This should have been an exciting time for students as they step into the adult world. Instead, students and their families seem to be going through a difficult time as they try to tackle the admission process across the country. It’s not just high cutoffs, but credit-based semester system, college transfer issues, online applications and more that are adding to students’ woes.
Kohinoor Darda, a class XII Arts topper from Fergusson College, Pune, says, “The biggest hindrance in the admission process is the ‘process’ itself. Waiting for hours in the queue amid chaos is unbearable.”
CREDIT-BASED SEMESTER SYSTEM
There’s confusion regarding admission and choice of electives in various faculties at the Maharaja Sayajirao University (MSU), Baroda. The Faculty of Arts has introduced a semester system to introduce the Choice Based Credit System. The faculty will offer a consolidated BA Honours Programme in the CBCS pattern with wider choices, assigning credits to courses, evaluation through a grading system and continuous assessment. Students will be awarded Semester Grade Point Average (SGPA) based on total credit attached to each course and total credits earned by a student in all courses. This is a shift from the traditional selection of a single major/minor subject at the time of admissions.
Smriti Tandon, a first year applicant says, “This allows one to sample a number of disciplines in the first year before finalising the major, but the entire process of calculating grade points is confusing.”
Also, at the MSU’s Faculty of Commerce there is furore over the university’s decision to not grant admission to students who have scored below 45% in their HSC. A number of student-leaders have taken up the issue with university officials. Jatin Panchal, representative of a student union, says, “While admission is a certainty for students who have passed with 40% marks, the new cut-off will affect around 2500 students in Vadodara alone.”
A student who scored
85% in her class XII CBSE exam applied for sociology honours in Kamala Nehru College, Delhi University, and submitted her original marksheets on getting admission. She is now keen to pursue a course in St Xavier’s College, Mumbai, and has been called for an interview. The college, as per rules, is asking for her original documents. DU is refusing to return the originals unless the student cancels her admission in the college. Both the student and her parent feel that this is unfair, and that she should be given an option to choose where she wants to study.
The parent on condition of anonymity says, “The college initially agreed to return the original marksheet, but later we were told that the originals couldn’t be returned unless a student cancels his/her admission. We don’t want to vacate this seat till we get a confirmation from the other college, which won’t happen until we have the original documents to show.”
Earlier, DU used to return originals to students if they required them during admission time by accepting a written application. This year onwards, the university has changed the rule. According to JM Khurana, dean, students’ welfare, DU, “This decision has been taken in order to keep seats free for students who need them. We can’t block a seat for candidates who are in a dilemma regarding their choice of college.” He adds that DU allows students to cancel their admission from any college, if s/he is getting a seat in a better college after the remaining cut-offs are announced. But this can only happen if a student chooses one of the Delhi University colleges.
Also, students can no longer take a transfer to a college in a different state after completing a year in any course. SK Kaushik, faculty of maths at Kirori Mal College, informs, “Earlier in courses like BSc and BA, state transfer was possible. But since DU has formulated new course programmes, the course structure will differ. If at all a student wants to shift, he has to start all over again from the first year.”
Migration is an issue of concern for many. Varsha Bhalla, a non-Maharashtrian who moved to Pune five years ago, says, “I could not even take my CET exam because I do not have a domicile certificate (requires 15 years of residential proof in Pune). Getting into an engineering college in Pune requires a domicile certificate. Since I do not have one, I cannot pursue the course which I want to opt for.”
Siddhartha Datta, pro-vice-chancellor, Jadavpur University, Kolkata, suggests that colleges should come together and draw certain common rules for admissions. “We should try to keep track of entrance exam dates in other colleges, etc, so that students can apply to various colleges and are able to keep their options open. We must learn to think from the student’s point of view. It is up to an individual to decide where s/he wishes to study.” If a student gets admission at JU and then wishes to migrate to another institution, in a different city, s/he can cancel the admission at JU after paying a small sum as compensation.
For Pradnya Kadam, a student of
Wadia College, Pune, the online
admission process was not very helpful. “While they have made all admission procedures mandatory online, there are people with no access to internet or computers. Also for medical, the website does not provide clarity regarding dates or submission of forms.”
While Shraddha Saxena, mother of a class X student in Mumbai says, “As parents we have a lot of queries that go unanswered. Besides, the online admission process is an ordeal. Rectifying even a minor error becomes difficult.”
PK Sengupta, registrar, Presidency University, Kolkata, maintains the university’s online admission process is transparent. “Students can fill forms online and deposit the fee in the bank. After selection they can even get the admit card from a computer.”
According to Mannar Jawahar, vice-chancellor, Anna University, Chennai, “We follow a transparent admission process. Over two lakh students are admitted across engineering institutions in the state.”
Engineering Colleges across Tamil Nadu that come under Anna University, government and government-aided engineering colleges follow the single window system in Tamil Nadu Engineering Admissions (TNEA). Here the eligibility of a student applying for BE or BTech programme is based on the total score of the core subjects (physic, chemistry and mathematics) in class XII. The total marks of these subjects are taken into consideration on an aggregate of 200 marks.
On a concluding note, J Felix Raj, principal, St Xavier’s College, Kolkata, blames the admission chaos on a severe shortage of quality educational institutions. “Every district should have quality universities and colleges. The proposal of 1,500 universities by National Knowledge Commission must become a reality. We need quality educational institutions — both at the tertiary and school level — which are transparent, credible and committed.”