- The concept of college
One of the main attractions of college is that, unlike in school, you can get away with bunking classes. It is in theory that in practice most colleges do not let you sit for your exams if you do not have a minimum percentage of attendance.
- The attendance issues
Mandatory attendance in college has always been a highly debated topic among students. Many students want freedom to choose which classes to attend, while college authorities insist students must attend classes and maintain a basic discipline. The old method that included calling out roll numbers and taking them down on paper has been found to have loopholes for errors as students went for proxy methods. The colleges in Mumbai are about to introduce Radio Frequency Identity Card (RFID) that would be convenient and accurate.
- The rules
The attendance rules are very strictly implemented. Students are sometimes not allowed to give exams because of lack of attendance. If not that, then internal marks are affected. Parents support this wholeheartedly because there is a preconceived notion that quality of a child’s education is directly proportional to the number of classes, he/she attends.
- The problem
The problem arises when you see the actual consequence of this rule. Students do attend more classes, but only because of fear. The actual passion for studying in class is lost. Anything which is forced upon someone will lose its charm. Students don’t come to college because they want to; they come to college because they have to.
The question arises if this rule is really necessary and whether attending classes is really that important in colleges. Let's see -
THE PROS OF MANDATORY ATTENDANCE
- It does affect grades
An hour or a half or a lecture could be helpful no matter how much we try to oppose it. The knowledge that the professors impart to the students can nowhere be compared to the knowledge the students get from reading the books a week prior to the exams. Also, the tricks and day to day examples shared by the professors are always a big boon while preparing for the exams. Not 100%, but at least 60% of what the professors teach can be easily understood by the students if given proper attention.
- Keeps away from bad company
At the start of college life, students are usually full of life and they think that they are all grown up with new freedom. That freedom could easily be misused. They feel that they have ample of time and could end up wasting most, sometimes all of the precious time indulging in useless and sometime harmful activities. This could lead to serious addictive habits too.
- A responsibility
Education in the colleges is not imparted for free. Parents work hard day and night to pay the five figure fees of the college, because they want to give the best there can be for their children. Ruining their efforts by simply bunking lectures is not a way to pay back. It is extremely important to be responsible and attend lectures to keep in track with the study pattern and the important notes that are delivered out in the process.
- A matter of discipline
It's not that the attendance issue is going to be there forever. It is just a matter of 3 or 4 years where the parents invest a lot for their child. Going to college makes the students follow a daily routine. There will no longer be classes and teachers to guide along, once the college is over. This is the part of life that comes with the package of being in college and one must learn to live it. Students learn self-discipline due to mandatory attendance, which will help them in their professional as well as personal life.
- Preparing them for the real world
Enforcing mandatory attendance could actually be treating students as adults. Once students get a job, they would be allowed only a certain amount of vacations and absences. So, this is the way to prepare students for ‘real world’ and reinforce the sense of responsibility. To make sure they get to class, while meeting all their other obligations, students will have to perfect time management skills. Also, In the process of learning how to balance all their responsibilities, students could become better at multi-tasking as well.
THE CONS OF MANDATORY ATTENDANCE
- Earn and Learn
Unnecessary excuse as this may sound to the professors yet it is true that not all students are born with that silver spoon that could pay for the college and other expenses. There are some students in the society that need to work along with attending the college to fight the financial problems of the family. For such students, the mandatory attendance rule becomes difficult to follow. Having a desire to earn for the family and also educated oneself is a very great thought, but remains unsupported due to this rule.
- Teaching method
The main reason for this issue is the scarcity of quality teachers in colleges these days. If a faculty is not good, no one will pay attention even if all the students are forced to attend all the lectures. On the other hand, if a faculty is good then all the students will voluntarily come to the class even if it’s an extra lecture or an optional paper. Contrary to popular opinion, students like to study. They want to learn new things. Students are curious. When a student is forced to attend a lecture, which is given by an incompetent or even a boring lecturer, then the curiosity in him dies. It breeds incompetence as faculties are not worried about the number of students attending their class. They can teach in whatever manner they want to and get away with it.
- Grown ups
By the time students pass out high school, they are grown up and responsible enough to understand what they require from life. As college students and as adults, students should have the right to prioritize their time based on their needs. If Students are mature enough to elect the country’s government, surely, they can decide what lectures to attend and what lectures to bunk.
- No time for extra-curricular activities
The mandatory attendance scheme leaves no time for the students to develop their personalities as individuals. These extra-curricular activities, tech-fests and inter-college competitions are the ways one could gain a good exposure to the real world. Students learn how to deal with different people.
- The old syllabus
The syllabus taught in most of the colleges is very old and has almost 0 practical approach. What makes it boring for the students is the theoretical aspect of education. Listening to one particular person for 60minutes continuously, about some very old technology becomes tedious. 15 lakh engineers graduate every year in India, out of this only 47% of engineers are employable. College curriculum is hardly providing the skills that are required to get employed.
- A choice, not an obligation
Attending college should be a choice and not an obligation. Just attending the lectures for attendance and causing disturbance to the others paying attention is of no use. Those who are interested to learn new things will of course attend the lecture, no matter what percentage of attendance is mandatory.
- Quality of teaching
The mark of a good teacher is to attract students to the class and keeping them engaged for the entire duration of the lecture. Students pay a lot for tuition fees. They don’t need strict rules. They just need a congenial environment to study.
- Practical approach
The syllabus should be designed in such a way that the latest technologies must be also included in it. There should be a practical and interactive approach to impart the knowledge that would make it interesting for the students to study. Also, the lecture time must be reduced because it is not possible for a human being to concentrate on one particular topic for 60 continuous minutes.
- Encouraging students
Relaxation on attendance front would give students opportunity to attend workshops, internships, and extracurricular activities. This would give them chance to develop their life skills. Many colleges excuse absences when students attend and participate in academic events, go on educational tours or similar. This way students could still be able to do extra-curricular activities.
Thus, every coin has two sides. While implementing strict rules regarding attendance could be a way to ensure that students attend the classes and are being evaluated on a regular basis, this could also become troublesome for students. In order to achieve a balance, the implementation of attendance should have relaxations within it for such situations where students are unable to attend the classes regularly due to genuine reasons. Students should have the right to choose which lecture they want to attend and which not. The teaching quality and the syllabus should also be improved, because education is the root cause for a country’s development and it has to always be the best!
If you want to have a brief idea about how to present these points in front of a group, do watch the video-