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Is it 60? Stephen’s debates

Confusion prevails as depts differ on policy day after letter on minimum marks for Christian, SC/ST students. Ritika Chopra and Swaha Sahoo report.
By Ritika Chopra/Swaha Sahoo | Hindustan Times, New Delhi
UPDATED ON JUN 20, 2008 12:43 AM IST

Many teachers at St Stephen’s College on Thursday said they had no problem with the new admission criteria for reserved category students set by the supreme council. The bishop had, in a letter sent to all head of the departments on Wednesday, said the minimum base marks for Christian and non- Christian SC/ST candidates to be called for interview in Honours courses be 60 per cent. For them to qualify for interview in programme courses, the minimum percentage should be 55 per cent.

They are, however, objecting to the fact that the supreme council took the decision without consulting the college governing body. “According to the constitution of the college, the supreme council has no jurisdiction over the administration of the college. The power rests with the governing body and the body was not even consulted,” said a source.

On Wednesday, teachers had strongly opposed this move saying that quality of education would suffer at St Stephen’s, a premier educational institute of the country. But on Thursday, they said they did not have a problem if this criteria was merely a minimum requirement and did not hidebound them to interview all students with 60 per cent marks.

“This only means that we can consider students with at least 60 per cent for interviews. But it is not mandatory to give them admissions,” said a teacher, who did not want to be quoted.

However, the clarification came after a day of uncertainty and resentment even as the college conducted interviews for its Chemistry (H), Physics (H), Economics (H) and Sanskrit (H) courses. Moreover, the confusion led to differences in the interviewing method adopted by two departments.

So, while the Economics department did not feel the need to give more than 15 per cent relaxation to the reserved candidates, the Mathematics department invited 68 Christian candidates with 60 per cent and above marks for the interview. The Sanskrit (Honours) department was unaffected as no Christian candidates appeared for the interview. HT could not confirm if the Chemistry department had implemented the new rule or not.

“This new policy is nothing but an eyewash. Majority of the departments won’t even face a situation where they will have to admit a Christian candidate who has scored in 60s,” said a member of the faculty.

Students too, weren’t happy with the new development. “Why is it that we get to hear something new about the admission process so frequently. The college, it seems has no idea how confusing this can get for the candidate,” said a student appearing for the Chemistry (H) interview.

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