I READ in the Opinion page of the Weekend Bulletin, Saturday regarding the Bell Curve implemented at our local university to grade the students (‘Notorious’ Bell Curve ruining students’ grades).
The reason for the downgrade was not stated, but as students were told, the actual reason is to have a target of only two per cent of students graduating with First Class Honours.
Earlier in 2014, there was an uproar about undergraduates graduating with lower classifications, and so they thought it was 10 per cent and after that five per cent, but in the end, it was found out that it’s only two per cent, which is disappointing.
The students are not only suffering at the hands of the Bell Curve system, but also to the not-so-consistent Discovery Year system.
The major targeted option of every student at Universiti Brunei Darussalam for Discovery Year is always SAP, which stands for Study Abroad Programme, as it is fully funded unlike other options.
In order for the students to achieve the SAP, it is compulsory to get above certain cGPA. Unfortunately, the requirement of the cGPA is not standardised at all faculties, which means one faculty may have a higher cGPA requirement in comparison to another faculty.
As unfair as it looks, the students have little choice but to agree to the requirement.
Another trouble that almost all students face is the “always-changing-and-not-written” terms and conditions during Discovery Year.
For example, the students were infor-med that they are not allowed to take level 1000 modules during Discovery Year as it would affect the students’ results because the students are limited to only 40 modular credits from level 1000 modules.
In this desperate state, the students have to take higher level modules that require prerequisite modules. Eventually the students suffer in the battle with modules, which affect their grades in the end.
Sadly, they return to the university and find out that students are after all allowed to take level 1000 modules (usually no prerequisite modules required) during Discovery Year without affecting the limit given.
It is obvious that in this kind of state, the final year is the only chance for the students to bring their cGPA up. Unfortunately, after studying hard and expecting straight ‘A’s, the Bell Curve downgrades them, which eventually pulls down the students’ cGPA further.
It is well known that the university has to meet its goals of upgrading the education system, but the students are wondering why such strategies are being employed.
In my opinion, having more rightful First Class Honours from the university is better than only two per cent attaining it.
– Suffering Undergraduates