Should Attendance Factor Into DP?

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By Zahirah Benjamin

As university students, we are all under pressure to excel academically. Our goal is to get our degrees, however, excellent grades are not enough. When it comes to meeting the requirements to write an exam, attendance is also factored in. Each student is responsible for their academic performance. Should lecture attendance factor into DP (Duly Performed)?

The university offers multiple courses within each faulty. Faculties vary from one another; DP is a requirement within all faculties. Being a student at UCT, I have noticed that lecture attendance has become important in certain courses, and has been integrated into the requirements for DP.

Students are always stressed and overwhelmed by their workloads and grades, therefore, is it necessary to add on to our stress? Hence, I ask my fellow scholars, should attendance matter? The answer to this question can vary depending on whom you ask. It is obvious that individual achievements and learning aptitudes are different. It is also known that levels of work vary from each course and, therefore, could possibly be the main reason that attendance is vital.

Let’s put things in perspective. The beginning of each new year always starts off slowly, most students attend all their lectures with ease, however, when the second week of the term rolls in, everything changes. Tutorials and deadlines become our focus and, as time passes, lecture halls become empty as many students are using lecture time to complete assignments or study for tests. Each student is responsible for their own decisions when it comes to attending a lecture or not. In many cases, students do not feel the need to attend lectures because they think it is pointless if lecturers just read off the slides. Many students also do not find lectures helpful and prefer studying from the textbook, though each student is different and, thus, there is no wrong or right answer to this question.

Another consideration that should be accounted for is that not all students are as fortunate as others to live in proximity to the university. Many students do not have cars and must make use of alternative transport to get to and from university; this can also contribute to their stress levels. Secondly, it is important to note that students have lives outside of the university, many have jobs and other commitments which sometimes take priority over attending a lecture. These are just two examples that could be considered within faculties.

Not all courses factor in attendance, however, those that do argue that it is beneficial to the students and their academics. Even though this is a valid point, should it not be the student’s choice to attend a lecture or not? We are paying a fee to attend the university and, therefore, should we not have the right to make this decision?

The attendance levels at the university have decreased over the past few years. This is not the case in all faculties. I am a humanities student and in certain courses the level of attendance is extremely poor and this may perhaps be the reason why attendance has become a requirement for DP. Not all courses have experienced this problem and, therefore, it is not a requirement. Some courses say they do not require attendance, but change the stipulations half way though the term, once lecturers start noticing a decline in attendance and, to solve this issue, they adjust the requirements for DP. Many students would agree that this is unfair. All in all, attendance should be a choice. Students face many obstacles throughout the year, these obstacles can be challenging and most students will agree that lecture attendance is the least of their worries.

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