Like it or leave it, it's one calendar for all

CHANGE IS GOOD? The common calendar will comprise information on dates related to admissions, examinations, re-opening of classes, evaluation and the announcement of results. PIC FOR REPRESENTATION ONLYStudents seeking admission to various undergraduate courses in the various universities of Karnataka next year are all smiles. The Karnataka State Council for Higher Education’s decision to chalk out a common academic calendar by December-end this year has given both teachers and students a reason to rejoice.

With each university in the state following a different calendar of events, students experienced a number of difficulties. Be it the problem of dates or transfer from one university to another or admission to post-graduate courses, students were always at the mercy of their respective universities and the calendar they followed. In order to address such issues, the Karnataka Government has initiated a common calendar to help the student community. Further, the common calendar will comprise information on dates related to admissions, examinations, re-opening of classes, evaluation and the announcement of results.

According to Higher Education Minister V S Acharya who met the newly constituted council recently, before taking the decision to introduce a common calendar, the government discussed the issue with all the vice-chancellors of the state. He has also stated that the council would release the calendar by December 31. “It helps students who want to apply for admissions in universities or migrate from one university to another,” he has stated.

Welcoming the government’s move, Seshadripuram First Grade College Principal M Prakash said that in the present system each university followed a different calendar of events, which had become a problem, especially at the time of admissions. “Take post-graduate admissions for example. Bangalore University conducts the Post Graduate Common Entrance Test (PGCET), through which students are allotted seats to various colleges affiliated to the university. Students have to submit their final year's marks for the seat selection process. It so happens that in some cases, students wouldn’t even have got their results and end up losing out on admission to the university of their choice. A common calendar will address this issue,” he explained.

Prakash pointed out that this was beneficial to students appearing for various national-level entrance tests and such other competitive exams. “If the dates are announced earlier itself, it will help students in exam preparation. Another advantage of a common academic calendar is that colleges can plan for activities during the vacation period. I always wanted to conduct some academic activities, including projects and research, for students during holidays but somehow couldn’t. A common calendar will help me plan well,” he added.

Sharing similar views, N Ramesh, principal, Reva Institute of Science and Technology, said that once the common calendar was introduced, everything would fall in line. “It will streamline things. With this, students can focus on higher education,” he added.
While NMKRV Degree College Principal V T Vijaylakshmi too welcomed the move, she said that the government should ensure that the calendar of events was implemented properly. “When we are introducing anything new, there are certain aspects we should keep in mind. Implementation should happen with all earnestness and should largely benefit the student community,” she said.

Even as the principals were highlighting the benefits of a common academic calendar, some like Naureen Aziz, HoD of Communicative English, Jyoti Nivas College, felt that the most important benefit of such a calendar was that it helped students socialise better.
“Take college fests for instance. When a college conducts a cultural activity, other college students may or may not attend the programme due to various reasons. If all the colleges have the same calendar of events, then it will bring students together, helping them to develop a network,” she explained.

Further, she said that a common calendar would benefit teachers too as they can plan and organise things better. According to her, before introducing such a calendar, the government should take the opinion of college principals as “they are the ones who take such initiatives forward”.

Some also felt that besides introducing a common academic calendar, the State Government should also contemplate on introducing a common syllabus. “A common syllabus will ensure fair competition,” said M Leelavathi, principal, National Degree College, Basavanagudi.

Voice of the youth

The student community as a whole has welcomed this move. Most of them feel that it helps them in planning and studying better for their course. However, there are some like Aditi Gaitonde, 2nd year, Mass Communication, Christ University, who have their own apprehensions.

“The intention is good. But most autonomous colleges and universities have specialised professional courses which require a different time-table. Also, most universities have a different grading system as well, which requires mid-semester and other regular exams,” she said.

Elaborating further, she said: “It makes sense on one level to have a uniform calendar since all the students will have co-ordinated holidays, fests will not clash with exams and students who want to take a transfer to a different university won’t have to worry much. But, at the same time, universities have a system in place already. At this moment, it’s hard to say what this drastic change will mean to students.”

Even as Kruthika Kamath, a 2nd year Mount Carmel College student said that it was a good idea to have a uniform academic calendar, she said that there could be clashes while declaring holidays. “Some colleges, like ours, observe the Lady Feast. If the government is planning on a common calendar, then they may or may not declare a holiday on Lady Feast. So, if our college has a holiday, other colleges may be functioning,” she said.

For Kavya Balakrishnan, 2nd year, Communicative English, Jyoti Nivas College, it’s all about cultural activities. “When we organise college fests, not all colleges participate because of their exam schedule. A common calendar will solve this problem and ensure good participation in cultural events,” she added. 

 Expert speak

B K Ananthan, vice-chancellor, Rani Chennamma University, Belgaum. He is also former member-secretary, Karnataka State Council for Higher Education.

“Each university announces results at a different point of time. This affects the seat selection process as the final year's marks are required. Some students are also not able to appear for competitive exams because of universities announcing results on different dates. Moreover, migrating from one university to another is a problem. In order to address all these issues, the government has decided to have a common calendar.”

Comments (+)