With barely 30% student attendance, Maulana Azad Medical College (MAMC) — one of best medical colleges in Delhi — allowed its students to sit for their final exams.
“To sit for the written exam a minimum of 70% classroom attendance is required. However, the biometric attendance system showed that more than half the class was not attending. This resulted in more than half the college not being allowed to sit for their final exams,” said a faculty member from the department of orthopaedics, unwilling to be quoted.
“The only way out for the administration was to bow down to student pressure and allow students to sit for the exams despite poor attendance. With such indiscipline, one can imagine how well trained the new generation of doctors will be,” he said.
To accommodate students, the college administration removed the biometric attendance system, which it had introduced earlier this year to tame student indiscipline and ensure attendance.
“We probably faltered in introducing the modern technology. It wasn’t suited to the student environment,” said Dr AK Aggarwal, dean, MAMC. “We will have to reach a level of perfection before we can reinstate the machines. We are working on the technical errors. We should be able to re-introduce it before the new academic session, which starts on August 1,” he said.
While the administration may blame it on technical glitches, the figures say it all. The average attendance for boys was about 20%, while the girls were better performers with at least 40% attending lectures. The average student attendance was barely 30%
“The problem of poor attendance is not limited to MAMC but cuts across all medical colleges in the country. Our students do not want to attend lectures,” said a faculty member from the department of medicine.
“The post-graduate students have ready excuses to offer like practicals or hospital duties. This is not good practice and certainly not in the interest of the students or the patients,” he said.
The faculty members feel that the introduction of the biometric attendance system was a good step to bring the students to the classes. “Instead of encouraging this practice of bunking classes by doing away with the biometric attendance system, the administration should have used an iron hand to handle this issue,” said a faculty member from the department of paediatrics.