‘Compromises Transparency’: DU’s New Admission Quota Sparks Row

College principals can admit 5 students in any course, provided their merit is not less than 10% from last cut-off.

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Education
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College principals can admit 5 students in any course, provided their merit is not less than 10% from last cut-off.
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Delhi University’s decision allowing colleges to admit five students above the sanctioned strength on a discretionary basis has drawn criticism from members of the central varsity’s academic council, who have written to Vice Chancellor PC Joshi, asking him to withdraw the controversial order.

In the letter, Academic Council members Deo Kumar, Kanchan, Rajesh Kumar, and Saikat Ghosh have alleged that providing college principals and university officials with such discretionary powers seriously “compromises transparency.”

“Such a discretion given to Principals and the University administration not only violates the statutory provisions of the admission policy but seriously compromises the transparency and probity in the admission process. Candidates with lower cut-offs will be allowed admission by the administrators at different levels.”
Excerpts from the letter written by AC members.

AC members also said that the decision to allow colleges to use their discretion to admit five students is an attempt to “restart opaque practices in the name of COVID 19.”

What is the role of COVID19 in this admission process?

Delhi University had set-up a committee after a few colleges requested it to explore the possibility of providing “a few seats to the college in view of COVID-19 pandemic for admissions to UG Courses, over and above the sanctioned strength as supernumerary seats.”

Subsequently, a notification issued by Delhi University’s Registrar on 21 December 2020, declared that the central varsity had approved the committee’s recommendation, which provided for “5 admissions under college-university seats in the current academic session.”

Although the circular mentions COVID-19 as the driving force behind this mode of admission, there’s no mention of COVID-19 affected candidates or children of COVID warriors in guidelines issued by the university for admissions under this scheme.

How will students be admitted?

  • Under this mode of admission, college principals can offer admission to a total of five students in UG courses, out of which two “may be suggested by the university.”
  • Only those students whose merit is upto five percent lower from the last cut-off list for that specific course in that specific college will be considered for admission.
  • In no case, the difference in merit can exceed 10 percent from the last cut-off.
  • Candidates who had successfully registered themselves through the university’s admission portal will be considered.
  • The names of five students will have to be submitted by the principal before a committee that has been constituted for the purpose.

Are college principals allowed to offer admission to a student based only on merit?

A senior Delhi University official, who did not wish to be named, said that principals can choose any student as long as they fall within the “five percent relaxation rule.” The official added that although college principals can offer admission to someone whose merit is 10 percent lesser than the last cut off, they should only exercise this option sparingly.

For instance, if a student has scored 90 percent and the cut-off for subject of her choice has closed at 95 percent, colleges can use their own judgment to offer admission to someone who has scored between 90 to 95 percent.

So, who exactly will get admission under this scheme?

The official clarified that this mode of admission is mostly for children of college staff, who may have missed out on admission by a few marks.

Dismissing allegations of non-transparency, the official said that since the margin of cut-off relaxation was so little, the decision cannot in anyway be termed as corrupt or unethical.

“There’s only a 5 to 10 percent relaxation and that too, for just five seats in the entire college. Had we offered 30 percent relaxation, you could have called this a corrupt practice. Some colleges complained that children of staff were missing out on admission by a few marks and wanted to admit them.” 
Delhi University Official 

Asked about how and who will decide on the two names that “may be suggested by the university” in every college, the official said the varsity will not suggest any name for admission under this scheme.

The real purpose, behind this rider, was to discourage colleges from suggesting more than three names, knowing that the university could suggest two more.

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