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When 80% Students Of Dr Ram Manohar Lohia Avadh Uni Fail Exams, Who’s To Blame?

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Ravish Kumar’s recent episode of his “University Series” was a revelation.

Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia Avadh University, a university in Faizabad, Uttar Pradesh saw a staggering 80% fail percentage in the B.Sc results that came out last week. From the six lakh students of around 83 colleges that come under this university, only 20% managed to pass the examination; nearly four lakh students failed. The university, in a press release, tried to mislead and manipulate by segregating the colleges into government colleges and private colleges, and showing their pass and fail percentages separately, to reduce the effect and gain less attention, so that it escapes the eyes of the media.

The reason for the same is being attributed to the administration’s decision to be strict with the examination process for this academic session. The administration installed CCTV cameras in exam centres with strict invigilators and ensured proper checking. Because of the aforementioned, many students did not even appear for the exam, and the rest failed, leaving a mere 20% successful.

Students of the university were furious about the same and held the administration responsible for incorrect checking and failure to provide teachers. While some of them were appalled at this low a pass percentage, some complained of not being awarded even a single mark despite attempting complete papers.

Furthermore, as per the university revaluation criteria, a heavy amount of ₹3000 is to be paid for revaluation. While ₹350 is the initial amount required to get a copy of your answer sheet, a further amount of ₹3000 is to be paid if the student, after inspection of the copy, decided to give it for re-evaluation.

The above-mentioned facts are deeply disturbing on account of the following reasons:

First, the absence of many students from appearing for the examination because of apparent ‘strictness’ is something that cannot be ignored. Yes, the ‘no cheating’ agenda is appreciated and welcome, but students not attempting the examination is not quite in alignment with the agenda.

Second, it highlights how we, as education imparters, are going wrong. Not appearing for examinations because of not being able to cheat tells a greater story – students’ lack of confidence, and their lack of knowledge, which results in the third reason. While these universities promise qualified faculty during admissions, they are unable to recruit even a minimum number of teaching staff, let alone qualified ones. And worse, in smaller universities especially, these faculty members exist only on paper, leaving classes empty and students left to fend for themselves. There is no one to take responsibility for the mammoth fail percentage.

Lastly, charging a hefty amount of ₹3000 for re-evaluation is preposterous. There are colleges which enable students to finish their graduation in the same amount! Charging ₹3000 for one paper is looting the student, and, making sure those papers won’t be given for revaluation.

This is one instance. The list is long. According to a recent survey with top-level MNCs, around 94% of IT graduates are not fit for hiring. Many CS (Computer Software) graduates don’t know how to code. More than 60% Engineering graduates are unemployed. Around 90% graduates do not contribute to the Indian economy.

Furnishing concerns on the lines of graduation ka yeh haal hai, toh aage jaake jobs kaun dega” (If the state of graduation is in shambles, who is going to offer jobs?), and closing that argument there is not going to help. That’s worse than ignorance. These instances are of common occurrence – in the best and worst colleges and universities of the country. We are too busy keeping attendance tabs, and imposing immaterial and unnecessary rules and regulations trying to curb and control students. When classrooms are supposed to be hubs for learning effectuating productive interactions, all the students find are empty classrooms, depriving them of their hope and right to an educated future.

What is the way out? What do we do?

We become aware of our educational rights, and our rights to have a proper teaching staff in place and not ‘get used to’ the status quo. We stop limiting the space for education news to be lost in the middle pages of newspapers and give them the space and concern they ‘need’, education being the one efficient tool that has the potential to alter the development scale of this country.

We train and hone our professors and teachers well, so they can become competent enough to teach. We employ universities and colleges for the purpose they exist – to facilitate learning and impart knowledge and enhance personalities; and, not make them a means for personal gains by means of corruption and politicization. We have to be constantly vigil about the condition of educational institutions around the country, and broaden our concern and awareness beyond Delhi and Mumbai universities.

In such times, Ravish Kumar’s “University Series” is a thoughtful and necessary step. Delving deep and unravelling the happenings of the smaller universities, which is catering to most of our student population is extremely necessary.

These recurring issues have plagued the education scenario in the country. If we don’t tread on the path of awareness and affirmative action, our indifference will cause a damage which won’t be quantifiable.

Image source: Anshuman Poyrekar/Hindustan Times via Getty Images
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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

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A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

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A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

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A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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