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Despite resistance, government committed to semester system: Sibal


New Delhi : Admitting to resistance to the semester system in universities across the country, the government asserted Friday it was committed to its introduction but shied away from laying down a timeline for this.

“We want to send out a message that we are committed to implementing the semester system. It is good for the student community. We want teachers to cooperate and embrace a system that will benefit students,” Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal declared during question hour in the Rajya Sabha.

Noting that the University Grants Commission “hoped” that the semester system “will happen” across the country by 2011-12, Sibal said: “I cannot give a timeframe for the completion of the process. I’m really not exactly in a position to say when it will be implemented.”

Holding that the implementation of the scheme was a “difficult process” since it involved the autonomy of universities, he added that this could not be done “through a system of compulsion”.

Responding to a supplementary that the semester system was being opposed because it required hard work and integrity on the part of teachers that was missing and to a direct question why it was facing opposition, Sibal replied: “Because they (the teachers) will have to work hard.”

Pointing to the advantages of the semester system, he said: “Students will not have to wait for the end of the year to write an examination. They will be constantly evaluated and the depth and breadth of their knowledge will improve.”

“It allows greater interaction with teachers and the children will be more focused on preparing throughout the year,” Sibal added.

He also pointed out that post-graduate courses at Delhi University were being successfully conducted on the semester pattern and that the capital’s Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) “entirely runs on the semester system”.