Concerns raised over Delhi University’s online admission process
As Delhi University gears up to move its entire admission process online, several concerns have been raised over the process, including the verification of documents, over-centralisation of processes and the end of student-teacher counselling.
Last week, the university shared a tentative schedule of the admission process with the standing committee of the academic council, along with a list of agenda items. The agenda items included “online verification of the documents to approve provisional admission” and “physical verification of the original documents of the applicants once the session commences.”
Several teachers and principals have raised questions about the move, stating that it leaves room for fraudulent admissions and makes the entire admission process “impersonal.” The stakeholders point towards the challenges of verifying documents like mark sheets, birth certificates, and caste and income certificates online.
Former academic council member Pankaj Garg, who teaches at Rajdhani College and has been on the college’s admission committee, said, “Generally after Class 12, several students are confused about what to do. That can only be resolved through direct interaction and counselling by teachers. The interpersonal interaction among parents, teachers and students will end because of this online process. Till now, students would visit the college for admission, take a look at the various facilities, and even talk to teachers of the admission committee for counselling.”
Following the 2018 controversy over former Delhi University Students’ Union president Ankiv Baisoya, who had been charged with producing fake degrees and mark sheets for admission, the varsity had asked colleges to take steps towards a forensic examination of degrees and mark sheets by experts.
A principal of a south Delhi DU college, requesting anonymity, said, “One year, the varsity asks us to arrange for forensic experts and check the documents of all students. Just the next year, it calls for provisional admission without even the physical verification of mark sheets. If these weren’t necessary, why the push for forensic examination of the documents last year?”
The principal added that checking documents once colleges reopen will lead to a “chaotic” situation. “Under the previous system, we would finish these processes earlier. Now, they will spill over to the academic session. We won’t even know if students cancel their admission and go to other colleges.”
Dean (Admissions), DU, Shobha Bagai said it was still too early to comment on this process since all statutory bodies are yet to be consulted. “As far as counselling is concerned, we are mentoring volunteers for the online counselling of prospective applicants. Under the present situation, it won’t be appropriate to ask students to travel from other states and visit different colleges with different cutoffs. Such physical interaction won’t be feasible or safe for students amid this pandemic,” she said.
Meanwhile, a group of the varsity’s executive and academic council members has also written to the vice-chancellor regarding the online open book examination mode, pointing out the drawbacks of the system.
“The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology says 12,000 village panchayats are yet to be covered by the Common Service Centre,” the members wrote. This was in reference to DU’s proposal of tying up with government CSC’s to ensure students have access to the Internet and devices to appear for their papers.
“A village Pradhan in Sonepat district told us that there was no CSC in his village. During a telephonic survey of two panchayats of Madhubani District in Bihar, we found that only one of them has a CSC, but that too functions infrequently with no proper sitting arrangement. In Brahmauli Kunda village of Pratapgarh district of UP, CSC is 8 to 10 KMs away from that village [sic],” the teachers’ group Academics for Action and Development wrote, stating that students could not depend upon CSC infrastructure for exams.
Despite calls and messages, DU vice-chancellor Yogesh Tyagi did not respond to requests for comments on the matter.