Deprived of payment for evaluating answer sheets, a number of teachers have stopped turning up for evaluation camps.

They are playing with our future Btech students of Kerala Uni fume over delay in results
news Education Friday, June 28, 2019 - 14:38

23-year-old Kiran* (name changed) had got done with his 4 year Btech course in Electronics and Communications from a college in Thiruvananthapuram in May 2018. Kiran’s dreams of pursuing an MBA degree after securing a Btech came to a halt after he failed to clear a paper in his final semester.

“If it was in any other University, I could have written the supplementary examination within two to three months following the main examinations, cleared the paper and would have moved forward with my life. But Kerala University doesn’t care for the students apparently,” a frustrated Kiran, who refers to himself as an “almost engineer” tells TNM. Following his semester 8 examinations in June 2018, Kiran had to wait for another 8 months, to get an opportunity to appear for a re-examination. To make matters worse, 5 months after he took the arrear, he is yet to receive the results. And this is the same story with many other students.

In February this year, TNM had reported on how the delay in conducting arrears and publishing results were holding back the engineering students of Kerala University. The students and even some of the officials of the University point out that the main reason behind this inconvenience was the shifting of all engineering courses in the state from Kerala University to the Kerala Technological University (KTU) in 2015.

Lack of staff to evaluate papers

The engineering stream teachers, who previously worked under Kerala University, now work under KTU. This meant that, on top of teaching and evaluating the students of KTU, the teachers also had to take time off to conduct and evaluate the arrears of the remaining engineering students of Kerala University.

When the teachers belonged to Kerala University, the process of evaluating the papers was “part of duty”. Hence, they did not have to be paid separately. But once, they were shifted under the KTU, evaluating the papers of Kerala University students were not part of their job and they had to do it on top of their work under KTU, because of which they were supposed to get paid. 

But when they were deprived of payment for evaluation, a number of teachers stopped turning up for evaluation camps, which lead to a delay in publishing results.

Holding back students

“It’s not the question of whether we studied well or not. It’s about the University not doing what they are supposed to,” says Vishal, a Btech student of the 2013-17 batch of the Kerala University, who is still awaiting his semester 8 results which he had written in February this year. “As per the University, we are supposed to get 2 chances to write an arrear of one semester in an academic year but now, we are getting only a single chance. I wrote two arrears from my semester 8 this February and I’m sure that I will fail in one of them. Now, I have to wait for another year to get an opportunity to write this exam,” lashes out Vishal.

It’s not just the delay in publishing the exam results that is leaving the students helpless but also the lack of a “proper schedule”. Students complain that they do not have any idea when the University is going to conduct the examinations. “We have to check the newspaper everyday and sometimes we see the news that the arrears will take place in just a couple of weeks,” says a student, who does not wish to be named for fear of backlash from the University for “calling them out”.

He goes on to add that when the University finally announces the dates for the exams, all the arrears are held together, making it difficult for them to prepare for the papers.

Back in February this year, another student had told TNM that those who plan to pursue higher studies are affected the most because of the delays. “Many students who have completed their final semester examinations as well as given the CAT have not been able to join the MBA course because the final semester results didn’t come on time. Forget the people who have backlogs. Even the ones who pass their exams on time are suffering."

Officials speak

The explanation given by both the office of the Higher Education Ministry and the COE’s office of the Kerala University regarding the matter was less than satisfactory. 

“It is the University that has to do something regarding this and the Government can only tell them, since they are an autonomous body,” said Dr K Sherafuddeen, the Private Secretary to KT Jaleel, Minister for Higher Education. 

Admitting to the fact that the ministry has been receiving several complaints from the students, Sherafuddeen stated that they will look into the matter but also emphasised on the fact that if some action has to be taken, it has to be done by the University itself. 

When TNM approached the COE’s office, an official who refused to be identified said that the University has taken measures to pay the remuneration to KTU staff to evaluate papers and ensure that the results of the examinations held in February this year will be published by the end of June.

Reacting to this statement, students claim that the University had earlier promised that the results would be published in April this year, then said it would come by May. 

Chat groups on Telegram and WhatsApp

The anger and disappointment among the students is fast spreading with voice recordings and messages being circulated through various student’s groups in Telegram and WhatsApp.

“There are many students who can afford to relax and walk away from this field even if they don’t have the degree but that's not the case with hundreds of us who have formed a group to raise this issue against the university. We are from economically backward families and for us, we are desperate for an engineering degree. I just had to clear one paper to get a job but now I have to wait another year to write that exam. There are many like me,” says Vishal.

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