More than 500 students of Mumbai University (MU) who failed in more than five subjects in the third year of their Bachelor of Engineering (BE) and earlier semesters staged a rasta roko agitation near the main gate of the Kalina campus on Thursday.
The students demanded that they should be allowed to sit for semesters seven and eight exams, to be held from May 2015, as otherwise they would face problems due to change in syllabus from next year.
“We want to appear for the last two semesters (seven and eight) in the old exam pattern of 100 marks this May. From the next year, the credit-based grading system will be started. All our previous years’ marks will be converted into grades, which will affect our final year result and placement,” said Abhijeet Gehlot, a protesting student from Datta Meghe Engineering College, Navi Mumbai.
In November 2014, no relief was granted to around 1,000 engineering students, who had approached the Bombay high court seeking directions to the MU to appear for their semester exams of the fourth year in the current academic year after they cleared their ATKT (Allowed To Keep Term) exams. However, the court did not grant them a relief. Through the ATKT system, students are promoted to next year if they have failed maximum three subjects. However, in the following year, the students need to clear the subjects in which they had failed.
“The high court did not give us any relief and hence we tried to approach the university officials through an open house, but it went in vain, as our concern was not addressed. We had no other option but to stage a protest,” a third year BE student said.
The students contended that, in 2009, through an ordinance, the university had allowed students to write semesters seven and eight of varsity exams along with the ATKT exams.
University officials said that the issue will be discussed and a decision will be taken in an academic council meeting on February 26.
MA Khan, registrar, MU, said, “Varsity administration is positive about allowing these students appear for their exams according to the old syllabus in the coming year. If we let them sit for an exam this year, it will set a wrong precedent. However, the vice-chancellor will take the final decision.”
Suresh Ukarande, dean, faculty of technology, MU, said, “The credit and grading system has been there from the first year and if the marks need to be converted, it will not be a problem. Therefore, having new syllabus in the fourth year will not be an issue.”
He said, “However, considering the demands, we will discuss whether we can conduct exams for students with old syllabus along with exams based on the new syllabus.”