‘Most colleges lack efficient and qualified teachers’

The first semester – December 2012 – engineering results of Anna University has left almost all affiliated colleges with nothing to cheer about. Among the 519 affiliated colleges only 10 colleges – a majority from Chennai – have a pass percentage of above 85. As many as 22 colleges have no passes at all, and not a single one was able to secure a 100 per cent pass.

While this was the trend throughout the State, it was no different in the Western region. In fact, it was worse. Only one college from Coimbatore has made it to the first 20 ranking.

With a pass percentage of 81.67, five-year-old Sri Eshwar College of Engineering has made it to the 16 rank in the State. There are hardly five colleges from the Western region that find a place in the top 50. But among the 22 colleges that have nil pass percentage, there are as many as six colleges from the Western region.

Though this poor show can be attributed to the transition phase from school to college, the results become more significant from the fact that this is the first common semester examination under the Anna University after the merger of the Anna Universities of Technology in August 1, 2012.

The results in the Western region before the merger were not as bad, according to institution heads.

In fact, there were instances where some colleges in rural centres with very less infrastructure brought in 90 per cent pass percentage, which could not be achieved even by premier institutions in the urban centres.

When the merger happened, it was believed that it would reinstate the quality and credibility of the parent university and benefit students.

The splitting of the parent university into six parts did not result in improving the quality of technical education that was actually envisaged. Academics say that these results only went to prove that belief.

The common syllabus, evaluation, continuous assessments, examinations, etc., which have been centralised, have also been standardised that is expected of a premier technical university, says a retired professor of Anna University, Chennai.

According to senior academics, most colleges lack efficient and qualified teachers, who have a large role to play when students are in the fledgling stage of a college education.

Sudha Mohanram, Principal of Sri Eshwar College of Engineering, says that while some of the students are much focussed, most of them are lethargic and continue with the school frame of mind.

“It requires constant motivation, individual counselling, and parent-like care, for moulding them to the college atmosphere. Along with these, we included remedial teaching for underperformers and some changes in classroom strategies, which helped us in achieving this result,” she adds.

She also points out that much depends on the quality of students that colleges get. When the intake consists of students with higher cut-offs, they can be groomed to study well. While this ranking is applicable only to affiliated colleges, there is no ranking system for autonomous colleges of Anna University. These colleges have their independent methods of conducting examinations and making assessments.

R. Rudramoorthy, Principal of PSG College of Technology, an autonomous college, says that the standard pass percentage in the first semester is around 70 per cent.

“It is a transitional stage for the student and hence, this is the expected pass percentage. It will increase with every semester and might even go beyond 90 per cent in the last semester for most colleges. But there is no excuse for zero pass percentage,” he says.

With Anna University expected to retain the standard of evaluation, heads of institutions say that if this standard has to be met, it can only be done with the involvement of faculty, and dedication and hard work by the students.