Calicut University has agreed to a long-pending demand by professional female students to permit them to continue their studies without any technical break in spite of their absence on maternity grounds.

A brief meeting of the university Senate held on Wednesday ratified an Academic Council decision permitting MCA students to continue their studies as normal after a year-long maternity break.

The university decision will be beneficial for brilliant students seeking top ranks. Accordingly, a female MCA student who takes a year-long maternity break will be allowed to attend the classes and write the examination along with her junior batch.

Unlike the practice followed till now, she will not have to write the supplementary examination. Her examination after the maternity break will be considered as ‘first chance’, and not ‘second chance’ or ‘supplementary’. This will make her eligible for consideration of top ranks.

At present, the university does not consider for top ranks those who write the supplementary examination or those who take their second chance.

“But the decision should not be interpreted as maternity leave. It is not maternity leave. It was a long-pending demand by some sections of students that came before the Board of Adjudication for Students Grievances,” said K. Ravindranath, Pro Vice-Chancellor and chairman of the Board of Adjudication. Although the university was willing to extend this benefit to other professional courses, including MBBS, BDS and BHMS, the decision was suspended pending the permission of the Medical Council of India. “We are happy to give this benefit to all female students. But we need MCI concurrence for medical courses,” said Mr. Ravindranath.

The university decision, however, has raised many questions about the real benefit of it. Changes in syllabus, examination pattern, and examination system can obviate the benefits of it for the students taking the examination along with their juniors after a year’s break.

This will make them eligible for consideration

of top ranks.