By Bhanvi Satija:
While moving from school to college, one of the many things that students look forward to is the plethora of opportunities – not only academic, but also co-curricular, sports and cultural. I remember having the assembly break to myself in my first semester, and having a good look at the main corridor in my college. This is the corridor, which has all the societies’ boards up – it’s basically everyone’s most important source of information, apart from the Facebook pages and websites, of course.
However, things haven’t quite remained the same for me and a lot of others now. If you ask the current first years at Lady Shri Ram College for Women (LSR), they would barely know what the assembly break in college feels like – all thanks to the implementation of the Choice Based Credit System (CBCS). In order to implement the UGC Guidelines for CBCS, LSR made a few tweaks to the college schedule. The lecture timings increased from 55 to 60 minutes per lecture, while the breaks shortened. The consequences of this have been many manifold.
“According to people who aren’t experiencing the same situation as us, they think it is only an increase of like 5 minutes. What people do not understand is the overall impact this has on our day, a day now begins from 8:45 and ends at 5:25, which was earlier ending at 4:55 , that’s the difference these five minutes make,” said Devika Asthana, a first year student of English at LSR. There is a saying that all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. Not only Jack, it could make anyone a dull person! An inevitable consequence of this change has been the lack of time for other activities. Often, students would intern at nearby places after college hours. However, there is very little scope left to do the same now. “It is not just for having fun, or killing time that one wants some time for oneself, but also for exploring other avenues apart from academics. And when that time is completely cut down and we are expected to bury our heads in our books always, it does create an imbalance,” said Navneet Arora, a second year student of journalism.
The worst hit of course, are the students who travel from far and the ones who are a part of performing societies. Societies at LSR, like the Indian Music Society, Western Music Society, DanceSoc and DramSoc, work hard all round the year and stay back after college or come early for practice on most days. With the earlier schedule, the practices would get over by 6 or 7 pm, and students got a good two to three hour time to devote to their extra-curricular activities after classes. However, with the new schedule, almost an hour of this practice has been taken away. “I think it’s worst for the students living far off, who now leave college half an hour late, forcing them to commute during office rush hours. Also, even the teachers get tired after a certain point of time! Lecture time increase hasn’t helped at all, rather it has added to the burdensome hours we already had,” said Saumya, who is a first year student of Political Science, and is also a member of the dance society at LSR.
With students, the faculty doesn’t get any time to breathe either. It is hard to concentrate for the students for a continuous 60 minutes without break and the plight of sitting through a double lecture is unimaginable – think about the professor who continuously speaks for 120 minutes, and then rushes take another lecture. “Studies have shown that humans have a particular attention span – 60 minutes is lot of time to sit and concentrate without break. Moreover, it is not only tiring for us but also for the teacher who puts in so much effort,” said Devika. Even though this change of schedule hasn’t been uniformly implemented across all colleges, students from other colleges are also facing similar issues. Some of the colleges which are following the new schedule include LSR, Indraprastha College for Women (IPCW), and Keshav Mahavidyalaya.
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