Delhi University (DU) on Tuesday asked gap year students, applying for Masters in Political Science course, to sign an undertaking with the concerned department stating they had not been employed during the gap in their studies.
Explaining the need for the undertaking, Bidyut Chakravarty, faculty member of department of Political Science, said, “The students are supposed to prove the gap in their studies was due to unavoidable circumstances, as we want only academically-inclined students to take up our course.”
Several students, who had graduated in 2008 or earlier, were left confused and did not know whether signing the undertaking would be the right thing to do. “I finished my graduation in 2008, but was unable to get admission in the post-graduation course of my choice,” said Radhika Sharma, a student.
“So, I took up a job. Now I want to take admission in political science. Just because I have been employed for a year, how does that make me ineligible to apply?” she asked.
Sharma reportedly admitted in front of the administrative staff that she had been employed, but was still asked to sign the undertaking.
“I don’t know whether it would be right to lie. But unless I signed the form, they refused to take my application,” she said.
Another student, Pramod Kumar, who graduated in 2007, found the undertaking to be unreasonable. “I find it ridiculous that my work experience disqualifies me from pursuing my masters, especially at a time when
the university has intro- duced so many professional courses, which require you to work,” he said.
Bidyut Chakravarty said the undertaking was based on university rules.
“The initial rules at Delhi University say that students are not supposed to have a gap year. However, after the Mandal Commission protests, the university decided to give gap-year students a chance,” he said.
When asked whether students who are employed would be disqualified, Chakravarty said exceptions could be made to the rule
“The rule was originally put in place to dissuade students who take up a seat for non-academic purposes, such as availing the university’s hostel facilities or scholarships. But if we find students who are serious about pursuing academics, we do not reject them,” he said.
The Head of Department, Political Science, Achin Vinaik, confirmed that exceptions would be made.
Meanwhile, dean of students’ welfare, S.K. Vij, said the university does not bar gap-year students from applying for PG courses.
“According to university rules, a gap year student only needs to explain what they were doing during the gap period in their studies,” Vij said. “There is no rule disallowing students with work experience from taking up a course.”