EDITORIAL: There is an Exception to Every Rule: Let Sonia Take her Exams

Despite the fact I had made an announcement on Tuesday, March 15, saying that we will be on hiatus and will not be publishing anything new till our break was over: I, however, find myself obligated to break my word.

Because as it is with all rules, there are times when we have to make an exception.

And what could be so important for which I felt the need to come out of hiatus and publish this editorial you may ask.

Well, it’s because of the article I read the other day titled, “On dialysis, she missed classes, Jamia says can’t write exam” published in the Indian Express on March 15, 2011. [Link]

According to the article, a Jamia Mass Media student by the name of Sonia (no last name provided) has been denied to take her final exams in April. And as you might have already guessed, the reason for it is class attendance.

Sonia has very little class attendance to show. And as we are all aware, we need 75% class attendance to get a hall ticket to take our exams.

However, Sonia’s case is not that simple and straightforward.

Again, according to the article, Sonia is suffering from kidney failure and has to get a dialysis done at a hospital twice a week. For those who don’t know, a patient suffering from kidney failure has to get dialysis done in order to live. It’s not something you can simply walk it off.

But before I say anything further, let me just be clear that I’m in total support of our university’s attendance policy. Even 75% sounds reasonable to me.

Class participation, I believe, is an integral part of university education; regardless of how good you maybe on your own.

I believe school education is not just about passing some examination. It is a lot more than that. I believe, it is about developing the skill to critically form and put forward a convincing viewpoint on a subject or a topic through discussion. We learn just by talking about something. And this kind of learning is something we cannot do by reading books.

So for me, to have a rich and meaningful school education, I need my class mates to be there with me in class when a topic is being taught or discussed. And this is why some schools have points for class participation in the overall grade.

And I will go to the extent of saying: that for this reason alone, it becomes a moral obligation for a student to attend class. Because her attendance in class is not just for her sake, but for the sake of others as well.

So I’ll say this again as clearly as possible: I whole heartedly support Jamia’s attendance policy.

That said: Jamia barring Sonia from taking her final exams due to a shortage in class attendance is not just an unreasonable act, but an unconscionable one. How insensitive can we be to her plight.

The girl’s request is to be allowed to take the test; the request is not to grant her a passing certificate without having to prove her capability.

The basic idea behind rules and regulations I believe, is to create order in a system, and at the heart of every rule or law lies our notion of fairness and justice.

We require class attendance because we believe it is a just demand from a regular student. But when the same rule is applied to a student who clearly has a very good reason to be exempted from such a rule, our imposition of this rule becomes unjust. It goes against the very spirit of the rule.

Instead of punishing her for the unfortunate condition she finds herself in, we ought to commend her for finding the courage to go on with her life. How many of us would have the fortitude to go on with our lives if we were to find ourselves in her shoes? I for one, would not have the necessary drive to continue with my education. It would be the furthest thing from my mind.

So I request the university to let Sonia take her final exams.

It is the — least — we can do for her.

About Khalid Jaleel

Khalid Jaleel is a PhD student in the Department of Political Science. He can be reached via email at: khalidj [at] jamiajournal.com

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  1. I also support the 75% requirement for the attedence, as i m seeing myself if this condition is not there, hardly 20% of the students will come. Khalid is right in his view on the participation and all other things but somethings that he had missed i need to draw your attention towards it.
    This policy show the weakness of the education and curricular system system of Jamia and other university. In the west there is no such policy for compulsory attendance. But still in the west one can easily find nearly 100% attendance of students. Here in jamia no one want to attend the class, beacause of the bad quality of education, cheap and cramp infrastructure. So first jamia has to upgrade the quality of education and most importantly the level of teaching, there are lot of teacher in jamia who hold the Ph.D degree but dont know how to teach. So students find is waste of their time and energy to attend the class of those teachers who dont know anything and dont know how to teach. If a student complain of this, he/she will be punished in the final examination. So in the end the students are forced to accept the poor teacher. This is not acceptable in the democratic society. For this reason students dont want to attend the class and don’t want to come to the college. I think a private coaching center will fare well in the terms of education quality as compared to jamia.
    So for all sake jamia university is forced to make the provison of compulsory attendence of 75%. So in jamia no one is coming for knowledge and learning, they all come for attendence. As it happening for all the universities. That is a very very sad state of thing.
    So first of all jamia admin had to look in the aspect of poor quality of teaching and sack those teacher who dont perform their duties and unable to perform thier duties. Teacher and admin also have the responsiblity which they are not fullfilling. If teacher become fully resonsible then university will not have this rule of compusory attendence policy.

    And in the case of Sonia, that she is not been able to give her examination, it is only beacause of the red tapism and the babuism only. Her case has to seen as the genuine case not the regular fraud one.

  2. @khalid jaleel. Rightly said their is exception to every rule.
    like in the case of two pregnant women from faculty of law ,DU, the Delhi High Court has suggested that Delhi University and Bar Council of India (BCI) frame rules allowing relaxation of attendance norms for students missing classes due to pregnancy. Reminding the two institutions that ‘‘society today is changing at a rapid pace and we must be in tune with the realities’’,
    The court went a step ahead and said that pregnancies of single women should also be treated sympathetically by educational institutions as far as attendance is concerned. ‘‘
    The same case is of Sonia who had to go under so much trouble during her dialysis.
    Law is never blind, it can never be, or else it is not law but arbitrariness. The cold response of the university shows the incompetence of it’s administration in handling unexpected circumstances therefore lacking in farsightedness.

  3. ya @sahil i call it babuism and redtapism.
    For ur info law in blind.

  4. mr has turned diplomatic, very diplomatic well done

  5. Rules can be bended, and in Jamia’s case, nearly ALWAYS! The thing is that the 75% attendance thing is a LAW, passed by the High Court and nothing can be done about it! NAjeeb Jung doesnt really have a say in S’s matter.
    The thing thats unfortunate for S is that she has no relatives or ‘sources’ in Jamia, had she had even a few, the fact that she wasnt in the class the whole year would have gone unnoticed.

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