Many years ago, when I was very new to this academic world, I met a scholar in London. He was teaching Islamic study or theology or something like that in Westminster University. His name was something like el-Shayyal. I think, he was delivering a lecture in one of the event organised by FOSIS (Federation of Student Islamic Society of UK & Eire), and I was then in the executive committee of FOSIS. He said to me, “This is a very busy time for me because I have a stack of exam scripts to be evaluated, and it is a hectic job. We have to be very careful since the students have spent a lot of their time studying and preparing for it, and we have to be sure that we give them what they deserve. Otherwise, it will be sinful”. I was stunt ! I’ve never had that perspective before. He then reiterate on the need to be fair and to be thorough in evaluating the scripts. Thinking in retrospect, yes, he was correct. We will be judged by God the Almighty on all our deeds.
A friend of mind told me a story of an Ustaz who was failing a course in Statistics. Well, perhaps an ustaz migh find it difficult to comprehend the realm of probability etc. It is always less or more probable, always grey. Not black and white. The professor asked the Ustaz to study hard and said “I am sorry, I cannot let you pass the course if you don’t deserve it, because it would be sinful”. Now, that’s also a similar perspective, isn’t it?
So, which one is more wrong? To give more or to give less. Perhaps giving more is better? Something like charity? Should it be adopted for academic purposes?
Mmm… I am daydreaming, tired of looking through the scripts. And tonight, I have to make that decision – assigning grades to the students – something that many professors do not really enjoy doing. Yes, I enjoyed teaching, but assigning grades is another thing altogether. But, at the end of every semester, that’s what we’ll do.