While her seniors spent time in the canteen soon after college began in June this year, Sarah Abraham, 18, was seen in her college library, sourcing resource material for her projects and assignments.
Abraham, a first year arts student of Wilson College, belongs to the first batch of the semester-based credit and grading system of examination introduced by the Mumbai University this year.
“We had more than three submissions for each subject and couldn’t miss lectures because marks are assigned for class participation. The ongoing process of evaluation is hectic, but ensures continuous learning,” said Abraham, who plans to major in psychology. “However, owing to the lack of sufficient reading time, many students resort to copy-pasting from the internet,” she added.
As part of the new semester system, students are assessed on their daily assignments, projects and attendance out of 40 marks, and have to write the semester end exam out of 60 marks. With six papers in total, the students have to study the same subjects for two semesters, throughout the year.
“I chose BCom because I am attending chartered accountancy classes simultaneously. Now with compulsory attendance in college, I barely find time out of class work,” rued Aamir Sakarwala, FYBCom student of Mithibai College. “However, the new evaluation pattern has helped me overcome my stage fright. With presentations and interactive discussions, I have become more confident,” he added.
Principals said that the new system was adding extra pressure on the faculty members on account of the volume of students and frequency of tests. “With 120 students in the first year class in each stream, professors found it strenuous to check individual assignments and projects during the first semester, which ended in mid-October,” said Marie Fernandes, principal, St Andrew’s College, Bandra. “The internal marking system involved grading on class participation and leadership. How can you expect teachers to keep a tab on 120 students and grade them on the basis of class performance?” asked Fernandes.
While teachers are managing with 120 first year students this year, they are more worried about next year when student strength will double, with these students graduating to the second year and a new batch of first years. “As of now, the semester system is working out well because students were briefed about the system at the time of their orientation, and teachers were prepared. Attendance and student-teacher interactions have improved in class,” said Harsha Mehta, principal, SIES College, Sion.
“However, next year could prove to be a little difficult with more students, but we are taking one step at a time,” she added.