HPU lowers pass marks, teachers upset

SHIMLA:After scrapping the semester system and reverting to the annual one for undergraduate courses in violation of the norms under the Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA), the state government has taken another retrograde step to lower the pass percentage from 45 to 40 per cent.

HPU lowers pass marks, teachers upset

editorial@tribune.com

Bhanu P Lohumi

Tribune News Service

Shimla, June 15

After scrapping the semester system and reverting to the annual one for undergraduate courses in violation of the norms under the Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA), the state government has taken another retrograde step to lower the pass percentage from 45 to 40 per cent.

The university claimed that the move would bring uniformity in the pass percentage between the annual and semester system and that the decision would be implemented with retrospective effect from 2016 and 2017 onwards. The annual system started from 2018.

A notification issued by the university stated that the marks of the practical examination would be kept apart and be counted after a candidate secures 40 per cent in the end semester examination (ESE) and continuous comprehensive assessment (CCA).

However, the criterion of minimum 35 per cent marks in the ESE and the CCA separately has been done away with, implying that 40 per cent aggregate marks in the ESE and the CCA will be sufficient for clearing the exams.

"The step has been taken to bring uniformity in the annual and semester system and will help in resolving the issues related to the examination, result preparation and declaration," HPU Vice-Chancellor Prof Sikander Kumar.

Taking note of the low pass percentage in the undergraduate examination held in 2015, the university had decided to make one-time exception in September 2016 to declare the students “pass” on the basis of combined 45 per cent in internal assessment and end semester examination and made it clear that securing 35 per cent separately in the CCA and the ESE would be mandatory in all exams in the future.

The state government has been claiming that qualitative improvement in education is its priority, but turning volte-face on the issue is intriguing as instead of raising the pass percentage, the university has lowered it.

College teachers are upset over the decision. They said it would seriously affect the quality of education and passouts from the university would not be able to compete with students of other reputed universities.

"The decision has been taken under pressure from the student organisation and teachers will be under immense pressure to manipulate the internal assessment to compensate for lower marks in the ESE," they alleged. A large number of students had failed their mathematics exam in the fifth semester and buckling under the pressure of these students, the university authorities had to reduce the passing marks, which is why the change has been with retrospective effect from 2016-17 onwards.

New criterion

The criterion of minimum 35 per cent marks in the end semester examination (ESE) and the continuous comprehensive assessment (CCA) separately has been done away with, implying that 40 per cent aggregate marks in the ESE and the CCA will be sufficient for clearing the exams.

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