Fate of semester system now hangs in balance

Chitra V. Ramani

Only a new government can decide on it

Association says semester system has been introduced in a hurry

Vice-Chancellor to talk to teachers and discuss their grievances

Bangalore: With B.S. Yeddyurappa submitting his resignation papers here on Monday, the teachers at Bangalore University may have to wait longer for a new Government to be formed and decide the fate of the semester system.

The Bangalore University College Teachers’ Association (BUCTA) has been raising objections to the semester system for a while now. The association even urged the Vice-Chancellor to scrap in and bring back the annual system.

Speaking to The Hindu, K.G. Lokesh, president of BUCTA, said that with the semester system, the administration in over 650 colleges had become chaotic. He said that students who have failed to clear one semester have to wait for the next odd semester to clear it. “If a student has not cleared the first semester, he has to wait till he reaches the third semester to clear the first semester examination. Imagine the fate of the fifth semester student. This is not a fair practice,” he said.

Also, the university did not have any clear guidelines on who should teach the newly added compulsory subjects — computer application, Indian Constitution and environmental science. “There are restrictions in place for aided and unaided teachers i.e. an aided teacher cannot take any classes for the unaided combinations. Therefore, there is confusion over who should teach subjects like the Constitution and environmental science. The services of qualified teachers are not being utilised properly. Many teachers do not have work load. Such teachers may be asked to take classes for the new subjects,” he said.

His other grouse was with the lack of manpower in the examination and administration sections. “There is severe manpower shortage. This causes inordinate delay in announcement of results.”

Mr. Lokesh said that the semester system had been introduced in a hurry, without a proper debate on the pros and cons.

“The BUCTA raised these issues and this was discussed by the Syndicate, which decided to place it before the Inter-University Board,” he added.

The semester system was introduced by the then Vice-Chancellor M.S. Thimmappa. Asked about the objections raised by BUCTA against the semester system, Dr. Thimmappa said that it was unfair on the part of BUCTA to claim that the system was introduced in a hurry, without proper debate. “In 2002, 45 postgraduate departments introduced the semester system. I wanted the undergraduate departments also to switch to the system the same time. But, principals from several colleges came to me and requested me to grant them more time. They had two years to discuss the semester system threadbare.”

He said that the semester system was academically sound, as it prevented academic waste. “If implemented unit-wise, it will not be a burden either on the students or on the teachers. However, that is not the case. Also, when a new system is introduced, new practices should be brought in. The university can still use modern technology and reduce the burden on the examination section. That way, even transparency is ensured,” he said.

“One cannot ban automobiles because of increase in pollution. It is the same with semester system. The use of modern technologies is the only answer,” he said.

Meanwhile, Vice-Chancellor H.A. Ranganath said he would talk to the teachers and discuss their grievances. “I am also a teacher. I understand their plight. We have discussed their objections during the Syndicate meeting, where it was decided to place it before the Inter-University Board. However, that will take time, as the Government will have to call the meeting,” he added.

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