Those with talent but not-so-good marks and worried due to high Delhi University (DU) cut-offs have pinned their hopes on the ECA (extracurricular activities) trials. However, this year the ECA trials have gone centralised, and that has left many students unhappy.
One of the reasons for students’ unhappiness is that there is no student representation in the selection panel. “Till last year, we used to interact with the applicants and check if an aspirant suits the requirements of our society,” says Shubham Vaish, president, Shunya , drama society of Ramjas College. He adds,“Selection panel mein humare bhi members hote the. Ab jaise agar humein stage performer ki zarurat hai par ye log hume street performer de denge, to hum uska kya karenge?”
However, the university officials claim that the change has been made for the convenience of students applying to DU, and to make it more transparent. Vinay Kumar, member of the admission committee, says, “This process makes things easy for the applicants, as they don’t have to go through several trials in various colleges. They can just take the trials at one place. It is also bias free as the panel of judges have never have met these applicants before. To koi bias ya favouritism nahi hoga. Jaise pehle log pressure daal dete they ki is bachche ka admission kara do ECA quota mein, ab aisa nahi hoga.”
But Ramjas College student Shobhit Bhatia feels this process will not help in preventing manipulation. He says, “Humein kaise pata ki sab transparent hai? Because humein toh ye bataya hi nahi jayega ki kis basis pe kisko select kiya gaya hai.” Another official, not wanting to be named, says, “ECA ke naam pe bahut corruption tha. Some would even take money to accept a student in their society. Some charged as much as 5 lakhs for it. Jaan pehchan ne walo ki requests ajati thi. Now that would be taken care of.”
Sunaina Kanojia, member, admission committee, says, “Transparency toh aa jayegi as videos of trials will be uploaded online. This will bring a standardisation and fairness to the process. Jo college 95% waale students ko admission de raha, woh agar ECA ki wajah se 40% waale ko admission de, to that should be on the on the basis of the student’s mettle. Once all students are shortlisted, committee experts will then look into which student should get admission in which college, also taking into consideration the requirement of the cultural societies.” For instance, if a coellege needs a drummer, the panel will keep that in mind.
Yet the selection parameters for ECA trails aren’t being challenged by students. Till this story went to press, 445 students had signed the online petition which requires 500 signatures to be forwarded to the university officials.Karina Sharma, president, Nimbus - the debating society of Atma Ram Sanatan Dharma College, says, “The new centralised trial system is unfair to everyone. You say you are taking a student who is a professional but only the society members know the intricacies of its functioning, and what we need. What if he or she does not get along with other members or does not fit into the working of the society? Most important, if an ECA quota student leaves the society, he has to leave the college too. Will it be possible for students in several colleges to drop a year if the society they get enrolled in doesn’t accept them?”
We tried reaching the Dean of Students’ Welfare, who is overlooking the ECA trials, but he didn’t respond to our repeated calls and messages.
Students have initiated an online petition - Reconsider The Central ECA (extra curricular activities) Trials of Delhi University 2016 on Change.org. asking to roll back the centralisation of the ECA admissions.