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Student unrest rocks Calcutta University after more than 50% fail BA exam

The worst results in five years in the Calcutta University Part I arts and science exams have sparked a protest by failed students who are demanding that their answer papers be checked again.

india Updated: Jan 31, 2018 13:46 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Kolkata
Calcutta University,Part I results,Students protest

A massive student unrest that began on January 27 continues to rock Calcutta University following a sharp dip in pass percentage in Part I results, particularly in the arts stream.

A section of unsuccessful students have been agitating for the last four days demanding that their answer scripts be rechecked. Backed by a communist students’ union, hundreds of students who have failed in BA, BSc part 1 exams have been demonstrating outside the university gates, shouting slogans, verbally abusing university authorities and even squatting on arterial roads to block them.

Only 27,475 students out of 64,543 managed to pass BA exam, the results of which were declared on January 25. In other words, 57% of the students failed. Science students fared better with 10,738 out of 15,125 students or 71% passing the BSc Part I exam. The pass percentages are the worst in the past five years.

Last year, 69% passed in the BA exam, while 75% BSc students passed their Part I exams.

The Trinamool Congress government has shown no inclination to give in to the students’ demands. Bengal’s education minister Partha Chatterjee described the demand as unacceptable.

“I am holding regular meetings with the CU authorities over the reason of these poor results this year. But at the same time, students will have to remember that securing qualifying marks through proper studies is their responsibility. There cannot be any agitation demanding qualifying marks for students who have failed exams,” he said.

“Failing in an examination and then agitating for pass marks is unthinkable and unacceptable,” he added.

The minister also said some that other than some unsuccessful students, some outsiders are also responsible for creating lawlessness in the campus.

Students launched their agitation from January 27, when the university reopened after Republic Day.

Calcutta University has 164 colleges under its jurisdiction, out of which 78 are in Kolkata, while the remaining are in Howrah and South 24 Parganas districts.

The suicide of an unsuccessful candidate, Parna Dutta, after the results were declared, stoked the agitation further.

On Monday and Tuesday, the biggest agitation was in front of the College Street campus, where students even blocked roads to press for their demands. Despite the continued agitation in front of the main campus on College Street in north Kolkata, there has been no police deployment to prevent any possible violence.

A section of the students have called a convention of students, guardians and intellectuals in front of the university on Friday to discuss the matter.

The students who have failed have also mobilised student unions affiliated to some political parties in their support.

At the forefront of the movement is Democratic Student Organisation (DSO), the student wing of SUCI (Communist). DSO state committee member Debu Sau has vowed that their agitation will continue unless the university authorities accept their two demands -- immediate re-checking of the answer scripts of the unsuccessful candidates and thorough investigation of the reason behind the result fiasco.

Leader of the Left parties in the state assembly, Sujan Chakrabarty, remarked that the poor results of the university this year was because of utter mismanagement as well as allowing ruling party hoodlums to control student’s affairs there. “Now things have gone out of control,” he said.

“Some outsiders encouraged by rival student unions are creating all this trouble. At a time when the state education department is reviewing the situation such agitation is only harming the students,” said Jaya Dutta, state president of Trinamool Congress Chhatra Parishad.

First Published: Jan 31, 2018 12:25 IST