The Minimum Attendance Requirement
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.
The problem is that not all students who bunk their classes spend the time learning new stuff. Most waste their time doing well….. useless things. Now, there more of this kind of students than those who spend their spare time actually doing something creative. So, the universities/colleges have made attendance mandatory.
But I do agree that some teachers are really boring and take out the enthusiasm of learning the subject that they teach and to be frank, they should be replaced.
The reason why students waste time instead of doing productive things is: They’re not interested. Interest is the main factor which is to be brought into the students by teachers.
Seems like a hastily written post out of sheer emotive response that does bring some points to the table, however I have some questions to ask on this regard. As you pointed out that most of these faculties are not on the profession by choice but because they couldn’t secure a job in their respective industries, what about the students who are also studying Engineering not due to their inherent love for the subject but because they have a delusion that they’ll secure a concrete future if they study Engineering? How many of these students are really interested in studying to satiate their curiosity and not because it’s just a tool on their ladder to a secure future with steady salaries and a family? I doubt that number is curiously high, because it is not. And to claim that a lesser attendance requirement creates great engineers out of them is ridiculous as one becomes a great engineer because (s)he loves what (s)he’s doing, works hard on it and that in turn brings out new gamechanging ideas out of them. Unfortunately, the folks out there to lead a ‘cool n stable’ life out of an engineering job doesn’t belong to that category. Talking about your example and our previous interactions, you don’t belong to that crop of people, you love your subject and create things. I understand how the attendance restriction is wrecking havoc in your college experience but you are just an exception who got hit by the rule. Your idea of having a low attendance level or no attendance restriction at all works in an ideal world where everyone is doing/studying what they love or knows that they better be doing in certain time to come up with new ideas. Unfortunately, that’s an unaffordable utopia.
TL;DR – Lowering the attendance level will just increase the chaos as most of the students are not there because they love to do what they’re doing. It’s sad but they appear just like a flock of goats that is in dire need of herding.
Coming to matters of ‘more’ importance, your name is not Rajnikanth, it’s Nilukanth. And you might have kept the self promotion extravaganza to more subtle levels, we know you rock in computing. I even give you as an example for a mind-blowing brilliant computer wizard when I talk about computing with my classmates who kinda worships me for my computing skills.
Albeit, you didn’t read the post properly. It’s the task of the teachers to create interest in the subject.
Whatever you learn, definitely has a motive — and the hard fact is, we all learn things for one objective: Money.
Before I took the C programming class in 2007, courtesy mom who forced me to go there and in which I was absolutely not interested, because at that time all I did on the computer was play games like any other kid would do.
The C programming class induced interest in me and it’s the sole reason why I’m a geek today.
If the teacher is able to create interest in the student to learn the subject — like I said earlier, there’s a curious kid inside every human being, one just needs to bring out the curiosity and everything else will make it’s way.
And in order to create interest in the student, the teacher themselves must be dedicated.
There are two rules to success in life: Either you do whatever you like, or you like whatever you do.
The task of the teachers is to create interests in the subject, provided that the student will reciprocate. The way you’re putting it for teachers is like a perfect teacher can make any student interested in any subject. That’s virtually impossible, as I told you before that your idea needs a utopian setting. For your example, you had the latent talent for programming which only came forward because your mom forced you to take that course. You’ll thank the teacher who taught you for seeding the interest of programming in you, right? Therefore, he was a successful teacher, wasn’t he? But tell me, did all those student who joined that C course are doing programming now? Definitely not, that’s impossible. But does that mean the teacher failed to sow interests for programming on those other students? That’s just a partial answer to the problem. What about the student who wasn’t just interested and couldn’t be made interested even after those efforts from the teacher? It will be unjustified if you put all the blames on the teacher who was indeed a good one as evident from your description. Let me give you my example, I love Physics, and I am always curious about various aspects of physical phenomena regardless of the things taught in the class. It is possible, for example, that in one semester all of the courses being taught are taken by ‘apathetic’ faculties but that won’t take away my general interest from Physics. But there are several students in my own class who couldn’t care less about the ‘love’ for Physics, they sit in the class, attend lectures, study hard to acquire marks (some don’t even do that) and pass the paper. Now if you claim these students are just results of ‘apathetic’ faculties not being caring enough for their students then that will just be grossly overstated. These are just misplaced people landed on the class being compelled, and they don’t care as long as it gives them a secure future.
My original point remains, most of the students are not at all interested in the topic, irrespective of the things that are being taught in the class. Definitely, there is a curious kid inside everyone but the point of curiosity may not be same as the subject (s)he is being taught. It is also the duty of a responsible student to reciprocate the interest just like a responsible teacher.