KATHMANDU, Dec 13: The semester system enforced for the first time at Master's level in Tribhuvan University (TU)-affiliated campuses of the Kathmandu Valley has not been implemented effectively due to the delay in conducting the first semester exams.
While TU officials blame the student unions for forcing them to defer the exams, the student unions accuse TU authorities of failing to hold the exams on time.
Semester exams should be conducted every six months from the beginning of the academic session.
“Our academic session began nine months ago but we are still waiting for the exam schedule,” said a Master's level student of Sociology, “The semester system now has become like the old annual exam system.”
Two years after the implementation of the semester system at the central departments of TU, the country's oldest university directed the offices of its deans in March to implement the system at the Master's level in all its campuses in the Kathmandu Valley from the current this academic session which began from April.
There are 22 constituent campuses of TU and dozens of private campuses affiliated to TU in the Valley. Around 65,000 students are enrolled every year in the Master's level in 39 departments under streams of Humanities, Management, Education, Law and Science among others.
However, TU officials said that the student unions asked them not to hold the examinations during the elections.
“The admission process was delayed due to free student union election held in February.
Later, the local elections were held. The parliamentary elections were recently held,” said Prof Dr Sudha Tripathi, Rector of TU. “The student unions told us not to hold the exams during the elections,” she added. “We will publish a new exam schedule soon.”
The exam scheduled for November was cancelled following the pressure from the student unions, according to TU. In other countries, the academic calendar is never affected by elections.
The student unions admitted that the elections affected the exam schedule. “We could not force TU authorities to conduct the exams on time due to the elections,” said Sudip Sharma, spokesperson for the CPN-UML affiliated All Nepal National Free Students Union. “Now, all elections have concluded. We will work for implementing the semester system.”
Pushpa Kumar Shahi, vice-president of Nepal Student Union, affiliated to the Nepali Congress, said that TU's allegation was just a blame game.
“We never put pressure on TU authorities to defer the academic schedule. We had earlier suggested to TU not to implement the semester system without required facilities and infrastructures,” he said.
TU had decided to implement the semester system in all Master's degree programs in three phases-- TU central departments in the first phase, Kathmandu Valley in the second phase and across the country in the third phase with a year's gap between the phases.
However, the system has already been implemented at the faculties of Science, Medicine, Engineering and Forestry across the country.
The central departments of TU implemented the semester system at the faculties of Humanities, Management and Education two years ago, according to TU.
The system could not be implemented in Valley campuses in the second phase a year ago due to objections voiced by student unions affiliated to various political parties.
Students under the semester system should attend 80 percent of the total number of classes while 80 percent of the evaluation will be based on semester-wise written tests and 20 percent will be for assignments.
Due to the attendance provision, the number of students at the central departments of TU fell significantly after the implementation of the semester system.
TU has been issuing two kinds of certificates for Master's degree holders at present. Students at the central departments have sit for the exams under the semester system while students in the same faculties at other campuses have taken the annual exam systems. TU plans to implement the semester system at the Bachelor's level only after two years, according to the Office of TU Vice Chancellor.