PRESENT OR ABSENT?

FPJ BureauUpdated: Sunday, June 02, 2019, 08:30 AM IST
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Attendance is an important aspect of college life, especially in Mumbai, where it is linked with exams. What then, can astudent do to balance classes and fun, asks PRITI BOTADKAR

With great power comes great responsibility. The famous words from the film Spiderman. Thats what the new students in college have to realise. They now have the freedom to decide which classes they want to attend, and which they dont and better still, whether they want to go tot college at all! But even then, there are rules. Rules that have been laid down long ago and followed closely, rules that can affect the future if not adhered to.

Whether the new kids on the block like it or not, there are strict attendance rules that have been laid down by the University of Mumbai regarding attendance.

All students are supposed to fill in 75 per cent of the classes. Anything under, and they might be under scrutiny.

’75 per cent is just a number,’says FYBA student Gautam Patel, not willing to reveal his college. ‘Actually, colleges understand the plight of students and allow even as low as 50 per cent attendance,’he adds. All the authorities need to know is the student is sincere.

‘I agree,’chimes in the principal of a well- known city college, who does not want to be named. ‘We are not demons that dance on our studentsheads for trivial matters, attendance however is a serious issue. At our college we allow as low as 40 per cent attendance, but not lower. If a student goes below that mark, s/ he is issued a warning, and asked to remedy that within a week. If that is done, we still let it go, but unfortunately, I have to say, there are some students who couldnt be bothered. It is these students that most colleges want to hold back, since it shows complete disregard, not only for the system but for their future.’Students, however, want to enjoy their freedom, and feel the thrill of bunking classes.

Bunking doesnt only mean having fun with friends, one can also spend time with their seniors catching up on the latest gossip and trends.

Says Aarti Agarwal, a student who got into a prestigious South Mumbai college, ‘Bunking has always been on my schedule, ever since I was in class 10. I know that when I am with a group of friends, the place doesnt matter, we are going to have fun! I want to know how it feels to be watching a movie while somewhere a teacher is teaching your class!’Aadhya Reddy, a senior science student says, ‘Sometimes it gets really frustrating to attend college regularly especially on Thursdays and Fridays when there is no lab work and only theory classes.

Thats when we decide to bunk and take a walk on Marine Drive. It is really tempting, especially during the monsoon. Sometimes, we just chill out at the canteen, and if it is pre- planned, it obviously has to be a new movie. This means that we skip almost five to six days of college in a month, even with the strict rules of our college as we cannot write an exam without appropriate attendance.’In contrast to this, Nikita Rao, another student from a science college says, ‘My attendance is something one would not want to know or talk about. I hardly attend college. I have improved over the years with the warning I have received. Once my parents were called to college yelled at. That is when I started making sure that I am just over the dangerous line, so that they are never called again.’The college authorities are also at a loss on how to handle the situation. ‘We want students to enjoy college life, and study at the same time.

We are not here to be the police, if they behave maturely. You think we like to call parents here and yell at them? At 18, students are allowed to make important choices like marriage and driving, so why should parents go through the ordeal? But sometimes, we have no choice. The defaulters give us one,’says the vice- principal of a suburban college.

Student Tina Dsouza sums it up, ‘After we attain our degree, all we take with us are these few beautiful moments that we

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