ATTENDANCE. Just hearing the word brings back the nightmares, doesn’t it? Some of you might be running behind professors to beg for the minimum attendance percent even now. One of the worst worries in college has to be about ensuring you have the required attendance percentage for every subject there is. In a lot of Universities, 75% attendance is mandatory to write the End Semester Exams. Some universities go a step further and grant marks on the basis of their attendance percentage as well. 90% or above grants you that 5 extra marks which can affect your overall grade.
We have always been told that as the level of education becomes higher, the role of the teacher becomes less significant. The teacher acts as merely a facilitator at least from the Undergraduate level. Or let’s say that’s what is expected. This is the reason why most teachers discuss only certain portions from the syllabus and leave it to us to fill the gaps. Because in a University, you are expected to learn yourself as opposed to someone literally spelling it out for you like in primary classes. And there’s no way a teacher can cover the vast ocean of syllabus even if they had to.
When you consider this concept, the whole point of the attendance system seems fruitless. When you have reached a point in your education where it’s necessary that you have to teach yourself, what is the point of this mandatory attendance? The only legitimate reason for attending a class should be if you find the class interesting or actually want to attend the class. While pursuing a degree, students opt for subjects that they are interested in or are passionate about. So there’s a high chance, the student is familiar with the concepts that are being discussed in a class. He/she could use this time to dwell deeper on the subject and cover advanced topics. Under such circumstances, making it compulsory for a student to attend the class seems like a complete waste of time. This time could very well be utilized to complete assignments or research on other topics, develop a new skill or for just taking rest.
Another point we have to keep in mind is that from the University level, most students are legally adults. So forcing these young adults to attend classes they don’t want to in the pretense of apparently developing ‘punctuality’ and ‘discipline’ is ridiculous. The age to develop these values are long past. Most of the students would have already moulded a personality for themselves. Any discipline or punctuality that we see in them comes from within at this point. Also, attending a particular class cannot be a determinant of a person’s punctuality or discipline. He/she could have prioritized their time into something they feel is more beneficiary and productive than an hour of class just for the sake of attendance.
Dismissing the whole attendance system can be beneficial to the professors as well. In each classroom, there would be a certain number of people who are least interested in the class. In some cases, they can prove to be a nuisance as well, whether it’s because of them talking amongst themselves or snoring loudly or chewing gum or just giving out negative energy to the whole room. When the attendance system in non-existent, these troublemakers will not attend the class in the first place. The Professor will have a room with just the interested students. Needless to say, the ambience of the classroom would be exponentially better compared to the previous scenario. Also, it saves the Professor’s time as well. They do not have to waste their precious time taking roll call or filling up the attendance database when they could be teaching the class or completing their work.
Most importantly we are entrusting the students with the responsibility of deciding whether to attend a class or not and hence of their academic performance. They are left to decide whether it’s better for them to attend a particular class or learn it on their own. Since each student is different and has a different method of learning, providing them with such a choice can bring in a huge impact in their academics. It is high time the Universities take a long hard look at these systems and restructure them considering what is best for the students.