Page:Convocation Addresses of the Universities of Bombay and Madras.djvu/71

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
University of Bombay.

first time at the examinations just over, but which I regret the Examiners did not feel themselves justified in awarding.

The present is the Tenth Convocation for conferring degrees, and I think I may be allowed, A Review of the past. therefore, in a brief manner to review the past, and consider some of its results as guides to us for the future. In 1862 the first degrees were conferred; they consisted of four B.A's and four L.M's. These were the first eight names on the roll of graduates. Since then the numbers have increased yearly. Our first M.A's were conferred in 1865; our first LL.B's in 1866 and L.C.E's in 1869. Our rolls show after the degrees conferred to-day, M.A., 28; B.A., 116; LL.B., 29; L.M., 25; L.C.E., 6; while 1,227 students in all have matriculated. In reviewing the returns for the past twelve years it appears that 4,567 students have presented themselves for the Matriculation Examination, of whom 1,227 only have been successful. This small proportion of passed candidates has often been the subject of comment, and blame has been sought to be attached to the Examiners for want of system or for over-strictness. Last year out of 839 candidates, 142 passed, and in the present year out of 877, 142 only were sucessful. Now the main cause of the failure of the 735 in the last examination was their being unable to qualify in English. I believe those who failed in other subjects, and yet qualified in English, were very few indeed. You will, gentlemen of the Senate, I feel sure, agree with me that Examiners more competent, more conscientious, more anxious to do their duty, both by the students as well as the University, could not have been chosen, than those who examined this year;—and yet, without tightening the bands of the standard too closely, but after giving every chance to the candidates, the result as to numbers appears even worse than in the previous year, and has, I am aware, again formed the subject of comment. But the almost constant proportion of passed to unpassed which each year's returns from 1859 show, to my mind, point but to one cause—not the over-strictness of the Examiners or a too high standard, but the simple fact that the students come up before they are properly prepared. They have not profited by the advice of Sir Bartle Frere, when Chancellor, not "to attempt to grasp their academical honours by hurrying through their studies for the examination." This subject has led me to inquire into the results of the Matriculation at the other Indian Universities, and I find from the last "Statistical abstract relating to British India," laid before Parliament and made up to March 1869, that