A nine-member panel constituted by Delhi University Vice-Chancellor Yogesh Singh has recommended that the varsity hold a common entrance test to ensure ‘substantial objectivity’ in the admission process, amid a controversy erupting over the high number of cent percent scorers from the Kerala Board getting admission to the varsity.
The recommendations of the committee will be discussed and deliberated in the Academic Council meeting scheduled on December 10.
The committee formed under the chairmanship of Dean (Examinations) DS Rawat was supposed to examine the reasons for over and under admissions to undergraduate courses, study the board-wise distribution of admissions in all undergraduate courses, suggest alternative strategies for optimal admissions in undergraduate courses and examine OBC admissions with reference to the ‘Non-Creamy Layer’ status. The committee also noted that gender neutrality is observed in the process of undergraduate admission. Overall, there have been 28,892 (61 per cent) admissions of female applicants and 18,413 (39 per cent) admissions of male applicants.
The committee analysed the data of admissions which are cut-off based and saw that among the 39 such boards, it showed the highest intake of students from the CBSE (37,767), followed by the Kerala Board of Higher Secondary Education (1,890), Board of School Education, Haryana (1,824), ISC (1,606) and the Board of Secondary Education, Rajasthan (1,329).
”The committee is of the considered view that as long as undergraduate admissions in the university are cut-off based, there is no way that fluctuations, sometimes significant, can be avoided to maintain equity,” the panel said in a report.
”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,” it said.
Noting that the normalisation of marks of various boards may not stand the test of legality, if contested in a court of law, the report said that ”neither cut-off based admissions nor admissions through normalisation of awarded marks by various boards are options which observe maximum objectivity in admissions”.
”… the committee is of the considered view that admissions may be carried out through a Common Entrance Test (CET). It may be conducted through an appropriate mode by the university through a well-devised internal arrangement or through any external agency depending upon prevailing operational feasibility and administrative convenience at that time,” it said.
The test should be followed by the declaration of a list of eligible candidates for admissions under various course of study spanning all colleges and departments of the university where undergraduate courses are run, the report said.
Underlining that such an exercise will impart ”substantial objectivity” to the process of admission, the report said that it will provide an equitable opportunity to the applicants to appear in a single umbrella examination at the national level and evaluation of their merit across their course of study.
Listing out other advantages of the entrance test system, the report stated that it will do away with the existing aberrations such as distribution of admissions in some categories over and above the others across applicants from various boards.
It will help avoid over-admissions in a particular course of study and ensure that merit and only merit of a prospective applicant will be the sole criteria in his or her category of admission, the report said.
”The University of Delhi, being a central university has a cardinal responsibility of ensuring absolute equity in admissions across all the higher secondary boards spanning over various states and Union Territories of our country,” it said.
”Any exercise which instills a system of equity across boards will have the potential of sending a clear message about the level of objectivity being followed by the university in undergraduate admissions,” read the report.
The committee also opined that the policy of the university on matters related to undergraduate admissions may be put on the public domain well in advance for the information of all concerned.
In its deliberations, the committee also noted that since the admissions are cut-off based, it is difficult to get control over admissions beyond the sanctioned strength as applicants who are eligible within that cut-off are all entitled for admission for a particular course of study.
”Dissuading such prospective applicants from their legitimate right of admission in their chosen course of study based on the cut off may not be an appropriate proposition,” the report read.
The committee also noted that in some of the courses, the admissions have been significantly low over the years, especially under the reserved category of Scheduled Tribes and in languages.
”The committee was of the considered view that applicants may be constructively encouraged to opt for such courses by optimally highlighting their relevance and qualitative importance,” the report said.