituent Colleges at Under Graduate (UG) level through affiliation reforms.  The Ministry of Human Resource Development’s Rashtriya Uchatar Shiksha Abhyian (RUSA) had initially drafted the academic reform system, for introducing the semester system, which has been drafted in collaboration with heads of central, state and deemed universities across India, to promote more responsive, diverse, and flexible learning. However, the University of Kashmir has completely failed to implement the basic purpose of semester system.

Students enrolled at University of Kashmir are helpless, as authorities take them for-granted. If they raise questions with authorities, they fear they will be singled out. Why students are facing the brunt for stagnating education system in Kashmir? Why students are burning their fingers for no reasons? Who will now compensate the loss of academic session? These are the questions the authorities must answer. 

With the rapid advancement in academics, higher education needs some serious reforms to boost its structure in this competitive environment. A ground breaking study has cited academic credibility as one of the most critical factor that influences the student’s achievement. To maintain the academic credibility and quality assurance of academic programmes, the concerned authorities of Kashmir University, especially the Vice Chancellor of the varsity must take more efforts to make academics more vibrant and involve students in overall learning process. 

Universities are the places for highest seat of learning, besides having a proper administration and academics, we can expect creativity. It is therefore necessary for the Vice Chancellor of the varsity to undertake periodic review of academics and make it more vibrant. I hope the Vice Chancellor will bring the Kashmir University on right track. There is a dire need to put Kashmir University in safe hands. It is highly encouraging that University of Kashmir has been included in the list of top 50 Universities in India by National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) for 2018 academic session. It is significant. However, there is always scope for improvement. 

 

(Shah Khalid is a freelance writer, having a Diploma in Mass Communication & Journalism, presently a final year student at Department of Electrical Engineering, IUST. peerzadakhalid1545@gmail.com)