THERE’S something amiss in Delhi University’s department of physics and astrophysics. In what has turned out to be a reason for serious concern, one of four students in the first- year batch of MSc Physics has failed the final exam held this year.
Seventy of the 268 first- year students — almost 26 per cent — have not been promoted to the third semester ( second year), according to the results declared on August 6. But what’s more worrying is the fact that this is not the first time the batch has performed so poorly in the semester exam.
Last year, not one of the 268 students cleared the first semester exam held around December. Under the semester system followed in the department, each academic year comprises two semesters, each spanning over six months.
An exam is held at the end of each semester. An officer from the DU examination section said: “ Who would have attended the second semester classes when not even one student had managed to meet the criteria to get promoted from the first to second semester? The department was in a fix and so an exception was made by changing the promotion criteria all together.” That apparently did not help, as the batch recorded a failure rate of over 25 per cent in the final examination.
According to the students, nothing will change until the department mends its lackadaisical ways.
“The teachers are never clued in as to what is happening in the department. There seems to be a communication gap between the faculty and university. Would you believe none of us was informed about the promotion criteria at the time of the first and second semester exam?” a second- year MSc Physics student said.
The failed students claim none of them knows on what basis he/ she has been failed as the university has not provided a break up of marks yet.
One of the students who failed his first- year exam said: “ Students are bound to fail. What is taught in the classroom and what is asked in the exam is worlds apart. Our papers are much more difficult than what the teachers prepare us for.” However, the head of department, D. S. Kulshreshtha, says the fault lies elsewhere.
“ The quality of students being admitted is not good as we have no minimum cut- off marks for those taken in through the entrance exam,” he said.
Students seeking admission to the MSc physics programme are admitted by the Faculty of Sciences. While 50 per cent seats are filled up on the basis of undergraduate marks, the rest are filled up on the basis of an entrance test.
The head of the department said most students don’t have an aptitude for physics.
“ Our intake capacity has increased over the last three years under the OBC expansion. To fill up the increased seats, we have been admitting students who have scored even below 20 per cent in the entrance test.
This year, students with a score of as low as 10 marks out of 400 in the entrance have been admitted. Physics is a heavy- duty subject and not everyone can pursue it,”