As a student of journalism and a future journalist I would be mirroring the needs, aspirations and plight of the society. However, being driven to college every morning to meet the attendance requirement as a prime motivation makes me feel like a donkey. Led to the desired destination by a hanging carrot, the striking similarity of the situation and makes it highly demeaning. The 75% minimum attendance requirement for 'Journalism Hons.' in Delhi University hangs on our head like a double edged sword. Did the authorities get confused between minimum and maximum? By what standards is 75% minimum?
It's almost like we are sleep walking. We go to college because... uh, to get education. Why? Didn't you get enough education in your 12 years at school? Well, but that's what people do after high school. You need to go to college to get a good job (good job= great money = fabulous life style)and you need attendance, both in tutorials and lectures to take University Examinations and to be eligible for promotion to the next class. All those required classes are just obstacles one has to climb over to get the highly solicited degree.
For most students, college is somewhere between a stepping stone and the first taste of freedom. The reasons for not attending classes can range from, a genuine family emergency, a test in another class, time out for recovering from a bad breakup, an incomplete assignment, a beckoning PlayStation, a sudden urge to play Frisbee or even a hangover from the night before or because of your hatred for the class with every ounce of your being.
Coming back to the issue, is attendance the most convenient thing you can do to succeed? And is the lack of attendance the single easiest thing you can do to fail? Or is attendance just another innovative whip in the hands of faculty to bring wayward students on track? I am not against attending classes or the attendance rules requiring students to attend a particular number of classes. I agree that a certain amount of discipline is required but what's the point of attending lectures of the courses which have only instrumental value? All you need to pass these courses are a couple of reference books and notes which have been and are being passed to us by the seniors year after year like some sacred legacy.
In such a scenario caring about the course content or attending classes where the lecturer will dictate the same notes which he gave last year and last to last year and the year prior to that, well seem like wasted effort. Rather than making a grand show of attending classes of the courses which any student with an average IQ can handle on his or her own wouldn't it be better to attend various seminars, film festivals, workshops etc. instead which would help in the over all personality development of the students and equip them with practical knowledge required to handle real life situations.
Skills like original thinking, problem solving, critical ability, creativity, thinking out of the box, handling people etc and experience can't be taught by a lecturer reading out from his/her notes. What's the point of forcing some rules on students just so that the lecturer has a decent number dozing in his class that he can boast? Laying so much interest on attendance makes the entire system attendance centric rather than education centric thus defeating the entire purpose.
Apart from being shameful, using attendance as a stick to rear students to college manifests the shortsightedness of the authorities. These rules will only ensure physical attendance of students in class while they happily sketch cartoons, make graffiti, exchange texts, read the latest bestseller or chick let or just catch up on sleep… waking up occasionally to pretend to be taking copious notes. Let's face it; students will study when they want to study. If authorities really want the students to attend college, they need to look beyond attendance and should try to give the education system the much needed make over.
P.S: Is anybody listening?