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Introduce gap year, demand students

Taking a year off can be the most positive psychological and emotional booster for students.

india Updated: Jun 13, 2006 11:15 IST

Ever wished you could take a long break after school? Take a year off and travel, work in another country or just pursue a passion? “I wish that was possible,” said Anu Vee, a pass-out of Convent of Jesus and Mary.

“But taking a gap year is considered sacrilege in India. People will assume you are a bad student or didn’t get admission.” The stigma attached with gap-year students is an old story.

Last year, a student was allegedly refused admission by Ramjas College because he had taken a year off. The college claimed that the medical certificate provided by the student was fake.

“Delhi University rules are clear. Students who have taken an year off are considered at par with others if they have the required percentage,” said S.K.

Vij, Dean, Students’ Welfare. The university also does not stipulate that students produce certificates or proof of what they were doing in the past one year. But most colleges are very strict as far as proof is concerned. “We have to see what the student has been up to,” said SRCC principal P.C. Jain.

“It might happen the student has taken admission in one university, failed and is seeking admission again.” “We definitely give freshers preference over gap-year students,” said a principal on conditions of anonymity.

Enrolment numbers of coaching institutes, identity cards of entrance examinations and medical certificates are some of the proof that colleges ask for and cross-check to ensure authentication.

Kanika Khandewal, media coordinator at Lady Sri Ram College, said the trend of taking a break from studies has yet to come to India. “We’ve never had a case of a student who has taken a year off as a stress buster or for work,” said.

“Most are students preparing for entrance exams.” Experts agree the trend needs to be encouraged by both parents and educational institutions. “Taking a year off can prove to be the most positive psychological and emotional booster for students,” said Abdul Mabbod, director of Snehi, a voluntary organisation for psycho-social support.

“It will provide a break from the monotony of Indian educational system.”