‘Authoritarian move’: KU’s English department students express resentment over new examination pattern

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Srinagar: Students of the Kashmir University’s English department on Monday expressed resentment over the recent decision taken by the department for their upcoming second and third-semester examinations.

Scores of students, who spoke to Free Press Kashmir, said that ever since they finished their first-semester examination in July, they were attending online classes for the next semester and were expecting the upcoming examinations in the same manner – objective type questions.

However, after month-long “examination-oriented” online classes, the department has informed the students that there will be a descriptive as well as objective type questions in the examinations. Unhappy with the decision, the students have termed the move “authoritarian” and demanded immediate changes in the structure.

They said that despite the COVID outbreak and its effects on the world’s education sector causing immense problems to the student community, the department is playing with the careers of the students by teaching in one method and taking the examination in another.

Expressing anger, students said that when they tried to ask the same to their concerned department they were strictly told not to talk about it and called it a “final decision” from the department.

“Teachers have not taught us thoroughly as they were also under the impression that the pattern would be objective type and now when the examination is nearer, the department has abruptly added descriptive part to it,” said one of the students from north Kashmir.

Regretting his decision of taking admission in the department, the student said that the pattern prescribed for them is far from how they were taught in class.

Another student from Srinagar said that most of the students do not have laptops and have typing issues as well.

“Is it even possible to write 2,000 words on phone in 120 minutes,” she asked. “We are humans, not machines.”

She added that if other departments of the university are conducting the examination via MCQs why are the authorities of English department stringent upon their “dictatorial decisions”.

Terming the move “an iron fist policy”, students lamented that if the department is continuing with the same pattern then none of them can even attempt passing marks. “If anyone fails the blame would go only on the department,” they said.

As decided by the university, “for 4 credit paper, the online descriptive paper shall comprise of 8 short type questions, each short type shall be answered in 250 words and number of MCQ’s in the objective paper of a 4 credit course shall be 22.”

“For 2 credit course, the descriptive paper shall comprise of 4 short type questions each to be answered in 250 words and the number of MCQ’s for 2 credit course shall be 15 and the time for both the papers have to be given 120 minutes.”

The anguished students said that “by not paying heed to their genuine demands, the department is showing its insensitiveness towards the issue and deliberately putting their career at stake.

In this regard, when Free Press Kashmir, spoke to HoD English department at University of Kashmir, Lily Want, she said that the department has taken the decision for the future of the students.

“Priorly, students had resorted to unfair means during the exams, scoring unprecedented 72 or 73 out of 80. Hence, the department eliminated the method of MCQs and brought short type answers format,” she said.

“The format is 250 words per answer, which should not cause problems for the students. Besides, they have to justify their Master’s degree,” she added.


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