Students of Veer Narmad South Gujarat University staged a protest at its 50th Special Convocation ceremony in Surat on Wednesday, seeking implementation of a Carry Forward system.
As per the system, undergraduate students who have arrears in the first year can move forward to subsequent years and are allowed to write all the years’ exams together.
In the middle of Vice-Chancellor Shivendra Gupta’s speech, some students stood up from their seats and chanted the slogan “Implement Carry Forward System” and “V-C Go Back”. Gupta and the heads of departments seated on the dais looked visibly shocked. Gupta stopped his speech for a moment but later continued, without acknowledging the students’ protest. Policemen present in the auditorium, caught hold of the students and took them outside.
Speaking about the protest, VNSGU Syndicate member Bhavesh Rabari, who represents the National Students Union of India, said, “The students were protesting to implement the Carry Forward System in the university. In this system, if a student fails in a subject in the first year in the undergraduate course, he or she is allowed to sit in the second year and write the exams of both first year and second year.”
He said now if a student clears the second-year exams but again fails in a first-year subject, they are not allowed to go ahead to the third year. The protesting students demanded that they be allowed to sit in the third year and write the final exams along with first-year exams. The university should not declare the results until the student clears the first year exams. Stating that the system has already been implemented in Gujarat University, Gujarat Technological University and other universities in the state, Rabari said, “We have made representations to the Vice-Chancellor but he has kept the matter pending. The proposal of implementation of the Carry forward system should be introduced in the Academic Council meeting and Syndicate meeting, but no such proposal has come in the past meetings.”
49 students conferred doctorates, 13 M.Phil
Doctorate degrees were awarded to 49 students and M.Phil degrees to 13 students. A total of 3,710 students were conferred degrees in 12 different faculties.
BJP Rajya Sabha MP Bhupendra Yadav, a Supreme Court lawyer who was to be the chief guest, could not attend the function, and in his absence, the university’s Vice-Chancellor Shivendra Gupta officiated the ceremony.
Among those who received a Ph.D is a senior citizen, Mahendra Soni (61), a lecturer who has been teaching management in Amroli BBA College in Surat since the year 2000.
Soni, who will retire next year, entered into academics after working in various companies in Surat. His research was about awareness, attitude and buying behaviour of consumers regarding renewable energy sources, with special emphasis on solar roof-top plants given by GEDA (Gujarat Energy Development Authority). His research guide was Renuka Garg, Head of the VNSGU’s Department of Business Administration.
“I am going to retire next year, but this doctorate degree has satisfied my soul,” Mahendra Soni said, speaking to The Indian Express. “The topic was new to me and I worked hard on it, with a survey and spreading awareness among people in Surat to install roof-top solar power plants. I enjoyed the subject a lot and also gave detailed explanations to the people as well as in my research paper.”
Vice-Chancellor Gupta in his speech pointed out that many of the students who earned degrees were first-generation learners, as the university caters to students of Surat, Navsari, Valsad, Bharuch, Narmada, Dang districts and the union territories of Daman and Dadra and Nagar Haveli — largely tribal or rural areas.
Speaking of the soon-to-be implemented National Education policy 2019, he said significant changes are being made in teaching and research as well as administration. “To integrate Indian culture and heritage in the curriculum would do students a great service,” he said. “We are going to change the entire syllabi of both undergraduate and postgraduate courses and implement it in the academic year of 2020-21. The final draft of the new syllabi will be ready by October 2019.”
He said the university had recently conducted a “New Syllabus for New India for 360-degree change” two-day workshop in this regard.