Monday, May 23, 2011

Compulsory Attendance: Thou Art Not Needed

Compulsory attendance seems to be the ‘must have’ for colleges. It seems that nowadays colleges are concentrating more on keeping the students inside the classroom rather than on imparting quality education. The reason given for this is that if the student is inside the classroom he/she will be forced to listen to the lecturer and hence will definitely learn something. Sounds great, doesn’t it?!

The attendance rules are very strictly implemented. Students are sometimes not allowed to give exams because of lack of attendance. If not that then internal marks are affected. Parents support this wholeheartedly because there is a preconceived notion that quality of a child’s education is directly proportional to the number of classes he/she attends. Also, they believe that once they’ve paid for the classes the students should attend as many as he can so as to get maximum benefit.

The problem arises when you see the actual consequence of this rule. Students do attend more classes but only because of fear. The actual passion for studying in class is lost. Anything which is forced upon someone will lose its charm. Students don’t come to college because they want to; they come to college because they have to. They are only physically present. They are mentally somewhere else. What is the use of un-interested students in a classroom? This is not education.

The main reason for that is the scarcity of quality teachers in colleges these days. If a faculty is not good, no one will pay attention even if all the students are forced to attend all the lectures. On the other hand, if a faculty is good then all the students will voluntarily come to the class even if it’s an extra lecture or an optional paper. Contrary to popular opinion, students like to study. They want to learn new things. Students are curious.

When a student is forced to attend a lecture which is given by an incompetent or even a boring lecturer, then the curiosity in him dies. The college does not have to force a student to do something he/she likes. It just has to facilitate it. A decent classroom, a competent faculty and the faculty’s ability to teach are the only things required to get students to the classroom.

Colleges in the Western part of the world do not have compulsory attendance, yet because of the quality of the classes, students attend them voluntarily. The classes are interactive. Students are given freedom to choose their subjects and sometimes even given options in the method of evaluation.

Compulsory attendance rules kill the student within the child. It breeds incompetence as faculties are not worried about the number of students attending their class. They can teach in whatever manner they want to and get away with it. The mark of a good teacher is to attract students to the class and keeping them engaged for the entire duration of the lecture. Students pay a lot for tuition fees. They don’t need draconian rules. They just need a congenial environment to study. 


  1. I believe that this is purely a debate on idealistic grounds on what colleges ought to be and can be under the given circumstances.
    For a better conclusion you could've drawn a comparison between the existing system and proposed one based on its merits rather than an outcome that is predicted.
    For instance comparing the performances of two law schools where one has a system of compulsory attendance and other follows a much liberal non-compulsive policy would've given much clarity to your line of argument.

  2. I could have done that but for that we need to have two law schools which are similar in almost all ways except for the attendance rule part.

    Considering the fact that this is not possible right now. A debate on the above grounds seemed appropriate. :)

  3. I totally agree with you.
    Even I'm a college student and we have a rule of 75% compulsory attendance.Hence I have to sit through all the boring lectures of the day. I have one professor who only keeps dictating notes(Even though he could give us printed notes from xerox center and do actual teaching),and asks to make a separate notebook for him and moreover he doesn't let us sleep in his class nor can we bunk.
    If some teachers have their way they would make bunking a federal crime.We are at our teacher's mercy for internals and vivas. I guess that's how it is.

  4. Hello buddy.
    I just loved this article because I am also facing this problem. Sometimes I think I should leave the college and pursue study through distance education. But you know regular degree is more valuable than distance one... (don't know why).

  5. it's rl thruth no can force 2 stdy..........


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