While Delhi University refuses to give a second chance to students to complete their programmes, education experts and academicians support flexibility in the time allocated to students to complete their degree course. Measures should, however, be taken to ensure high academic calibre of the students passing out, they say.
According to Prof WN Gade, vice chancellor of Pune University, which allows students a special chance after they take a maximum of six years to complete the degree course, “There is a social issue involved. A large number of students who study degree courses come from diverse backgrounds. Some are working professionals, others are homemakers, some are from socially deprived communities and many have financial problems. Such people aspire to complete their degrees - even though it could happen at a later stage in life. So if we put that rigid condition of fixed duration to complete a degree course, we become oblivious of the other pressing requirements due to which the student may not get time to complete the course during the specific time. We are then really denying that opportunity to certain people.”
Gade feels universities “should have some flexibility without compromising on merit. We have a credit system. A student has to score some credits and grades which speak of his performance and merit. We can make the grades as stringent as possible and these shouldn’t be compromised under any circumstances. Minimum knowledge that a person should have to get a degree should not be compromised. But as far as time duration is concerned, we should have a little bit of flexibility.”
For Furqan Qamar, secretary general, Association of Indian Universities, varsities are autonomous institutions and the academic council of each university should be empowered to take the decision on the issue of the time allowed for a second chance. “While taking a decision, the larger interest of the students as well as quality and excellence (of education) should be considered. Standards should not be diluted so much that it makes a mockery of the system. At the same time they should not make these standards so rigid that a lot of people suffer. Instead of any national body intervening in the matter, every University’s AC should take a decision depending on its own circumstances” he says.