BY SHAH KHALID
Kashmir University has taken a very laidback approach towards the career of thousands of students enrolled in distance as well in regular mode programmes. In beginning, the students who were enrolled in various programmes were jubilant over their selection at the University. However, later the students regretted their decision for enrolling in these programmes. The major reasons are endless visits to the Kashmir University for conducting contact classes and examination. Students believe that their tryst with Kashmir University has been marred by tragedies from the day of admission and enrolment.
The main reason behind the delay in examinations is the implementation of the semester system, which was borrowed from American Universities, but has completely failed here. The reason for this, in turn, is that the evaluation process in the US is mostly internal. But, when it comes to here, the burden is increasing on students as well on teaching faculty. This poor academic management on 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.
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. 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. They can also take up additional courses like core, electives and foundation, so that students will receive more than the required credits.
The students enrolled in the 2016 academic session for various Under-Graduate Programmes under (CBCS), have recently appeared in their 3rdSemester examination, but their 2nd Semester results have not yet been declared. The regular as well as distance mode Post-Graduate students are also unhappy with the University administration, as their two year Post- Graduate Programme has extended into 3rdyear. The irony is that the result of previous semester is yet to be declared.
The Honorable Vice Chancellor of Kashmir University, who is heading the varsity from past several years, had taken various steps for the upliftment of academics, but while adopting the semester system for non-professional UG and PG programmes, the Honorable VC of the varsity has 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 the Choice Based Credit System (CBCS).
The CBCS at the University of Kashmir has proved to be not only a complete failure rather but a disaster. By introducing semester system for non-professional Under-Graduate and Post-Graduate Programmes, Kashmir University faces a raft of challenges, among which the issue of access and quality rank near the top had declined.
Interestingly, students from Kashmir division enrolled in Regional centers of Indira Gandhi National Open University New Delhi (IGNOU) and Maulana Azad National Urdu University Hyderabad (MANUU) which are running long distance mode Programmes have completed their degrees on time, as the authorities managed to conduct examinations even when examinations were delayed first because of 2014 floods and 2016 summer unrest, which threw the entire academic calendar out of gear. Other Universities in Kashmir division like the 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 managed to conduct their examinations without any 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.
Students enrolled at University of Kashmir are helpless, as authorities take it “for-granted”. If they raise questions and issues with authorities, they fear they will be singled out. Why students are facing the brunt of stagnating education system in Kashmir? Why students are burning their fingers for no reasons? Who will now compensate the loss of the academic session? These are the questions which the Honorable Vice Chancellor of the varsity 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 academic credibility and quality assurance of academic Programmes, the concerned authorities of Kashmir University, especially the Honorable Vice Chancellor of the varsity must take more efforts to make academics more vibrant and involve students in the overall learning process.
It is therefore incumbent upon the Honorable Vice Chancellor of the varsity to undertake periodic review of academics and make the university more vibrant.
The author, a free lance writer, can be reached at:firstname.lastname@example.org