SRINAGAR: The new scheme of examination introduced by the Kashmir University (KU) – officially called Continuous Assessment 1 & 2 – has angered students as well as teachers of the varsity, who say that it has adversely affected the teachinglearning process.
However, the KU administration is adamant that the new policy was thoroughly deliberated upon and that it is in the best interest of students.
At a free-wheeling interaction inside the KU’s Hazratbal campus, students from various varsity departments told Kashmir Reader that the new examination schedule has “resulted in bad results”.
“We cannot think of academics beyond examinations,” said a student of political science department. “We can’t spend time with our friends to talk about issues which concern us as a society.”
More students joined him and seconded him. They spoke of the “unit-wise” examination schedule that has “burdened them”.
“After each unit, or call it a chapter, we are supposed to sit in an exam, without any break,” the students said. “It is the second month now that the examinations are going on and they still haven’t ended.”
The students alleged, “The whole purpose of this new scheme is to make us oblivious of the things happening around us.”
A student from the Department of Islamic Studies, seconded by a third-semester student of the Geology department, said, “It has created huge mental pressure on us. We even talked about this with the Vice Chancellor, who said that the new scheme will make the varsity assess the students after each unit,” the students, who are KU boarders, boarders, said.
“They keep us confined to exams,” said one student. “They don’t want students to develop critical thinking. The new scheme is just aimed at turning the university into a manufacturing unit.”
The students said that under the old scheme they would get “ample time” between two semesters “to visit libraries and consult and study more material regarding our subject”.
A student of one department claimed that 65 students of his semester failed in a particular unit test. “We have 80 students. You can see how this system has affected us,” he said. “We could not pass because we were under tremendous pressure.”
Another student, however, said that the new scheme of examination was “good”. “If a student wants to score more marks, this new system is good for him. But universities are not meant for scoring marks but for increasing knowledge,” he added.
Conceding that the new scheme has “affected the process of learning”, an HoD-rank teacher said, “Too much of exams is not good for our society… It is followed in the west but we live in the east.”
“By the time students reach home after writing an exam, they have to prepare for another paper next day,” he explained.
“This policy is not fruitful and students can’t study beyond exams,” he said. “But, we have to implement the academic schedule and we can’t do anything else.”
When contacted, HoD History, Prof Muhammad Yusuf, refused to comment on the issue. “I know many of your senior journalists who have fulfilled their own interests in the past two decades. Everyone has his own interest, so I won’t comment,” he said.
Dean Academic Affairs, Prof Musadiq Sahaf, said, “It is inefficiency on the part of those who oppose the new scheme of examinations.”
“Let us be clear: this is not an examination… this is continuous assessment 1 and 2, and the final exams are different,” he said. “We have given teachers freedom to evaluate students and have lessened the burden of the students, who were supposed to write papers at the end of every units and in final exams, but now have to write papers for only two units.”
“The assessment is up to teachers but for uniformity, the KU has given guidelines,” Sahaf explained. “We don’t interfere in the work of teachers but I believe whosoever has talked to you has wrongly understood the system, so have students.”
Such policies, he added, “are discussed first in the University Syndicate and then in the Academic Council.”
“We don’t want repetition of papers, so we have divided the exams: unit 1st and unit 2nd are written in the first two exams while unit 3rd and 4th are together written in the final examinations,” he explained.
He assured that the marks cards of students won’t be uploaded online “until and unless students are fully satisfied”.