Chennai: Even the toppers of Tamil Nadu state board could not cope with the engineering syllabus as students from Anna University's four departments fared poorly in maths as only around 70 per cent cleared the semester exams in 2017-18.
Following the introduction of minimum pass marks of 50 per cent in the relative grading system in 2017-18, the pass percentage in mathematics-2 has gone down from 91.18 per cent from previous year to 68.62 per cent and in mathematics-1 it was dipped from 86.27 per cent to 70.54 per cent .
In engineering physics, the percentage of students cleared the exam witnessed a steep fall from 93.07 per cent to 76.37 per cent and in engineering chemistry, the pass percentage was reduced by 5 per cent to 88.54 per cent.
"The performance of the students remains the same. We have increased the standard by fixing minimum pass marks in the relative grading system," said Professor S.Srinivasalu, Additional Controller of Examinations (ACOE), Anna University.
"Since students were awarded grades based on the collective performance of the class, some of the students who got scores in single digits were also passing the exams. So, we introduced minimum pass marks," he added.
Along with the Choice Based Credit System (CBCS) the relative grading was introduced in 2015-16 at four university departments.
After the introduction of the relative grading system, the pass percentage in all the three subjects was jumped to over 90 per cent as the pass mark was not a fixed one.
"The cream of students who were admitted in the prestigious CEG and MIT could not get minimum pass marks, it only reflects on the poor quality of school education in our state," professors said.
Only students with cut-off marks from 196 to 200 marks are admitted in the College of Engineering, Guindy, Alagappa College of Technology and Madras Institute of Technology (MIT). The admission to School of Architecture and Planning is based on NATA score.
"Until last year, most of the private schools won't teach the plus-1 subjects. So, the students are joining the engineering colleges without knowing fundamentals in mathematics like differential calculus and integral calculus and they are finding it very difficult to cope with the engineering syllabus," they added.
The university has also taken efforts to address the issue by adding plus 1 topics in the syllabus for first-year engineering students. After that, the situation was slightly improved.
Anna University has sent reports to the school education department to take steps to teach plus-1 lessons and introduce application oriented thinking among the students.
Following this, the school education department has introduced public exams for plus-1 to make the private schools teach the subjects.
"We have introduced the plus-1 public exam for this very reason. It will help the students pursuing higher education in all streams including engineering," said E.Balagurusamy, former vice-chancellor, Anna University, and a member of the high-level committee for school education.
"By announcing that plus-1 marks will not be counted for higher education, the state government has once again paved way for an old system," he added.
He further said the pass percentage of the engineering students will not improve if the state government does not address the issue....