Ahmedabad: The students of St. Xavier’s College, Ahmedabad (Autonomous) were in for a shock when they were informed by the college that the students who were retained for a semester because of their poor attendance will now have to repeat the entire academic year. It was a new-fangled decision for the students since in the earlier years, students who were retained due to poor attendance used to clear their backlogs by appearing for the examinations in the next appropriate semester.

According to the earlier rule, if a student gets retained due to attendance lesser than 75 percent in the first semester, he\she was expected to clear the examination in the third semester. But the new rule states that the student will not be promoted to the third semester unless he\she has cleared the entire backlog of the earlier semester by the end of the second semester.

This decision was executed by the autonomous college St. Xavier’s on July 18, 2018. The retained students were acknowledged about this decision after more than a month after they had started their following semester. They had received their ID cards for the following semester and had also selected their subjects in the online portal of the college. Even the prospectus for the year 2018-19 of St. Xavier’s college doesn’t carry this information. It continues to state – ‘A student whose attendance is less than 75 percent will be retained. He\She will have to take the internal (CIA-2) as well as the semester end examination in the next appropriate semester.’

A similar decision taken by the Gujarat University (GU) on February 16, 2017 for the academic year 2017-18, where GU had decided to hold corrective examinations twice a year for all semesters to facilitate the students to clear the subjects they failed in, either due to failure to clear the exams or for not being allowed to appear for their examinations due to low attendance. GU had claimed that the decision will be helpful in improving students’ attitude towards education.

A student of St. Xavier’s, on the condition of anonymity, said, “I’m deeply tensed due to this situation which came into light overnight. Repeating an entire academic year only because I was short by 5 percent of the required attendance is very difficult to comprehend for me. Two days earlier I was assured that I will be clearing my examinations during my on-going semester and now, I feel helpless. I hope that the college will take into consideration the situation we are facing and be transparent with us about the issue. I hope, I, as a student of St. Xavier’s will not regret my decision of studying here.”

A group of students had on Monday morning met the college principal Dr (Fr) Robert Arockiasamy and then Dr Sebastian Vadakan to raise the impracticability of this new rule that has been passed without information until confrontation to the management. Fearing any untoward incident from the side of the students, the management had even called up the police to the campus in advance. No professor or anyone from the management is ready to divulge any details on this issue.

Earlier this year, to ensure that the students will have minimum attendance, the college had started the practice of informing the parents if the students did not have the minimum required the attendance of the 75 percent in class.