Monday, October 18, 2010


There is a perception prevalent amongst academicians that the standards of learning and teaching are declining significantly due to many social and other factors. Though the knowledge content in to day's text books is much higher than what it was a generation ago, the personality development amongst the present generation youngsters is not holistic with specialization becoming increasingly narrower. Added to this the examination and evaluation system depends more on mugging up text book knowledge for reproduction in the answer books for scoring high marks. The quality of the teaching community also contributes to this continuing decline. The recent revelation that one of the Universities in the country indulged in mass promotion or passing in the public examination is a shameful incidence. Here is a take on this news report.

"In a gross violation of the Medical Council of India (MCI) Act, the Tamil Nadu Dr MGR Medical University has admitted that it granted as much as 45 marks as grace for students who appeared for a supplementary examination in February 2009. A university committee granted all students, who failed the first year exam, 35 grace marks for anatomy and biochemistry and 10 grace marks for physiology. Number of students who passed the exams after this shower of largesse rose from 81 to 161. The MCI rules state that grace marks up to a maximum of five marks may be awarded at the discretion of the university to a student who has failed only in one subject (Percentage required for passing is 50). The rule is intended to make education rigorous and uphold quality in medical training, say senior doctors. But the university, in a reply to questions under the Right to Information Act, has now admitted that in each of the exams it conducted for different batches of MBBS students between February 2007 and August 2009, it granted between ten and 45 marks. As a result, number of MBBS students who passed the exam per batch after such revision in marks was between 20 to 540. In the same period, the university also granted between 8 and 25 marks to students who appeared for BDS exams (Dental Council of India also does not permit universities to grant more than five grace marks), which helped upto 458 students per batch to pass with high grace marks".

While it is understandable for "run of the mill" private institutions run for profits indulging in such unjustifiable practices for boosting their reputation, though it cannot be condoned, why should a medical university do such an abominable thing is beyond any boy's comprehension. Already eligibility levels for admission to medical courses are diluted for considerations other than merit, adding grace marks "whole sale" is an unconscionable action deserving condemnation. Imagine the luck of a candidate who scored 50 marks for passing after getting 45 marks as grace! How can the university add 45 marks to that student who must have scored only 5 marks in the subject? What kind of physicians are being produced in the country who are supposed to bring solace and relief to millions of patients suffering from a variety of ailments?. Can this country afford to ignore such distortions in medical education? What happens if such practices are resorted to by IIMs and IITs in future to turn out "super" brilliant graduates by adding high grace marks? It is time this country wakes up to the deteriorating "climate" of education and corrects them before it becomes too late.


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