One day, I was studying for one of my exams, and this thought came to my mind – Why do colleges keep the minimum required attendance level so high? The first answer that comes to anyone’s mind is: Because students bunk classes.
Okay, but why do students bunk classes?
The reason is simple: Because the lectures are boring. The hard fact is, very few people take up teaching out of dedication. Most of the people are those who for some reasons, could not get a job in their industry and are in the teaching job.
My college specifies a minimum attendance requirement of 75%. And this is almost same across major colleges in India. I don’t know what’s the case in IITs, NITs, etc. I have a few friends from those but nobody ever complained about attendance.
So I guess the attendance requirement is lesser, in the favor of student in those colleges. The lesser attendance requirement is what, I believe creates great engineers out of those. No, I don’t say that lectures are not important or something, but inside every human being there is a curious child: one who loves to learn new things and do new things. If you give time to the person to do things by self, I’m quite sure everyone will come up with something good.
If you have read my About page, I know a lot related to computers. Nearly none of my friends know as much as I know. I even have a nickname Rajnikanth, because apparently I do extraordinary things which is not possible by anyone! The truth is, I know much lesser than what super geeks know for example. There are so many people I know, online who are way more knowledgible than me. That’s my standard, but according to my friends’ standards, I’m Rajnikanth. The bigger question is, how do I know so much? It’s simple: curiosity. I took a programming class way back in 2007 during summer holidays of school, which created the whole interest about computers in me. Then I came to know about how to make websites and all, and kept on learning things. How? Google. Google. Google.
If the bar of minimum attendance is reduced, students will get more time to do things they like, which eventually could turn up into a successful startup. In order to ensure that students do attend lectures: improve teachers. Improve the way they teach, make it interesting to sit in the lecture. Lectures should not be times when you sleep, but you actively learn something.
In the present scenario, 99% of the lectures very boring. This creates an impression in student’s mind that the subject itself is boring and hence the apocalypse.
One simple real experience by me: A subject’s lecturer in my college was really good. He used teach very well. And there was this another teacher who used to bore a lot; but the subject was very interesting, which I unfortunately realized very late when I opened the book during exams. I had read the book on the former subject a couple of times and I have relatively good knowledge in the same; not so in the other. Why this happened? The professors. The professor who could teach well created interest in me to read and learn more about the subject, while the other one failed to do so. Additionally, at the end of semester, I had attendance issues with the subject whose professor was boring and I had attended 100% in the former.
So, from the example above, it’s pretty clear that it’s in the hand of the professor to create interest in the student to read and learn more about the subject. If the professor fails to do so, the student bunks classes and otherwise, willingly attends the classes.
The simplest solution to this problem is one single thing: improve teachers and change the way subjects are taught. Make it interesting. One big reason I see why we don’t have good teachers in India is: A teacher’s job is relatively lesser paid than a job the person might get in industry. This nees to change. Seriously.
If the payment to teachers is increased, more and more better qualified people will take up teaching as job themselves, instead of being forced due to circumstances. And when we have better teachers, students will bunk lesser number of classes. You won’t even need to keep the attendance requirement to 75%, somewhere around 40% could do great. Nearly every student will have more than 60% attendance, subject to two conditions: The teachers are good and the lectures are interesting.