20 November, 2017
Most universities have policies regarding attendance. More often than not, attending class is mandatory as per university rules -‐ this doesn’t just apply to our university, the American University in Dubai, but to most universities in the country and outside. Personally, I have been to three universities -‐ one in Boston, Massachusetts, one in Rome, Italy and one in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Each one of them had a policy regarding attending class: it was mandatory. As students, we were only allowed a certain number of absences (3 or 4), otherwise our grades would be affected and our GPAs would subsequently drop. I find such strict rules regarding attendance to be unfair and impractical, from a student’s perspective.
“Attendance shouldn’t be mandatory,” said Rashid Al-‐Shehhi, a student at the American University in Dubai, where missing more than four classes severely affects the attendance and participation grade for any given course. University students should be responsible for their own education and getting the knowledge they need since they are practically considered adults in most societies. Attendance should be optional at all higher-‐education institutions. Lectures and PowerPoint presentations covered in classes at most universities are provided online via Blackboard and other course management applications for educational institutions, thus the information the professor explains during classtime is usually readily available for students to refer back to and read from online. “I think that attendance should be optional because sometimes I can’t go to class due to serious reasons, and other times I am not in the mood or right mindset for a class,” explained Nada Al-‐Ghurair, a student at Middlesex University in Dubai. “If I don’t go to class, I still do the work. I read the PowerPoint slides posted online, so it’s unnecessary for me to go to class sometimes when I already have all the notes” she added. I agree, sometimes I feel like going to
class is unnecessary when I already have the lecture’s notes and the PowerPoint presentation provided for me. However, it is stressful knowing that I will lose some points for not attending a class and that my grades might drastically suffer as a result.
Some say, however, that attending class is very important and attendance policies are rightfully strictly implemented in universities. “Personally, I used to skip a lot of my classes,” said Al Reem Bin Ali, an engineering student at the American University in Dubai, “however, ever since I started attending every single one of my classes -‐ I saw the difference.” I was sure she was talking about her better grades. “Not just the grades, I started to understand my lectures better when I attended since the professor does a great job at explaining,” she added. Bin Ali also mentioned how the professor often gives tips and certain notes about quizzes, tests and final exams, which are very helpful for students. It saves the student time and effort to simply attend class and understand the lectures firsthand from the professor, instead of spending a longer time at home trying to understand the course while also studying for it. Thus, a lot of students agree with the existing rules regarding missing classes, and see that attending class is an essential part of the university experience.
Attending classes might be useful for some university students, however it should not be mandatory. I believe universities and colleges could be more flexible when it comes to their rules and regulations regarding attendance. Our grades shouldn’t have to suffer because we, as students, don’t attend some of our classes -‐ especially if we still study, do all the work, read up on the lectures and notes and maintain good grades throughout the semester from doing well in quizzes and exams. For some students, the only reason they don’t get straight as is because of poor attendance, which is quite unfair. In my opinion, attending classes should be optional and our grades should not suffer as a result of missing classes at university.