Can Certificates Judge Talent? DU ECA Aspirants on Lack of Trials

The University of Delhi has decided to hold ECA admissions only on the basis of certificates this year.

3 min read

Video Editor: Vishal Kumar

“How can we just take certificates as the sole basis for granting admission on the basis of ECA?” wonders Delhi University aspirant Soumya Bhayana, as a cloud of uncertainty looms over her attempts to secure admission into the central university under the extracurricular activity (ECA) quota.

For long, Soumya had hoped to get into under the ECA quota which includes dance, drama, music, painting and theatre among a total of 14 categories.

Usually, DU conducts ECA admissions on the basis of trials (that carry 75% weightage) and certificates (25% weightage). However, owing to the coronavirus pandemic this year, the university has decided to conduct ECA admissions solely on the basis of certificates.

Earlier, the university had decided to conduct ECA admissions only on the basis of NSS and NCC certificates, but later rolled back the decision.

For Agra resident Ritika Sundrani, who keeps an active interest in debate, it is not the lack of talent, but the lack of adequate opportunities at the school level that could prevent her from getting into her dream DU college.

“I am an ardent debater who has been a part of many competitions since grade five. But due to a lack of opportunities, I wasn’t able to participate in any state-level, zonal-level, national-level or international-level competitions. And due to that, I don’t have a good number of certificates for the same.”
Ritika Sundrani, ECA Aspirant

According to DU, ECA applicants would be required to upload a maximum of best five certificates of preceding three years dating from 1 May 2017 to 30 April 2020. This means that all certificates obtained by students during the lockdown period will not be accepted.

“I tried my best to explore my talent in the recent quarantine days and participated in various online debate competitions, but my certificates won't be accepted in ECA because of the fact that the guidelines issued by the Delhi University state that the certificates should be dated till 30 April 2020,” Ritika adds.


Both Aspirants & Present DU Students Against Certificate-Based Evaluation

Out of total 100 marks to be awarded under the ECA quota this year, participation or prizes in competition will carry 44 marks, training and examinations will carry 28 marks, workshops 16 marks and performance or published work or exhibition 12 marks.

This worried students like Soumya, who fear that the lack of certificates across different levels of achievement could scuttle their plans of getting into DU.

“I have one certificate of my diploma, which will come under the training or examination category, which holds 28 marks and I can pull out another certificate of performance that I have, which will carry around 12 marks. So, this means that out of 100, there is no way that I can get 40 marks.”
Soumya Bhayana

Not just aspirants, present students at the University of Delhi, who secured admission under the ECA quota say that certificates are not the best way to judge a student’s potential or talent.

Second-year DU student Yashvardhan Shukla, who got admission under the ECA quota in 2018, says he couldn't have imagined getting into a course of his choice, had there been a certificate-based evaluation.

“As an alternative what the university could have planned or what the university could plan is postponing the ECA quota until normalcy is back on earth and having a separate window for the ECA quota, including the trials and the certificate evaluation, once the normal admissions have been done,” he says.

Why is DU Not Holding ECA Trials?

According to reports, the a sub-committee at University of Delhi had deliberated various ways of holding trials, but was forced to opt for certificate-based evaluation for ECA for multiple reasons.

  • Conduct of trials in states by third party agencies was discussed but the high price associated with it made the option financially nonviable.
  • Since DU has received over 25,000 application under ECA, it was felt that asking students to upload these videos would not be practical as the DU portal won’t be able to handle it.
  • Finally, a decision against live trials was ruled out as any candidate could be a disadvantage due to bad connectivity.

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