In what seems to be a new low, not even half the students who join the postgraduate course in the illustrious Physics department of Bangalore University manage to pass.
In the academic session 2015-16, only 40% students have managed to pass the examination. This is said to be the lowest percentage among all the postgraduate courses at the Bangalore University. These details were putforth by the university's latest annual quality assurance report.
However, the administrators have come up with a very interesting idea to give students a simple question paper to improve the pass percentage!
"Most students come from rural areas like Kolar, Srinivasapura, Gauribidanur and so on.Some can't speak proper Kannada, let alone English. They aren't trained properly in their undergraduate colleges," BU physics chairperson Ramakrishna Damle said. "It's a social problem."
This year, Damle said, question papers will be framed in such a manner that students will find it easy to pass but tough to score high. At least five other postgraduate courses including chemistry, electronic science, human consciousness and yogic sciences, architecture and statistics have a low pass percentage.
"The quality of students joining postgraduate courses is bad. Students with the best talent join engineering or medicine after pre-university while the rest join BSc. The problem here is that the BSc in most undergraduate colleges is not good. Until this is fixed, nothing can be done at the postgraduate level," said M Prakash, director of studies at Seshadripuram Educational Trust.
"We have a heterogeneous combination of students," ViceChancellor B Thimme Gowda said. "The difficulty level of a question paper has to increase step by step." The norm in question paper setting, he said, is that 40 per cent of questions should be generic and easy . The next 20-30 per cent questions should be a little more difficult. The last set of questions must be so difficult that only the exemplary students can answer."We need balanced question papers keeping in mind difficulty levels students can handle."
For MS Santosh, an associate professor at the Centre for Incubation, Innovation, Research and Consultancy, this is not a problem of question papers. "The syllabus is too vast and valuation is erratic. There is no proper blueprint with which they evaluate students," said Santosh, a former chemistry department head in a city college.
Serial entrepreneur H Karan Kumar, a former BU academic council member, pointed out that the Visvesvaraya Technological University simplified its question papers in 2004 to improve pass percentages. "So an engineering graduate with 70 per cent is equal to one with 50 per cent marks."