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35,000 students join BUCTU protest

The signature campaign protests Mumbai University’s implementation of the credit-based semester system and high fee charged for re-examination

Almost 35,000 students from Mumbai, Thane, Raigad, Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg have submitted their signatures to Bombay University and College Teachers’ Union (BUCTU), which will be presented to the University of Mumbai. Teachers and students feel that the credit-based grading system of 60/40 affects them adversely and violates the academic calendar. Teachers feel that the financial burden on students has increased as examination fee is charged per semester and re-appearing even for a single examination would mean that the student will have to shell out the fee for the entire semester. The rule of internal marks has made internal assessment a farcical exercise, feels the BUCTU.


Members of the Bombay University and College Teachers’ Union (BUCTU) protest at Mumbai University, Fort

Students of Bhavan’s college, Andheri, initiated the signature campaign against the credit-based grading system. Later, it spread to several colleges. Students who couldn’t participate in the agitation organised by BUCTU submitted their signatures to their teachers, who are also BUCTU members.

The BUCTU’s demands are as follows
a) Only one mid-term test or one assignment should be conducted each semester followed by the semester examination.
b) The per semester fee for additional examination should be drastically reduced.
c) The rule for scaling down internal marks should be scrapped.
d) Grievance committee meetings should be held more frequently and new cases should be taken up immediately.

A detailed memorandum was submitted to the Vice Chancellor (VC), Rajan Welukar, on February 4, but the BUCTU was informed that the VC could meet them, and that the Pro-VC would be available. But the union has decided not to meet the Pro-VC and given the VC a week to meet them to resolve the issues or face a more intense agitation.

CR Sadasivan, President of BUCTU said, “The BUCTU opposes the credit-based grading system because it is ad-hoc. The Mumbai University has conducted an experiment without taking the students’ ground reality into account. We understand that the credit-based grading system is the future of evaluation and assessment, but will support it if is well-thought-out.

However, that requires a class strength of 40-60 students and the teacher should have more then 200 students per assessment. However, we have several thousands of students assigned to each teacher. So, this credit-based grading system is a mockery of the system. Before its implementation, the Vice Chancellor should have informed the government that the entire academic system will need to be taken into consideration. We can introduce this system only at the First Year degree level where the class strength is small.”

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