Colleges in Mumbai have used the carrot-and-stick policy to bring down the number of students who stay away from classrooms, this year. Many colleges have seen a drastic fall in the number of students defaulting on attendance this semester after they introduced stricter rules.
Mithibai College in Vile Parle, which had made news for debarring 90 final year students from different streams, including 56 third-year BCom students in March this year because they had poor attendance, has only eight defaulters this semester.
St Xavier’s College, Dhobi Talao, maintains subject-wise attendance records for their students and while 300 students across courses were in the defaulters’ list last year, the number stands at 60. Instead of just penalising defaulters, the college has started awarding students with good attendance record. The college is awarding such students five marks in the respective subjects.
“There has been a fall in the attendance defaulters but we still need to do more. As of now, the feature of extra marks for good attendance has only been introduced for first year students,” said Agnelo Menezes, principal, St Xavier’s College.
While St Xavier’s College will introduce the same feature for other batches with every passing academic year, Mithibai is ensuring that students attend all lectures. “The college has maintained subject-wise attendance records of students on a monthly basis and parents have been informed about the status every month,” said Rajpal Hande, principal, Mithibai College.
At KES Shroff College in Kandivali, of the close to 130 degree students had defaulted on attendance last year, seven were not allowed to write their exams in March this year and the attendence has improved. “The numbers have gone down, slowly but steadily. Our staff has been working very hard in ensuring that attendance records are maintained well and kept the system transparent for parents to check as well,” said Lily Bhushan, principal of KES Shroff College.
According to the state universities rule, 75% attendance has been compulsory for years. However, two years ago, ordinance 6086 was passed by the University of Mumbai and it states that in case of health issues or other personal problems, the minimum attendance can be brought down to 50% but it can’t go below that.
While many colleges haven’t introduced a blanket rule for all students, various departments have come up with their own plans. “Some department heads get students to help them with research work, or college work after classes. We have been thinking about getting students to do community work as well,” said V Sirwaiya, principal, Wilson College, Chowpatty.
Luring students to attend classes
*Extra marks for good attendance: St Xavier’s College, Dhobi Talao, will award marks to students for attending class regularly – five marks will be awarded to students with 95-100% attendance in a subject, four marks to those with 90-94% attendance, and one mark to those with 75-80% attendance
*Extra classes: At UPG College in Vile Parle, extra lectures are held for at least two weeks for students who fall short in attendance by 5-6%. Preliminary examinations are made compulsory to make up for the loss in lectures and attendance
*Community service: Some departments of Wilson College, Charni Road, ask attendance defaulters to help lecturers with research work, or college work after classes. They also plan to make defaulters compensate for attendance shortage with community service
What the university ordinance says
While 75% attendance has been compulsory for years, two years ago, Ordinance 6086 was passed by the University of Mumbai. The ordinance says in case of health issues or other personal problems, the minimum attendance can be brought down to 50% but it can’t go below that.