New Delhi: Delhi University (DU) Vice-Chancellor Yogesh Singh has said that students from all states of the country should get a fair chance of admission in the central varsity.
His remarks come at a time when the university has proposed admission through entrance exams as opposed to intake based solely on marks because exam boards across the country have different systems of evaluation.
The DU administration has routinely courted controversy for admission cut-offs as high as 100 per cent.
“I am very happy that DU is so popular among students in Kerala, which is a far-off state. But we also want bright students from Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu etc. to get a fair chance at admission in DU,” Singh told ThePrint, referring to the edge Kerala board students have allegedly had in admissions.
“States where boards are less lenient with grading miss out due to the high cut-offs. The Uttar Pradesh board for example, where the grading is relatively more stringent, has not seen many students get admission here,” he added.
The V-C said this with reference to DU re-evaluating how to conduct admissions next year. The academic council (AC), in its meeting on 10 December, approved the change in admission process from cut-off-based to entrance-exam-based. However, the executive council (EC) is scheduled to meet Friday to pass a final verdict on the matter.
The academic council is the highest academic body of the university and is responsible for the maintenance of standards of instruction, education and examination. It has the right to advise the executive council — another statutory decision-making body in DU that helps with implementation of latest policies and measures implemented by the university — on all academic matters.
“I hope that the EC votes in favour of the exam-based entrance process. Rest is up to them, it is a democratic body,” the V-C said.
Panel set up for ‘alternative strategy’
In October, a nine-member panel was set up by DU, tasked with the job of suggesting an “alternative strategy for optimal admissions in undergraduate courses”.
Earlier this month, the panel had submitted a report, which stated that it had found a skewed distribution of admission percentages of certain states.
“The Kerala board, with a total of 4,824 applicants to the university, is head and shoulders above the others with a 39.18 per cent acceptance rate. The Rajasthan board has a 27.75 per cent acceptance rate, Haryana board 18.39 per cent, CISCE 16.63 per cent, and CBSE, with 2,29,264 applicants, has a 16.47 per cent acceptance rate,” the report said.
The panel studied three options — granting admission on the basis of entrance tests from next year, considering 50 per cent marks from Class 12 exams and 50 per cent from an entrance test, or maintaining the status quo (keeping the cut-off system as it is).
Its report was submitted to the V-C.
If the university decides to go with the entrance exam option, it has two choices: to be part of the Education Ministry’s Central University Common Entrance Test (CUCET), or have its own.
Controversy over admissions
Admissions to various undergraduate courses across DU colleges so far have been done on the basis of Class 12 marks.
Earlier this year, seven DU colleges had announced a cut-off of 100 per cent for the new academic session.
Not only was the university criticised for setting such cut-offs, the increased number of admissions of students from Kerala too became a bone of contention.
Rakesh Pandey, a physics teacher at Kirori Mal College and member of the RSS-affiliated National Democratic Teachers’ Front (NDTF) had shared a Facebook post on the matter, calling it “marks jihad”.
The statement invoked a quick reaction and Kerala Higher Education Minister R. Bindu on 11 October wrote to Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan seeking action against Pandey for using a “communally sensitive and derogatory term”.
Within a month of his appointment as DU V-C on 23 September, Yogesh Singh called for the formation of a panel to review the admission process in the university.
Focus on reopening colleges, improving infrastructure
V-C Singh also said that his point of focus will be improving the DU’s position in international university rankings.
“In order to do so we will ensure that there is improved placement and increase in quality of research at the university. It is my current focus to improve infrastructure, internet connectivity and teacher recruitment procedures at DU in order to ensure good results,” he added.
While DU students have been demanding reopening of physical classes, Singh says his hands are tied till the time the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) doesn’t approve the move.
“We are looking at all the provisions to ensure that online learning is as smooth as possible but we cannot run all classes at 50 per cent capacity. Although we have started practicals and classes for senior students, we are still waiting for DDMA orders of reopening,” he added.
DU is all set to start the four-year undergraduate program (FYUP) in 2022. However, the curriculum for the same is yet to be designed. The university’s undergraduate courses are currently three years long.
“We have constituted a National Education Policy implementation cell and they are working on devising the structure of the FYUP. But are still waiting for the University Grants Commission to share the National Higher Education Qualification Framework.”
Speaking about student elections that haven’t been held in DU due to the pandemic, he said, “Every institute has its own culture and tradition and I am all for it. I completely support the student election process and would like for it to be conducted once we reopen.”
(Edited by Gitanjali Das)