By Dara Ali
By following an approach to education that has a long and rich tradition in the United States, the American University of Iraq-Sulaimani is recognized as a prestigious, internationally well-known academic institution where hundreds of students have the opportunity to study in different fields.Differing from other Iraqi institutions, AUI-S has its own policy, strict attendance policies, for example, is a hallmark of AUI-S.
According to AUI-S Academic Catalogue (2010-2011), “Students at AUI-S are expected to participate fully in all scheduled classes. Instructors will take daily attendance and keep records.” (pp. 21). Regular attendance in class at AUI-S is crucial for students not only because of absence, but also to engage real give-and-take discussions. So learning is every student’s goal. But how one can learn without coming to class. Thomas Edison, the American inventor, says, “Genius is one percent inspiration, ninety-nine percent perspiration.” Through this, I want to say the more students attend classes, the more matters are discussed and the more knowledge is gained.
However, in some cases, instructors do not enforce this policy, nor do students. This inconsistent approach, of course, causes problems. When attendance is not mandatory, this will be a great opportunity for students to avoid classes. Needless to say, as far as I know avoiding class is getting far worse. For instance, I cannot put into words how appalled I was when I heard about an academic student who has missed SEVENTEEN classes in only one subject in the current semester! Frankly, it is beyond everyone’s comprehension how that might affect that student down the line. In addition, it seems like that student is on a slippery slope to missing more and more classes if instructors do not more strictly enforce attendance. It raises a question: Who is responsible for that?
Briefly, we, AUI-S students, have a moral obligation to point out inappropriate actions seen anywhere, especially ones that are closely relevant to our study field. I believe that having students who avoid class and also have ability to keep it under their hats is a real danger. Additionally, students who absent themselves from class and their unconscious desire to avoid class are a real threat to AUI-S and its purposes as well. I believe it is better if AUI-S investigates that matter to get to the bottom of it and, finally, find a reasonable solution. Or, at least, when instructors enter the class, they discover there is something fishy going on in regard to the number of students. More to the point, the reason I am spilling the beans is because “a little knowledge is a dangerous thing!”
I think AUI-S needs to get the ball rolling and its instructors need to bend over backwards to have fewer absent students, BUT HOW?
*Dara Ali is an International Studies and Political Science freshman at the American University of Iraq-Sulaimani