Admission in Delhi University: Coping with 100 per cent marks

As many as 47,881 admission seekers this year had secured above 90% marks in their Board exams, most of them conducted online. The number was almost three times higher than last year

Representative image
Representative image

Amitabh Srivastava

The uproar over ‘Marks Jihad’ in Delhi University has died down but admission in Delhi University remains a hot potato with no solutions in sight. Professor Rakesh Pandey, teaching Physics at Kirorimal College, had used the phrase to protest a rush of students this year from Kerala with 100 per cent marks.

But then Kerala was not the only state this year where an abnormally high number of students securing full marks. While as many as 502 students from Kerala alone with 100 per cent marks in Class XII sought admission this year, last year the total number of applicants with 100 per cent marks was only 234.

As many as 47,881 applicants this year had secured 90% marks, compared to 18,510 applicants last year. Over 70,000 CBSE students this year are said to have scored over 95% marks this year, compared to 38,686 students in 2020.

Regular classes put off by the pandemic and School Boards holding examinations online and their liberal marking policy are said to have led to this extraordinary situation. Unable to refuse admission to anyone with 100 percent marks, some DU colleges were forced to take in more students than seats available.

The chaotic admissions this year has prompted some soul searching. “I’ve always decried the overreliance on marks as the main criterion for DU admission, but this is ridiculous. If “Jihad” means a struggle (with yourself above all), the Kerala students scoring 100% have struggled against odds to get to DU. Interview them first if you wish before letting them in, but don’t demonise their marks!” tweeted Thiruvananthapuram MP Shashi Tharoor.

Even the RSS backed National Democratic Teachers Forum (NDTF) in DU did not support Pandey’s irresponsible social media post. In a statement NDTF said, “Delhi University is a Central University and is open for admission to students from all states and all Boards. Students from all states have equal right to study in the best institutions and constituents of DU.” Vijay Jolly, former DUSU President and ex Global Convenor of BJP Overseas Affairs also frowned on the controversy.

Neeraj Kundan, President of NSUI (Youth Wing of Congress) claimed that students with access to computers and high-speed Internet etc. did better in the online tests than the less privileged students. DU needed to take a close, hard look at admissions, he felt. He also pointed out, “Earlier an admission seeker would reserve his seat in the first cut off while in the second cut off,she would select the college to study. This time DU is charging Rs.1000 for cancellation, which is unfair.”

Dr. Kavita Sharma, former Principal of Hindu College and former Director of India International Centre, holds that marks by all school boards should be given on percentile basis and not on percentage.

“There are over two dozen school Boards in the country conducting Secondary exams; there are also foreign boards and international schools. Percentages will never work. Admission on the basis of entrance exams would also be problematic. The only solution is to take the percentile as the criteria as they do for admission in IITs and IIMs.”

Alka Lamba, another former DUSU president, points out that the government needs to build more colleges and universities and employ more teachers.

“Why should a child be criticised for scoring 100 percent when we should encourage more students to get 100 percent,” she exclaims. “Earlier they used to make fun of children coming from Bihar; today they are criticising Kerala because it has a Communist government...,” she fumes.

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