DU panel backs common entrance test for admissions to UG courses

The report’s findings and other crucial issues pertaining to the university, including the creation of a National Education Policy (NEP) cell, will be discussed in the academic council (AC) meeting scheduled for December 10, varsity sources said.
The nine-member committee, headed by dean of examinations DS Rawat, was constituted by vice-chancellor Yogesh Singh in October to suggest an “alternative strategy for optimal admissions in undergraduate courses”. (HT archive)
The nine-member committee, headed by dean of examinations DS Rawat, was constituted by vice-chancellor Yogesh Singh in October to suggest an “alternative strategy for optimal admissions in undergraduate courses”. (HT archive)
Updated on Dec 05, 2021 05:16 AM IST
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BySadia Akhtar

A Delhi University (DU) committee, entrusted with the task of deliberating on the undergraduate admission reforms, has advocated for an entrance exam based admission process in its interim report. The committee has also outlined findings from this year’s admission cycle to conclude that granting admission on the basis of cut-off lists/marks “was fraught with unavoidable fluctuations”.

The report’s findings and other crucial issues pertaining to the university, including the creation of a National Education Policy (NEP) cell, will be discussed in the academic council (AC) meeting scheduled for December 10, varsity sources said.

The nine-member committee, headed by dean of examinations DS Rawat, was constituted by vice-chancellor Yogesh Singh in October to suggest an “alternative strategy for optimal admissions in undergraduate courses”. It examined the issue of over- and under-admissions to undergraduate courses and also the board-wise distribution of admissions across courses.

“The committee is of the considered view that as long as undergraduate admissions is cut-off based, there is no way that fluctuations, sometimes significant, can be avoided to maintain equity. Any effort to normalise marks awarded by various boards may be fraught with the danger of devising a formula which may not be equitable on some scale or the other,” the report stated.

As per the committee’s interim report, among 39 boards from which students came to DU, the highest intake was from the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), followed by the Kerala Board of Higher Secondary Education, the Board of School Education Haryana, the Indian Certificate of Secondary Education (ICSE) and Board of School Education, Rajasthan. The five boards together account for 90% applicants who took admissions in DU this year.

The committee also took note of the fact that the number of applicants from Kerala board exceeded the number of applicants from the boards of Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Punjab.

While outlining the issues pertaining to cutoffs and the variation in marks allocated by different boards, the report concluded that “neither cut-off based admissions nor admissions through normalisation of awarded marks by various boards are options which observe maximum objectivity in admissions.”

It recommended that admissions be carried out through a common entrance test (CET) which can be conducted by the university through a well devised internal mechanism or through an external agency, depending on operational feasibility. The committee said an entrance-based approach will do away with existing aberrations such as distribution of admission in some categories over and above the others and over-admissions in certain courses.

However, various teacher group members disagreed with the committee findings. Academics for Action and Development (AAD) member Rajesh Jha said there were procedural issues with the report. Jha said a major reform, one that entailed a shift in the admission process itself, was being deliberated upon by a committee that is not a statutory body.

“The academic council, a statutory body, was not consulted before this committee was made. AC needs to be consulted on the matter from the beginning,” said Jha. He also pointed out that an entrance would be disadvantageous to students who often shift streams after Class 12 and those who come from poor backgrounds.

Pankaj Garg, convener of the Indian National Teachers’ Congress (INTEC), said a common entrance test would restrict the choices of students, who often apply to multiple courses based on cutoff marks.

“The committee has not addressed the problems that students will likely face in terms of limited choices. It has simply negated the option of percentage moderation given by various boards and proposed an entrance test. If the university decides to hold its own entrance test, then students would need to prepare for two tests — one for admission to other universities and the DU test. There will be a lot of confusion,” said Garg.

He said the university could hold CET for select courses on a pilot basis before implementing massive changes. “The university is rushing to implement the NEP from next year. It should first hold a CET for some courses on a pilot basis instead of implementing it all at once,” said Garg.

Former executive council member and DUTA president AK Bhagi said the DUTA will hold a meeting, before the AC meeting on December 10, to deliberate on these issues. “In my view, if we go completely with the CET, private coaching will flourish. This is not desirable. The university should obtain the feedback of various stakeholders and take cognizance of concerns of students and teachers before taking a decision,” said Bhagi

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Tuesday, January 25, 2022