Calcutta University rocked by protests after 50% students fail
Calcutta University has been rocked by students' protest after a sharp dip in pass percentage in the Part I exam. Only 27,475 BA students out of 64,543, just 43%, managed to pass. In BSc, 10,738 out of 15,125 students, or 71%, cleared it. The agitation was intensified when an unsuccessful candidate killed herself. The vice-chancellor has called for a meeting to review the matter.
Calcutta University has 164 colleges under its umbrella, 78 in Kolkata and the others in Howrah and South 24 Parganas. This year's pass percentage is the worst in five years. The figures have been attributed to a change in rules: earlier, honors students had to clear the honors papers only, but now they have to clear at least one elective paper too.
One of the hundreds of unsuccessful candidates, Parna Dutta, killed herself hours after results were declared on January 25. Ironically, she had always secured one of the top three ranks in school and had scored roughly 70% in Class 10 and 12 board exams.
On January 27, hundreds of students reached the university campus and demanded "rechecking of answer scripts, a thorough investigation into the result fiasco, publishing of incomplete results and reinstatement of the 2009 regulations." Led by the SUCI (Communist)-affiliated Democratic Student Organisation, they shouted slogans and blocked roads near the College Street campus. Several police teams had to be deployed.
Initially, the government dismissed the protests. "Failing in examinations and then agitating for pass marks is unacceptable," Education Minister Partha Chatterjee earlier said, adding he's coordinating with university authorities. He also blamed "outsiders" for creating lawlessness. Left leader Sujan Chakrabarty attributed the results to "utter mismanagement as well as allowing ruling party hoodlums to control student's affairs."
Since then, Chatterjee has called for urgent meetings with university officials, including the VC, to discuss the matter. VC Sonali Chakravarti Banerjee has meanwhile scheduled a special meeting of the university Syndicate on February 6 to look into the students' demands.