DU planning online entrance exams

(Eds: Additional inputs) New Delhi, Dec 20 (PTI) The Delhi University is planning to introduce online entrance exams from next session onwards, officials said here. They said the modalities would be worked out after the admissions committee is constituted. "Currently, suggestions are being sought on the members to be appointed to the Admissions Committee. The admissions committee is likely to be formed in the next two weeks," said an official. The previous Admissions Committee of the varsity had met in January this year and it was decided that the varsity would have online entrance examinations to ensure that students who have not secured high percentage also stand a chance to study in Delhi University. It was decided that a pilot project would be started for the 2018-2020 session for two-three courses, but it was not done and the admissions to courses happened on the basis of cut-offs. "The proposal to have online entrance examinations was made by the Department of Commerce. Some members said the online mode would be difficult for students from far-flung areas who are not well-versed with computers," said an official. The official said it was decided that there would be an offline as well as an online entrance exam to the varsity. It was decided that candidates meeting the minimum eligibility criteria would have to go through a screening test and those who score more than 50 per cent would be shortlisted. "This was done because there are many education boards across India and each board has different difficult levels and different marking system. The entrance test was thought as a way to ensure that all students can be on par and get a shot at getting through the DU," he said. The Delhi University is also mulling whether the entrance exam can be outsourced to the National Testing Agency. "It is yet to be decided whether it can be done. The varsity will bring out a notification and subsequently the process will begin after the admissions committee members are finalised," he added. Some faculty members have expressed reservations about the plan saying it will lead to increase in cost of conducting exams and will also put students who are not well-versed with computers at a disadvantage. A former member of the Admission Committee of the varsity said the time is quite less for working out the modules of online entrance examinations. "The office of the Dean, Students' Welfare has got new members this year in place of members who had been there for close to 10 years. They should at least be given time to understand the process of admission for a year," he added. However, some faculty members have supported the move saying it will help those students who do not meet the cut-offs to realise their dream of studying in the varsity. Currently, the varsity holds entrance examinations for nine undergraduate professional courses and for postgraduate courses. A teachers' group Academics For Action and Development (AAD) condemned the decision of the varsity to hold entrance exams and called it part of the larger design of "privatisation". "It is a conspiracy to deprive students from the SC/ST/OBC, rural and underprivileged segments of society who are not in a position for various reasons to perform well at these examinations. Multiplicity of entrance exams will increase stress levels of students, who are already overburdened," said AAD's chairman Aditya Narayan Mishra. He also said there was no discussion about holding the entrance tests in statutory bodies like the Academic and Executive Councils. The Jawaharlal Nehru University will be holding online entrance exams in May 2019, a move criticised by the students' union which called it a "scam". The JNU students union has alleged that the varsity will have to spend more for the exam at a time when it is having shortage of funds. PTI SLB RT