Road to Delhi University likely to have entrance exam bumpers

(This story originally appeared in on Feb 24, 2021)

NEW DELHI: With a common entrance test now a certainty for getting admissions in all central universities, Delhi University is likely to push for a system where both merit and the entrance test results will count for admissions. While many feel this is the right way forward, there are others in the university who would like to make the Central University Common Entrance Test (CUCET) the sole entry point into DU because this would help remove the tyranny of Class XII board marks in the admissions process.

TOI had reported earlier that a mandatory, computer-based “high-quality aptitude test” conducted by National Testing Agency would determine admission to all central universities for the 2021-22 academic session.

PC Joshi, acting vice-chancellor of DU and a member of the education ministry committee that recommended modalities for a university entrance exam, confirmed, “CUCET will be finalised soon and Delhi University will adopt it”.

Sobha Bagai, DU dean of admissions for 2020-21, was certain that CUCET would benefit students and the university. “The entrance exam will ease admissions. Earlier, we did not know how to differentiate among students who had scored very high marks in Class XII. CUCET will help in this, like in our undergraduate courses that require admission tests,” she said.

Gurpreet Singh Tuteja, former dean of students’ welfare at DU, also welcomed the move. “Admission via entrance exams is a time-tested process that DU has experience of for certain courses, where merit, the DU Entrance Test (DUET) marks and even an interview count,” Tuteja said. But he advised proper deliberation before implementing CUCET in DU.

Ramanujan College principal S P Agarwal too was in favour of the entrance exam. “Admission through DUET uses the same formula of merit and entrance marks,” noted Agarwal. “In the merit system, the problem is that different boards have different scoring systems. This makes the admission process uneven in terms of diversity and demography. The 50:50 formula will ensure evenness and good students are bound to get admission.”

However, Venkat Kumar, principal, Sri Venkateswara College, observed that CUCET’s impact on DU admissions would depend on the weightage the common entrance exam got. “If equal weightage is given to Class XII marks and CUCET scores, there would be no big difference from earlier,” Kumar said. “Higher weightage to Class XII would mean status quo, so only by giving more weightage to CUCET will there be a significant impact and the national entrance test will matter to students and to DU.”

There are many in DU who feel this is the right time to do away with Class XII merit and implement CUCET to usher in a clearer admission system. Debraj Mookerjee, associate professor at Ramjas College, suggests DU should opt for one clear process: either the entrance exam or the marks scored in the board exams. ““I don’t know how they will go by a mixture of Class XII marks and the entrance scores. This will create one complication or another,” explained Mookerjee.

He continued, “If Class XII marks are to be considered, the tabulation can happen only after verification, rendering the entire admission process as fraught as now, and probably requiring the list system. But if entirely done through the common university entrance exam, then admissions can be easier and students can choose their course preferences before colleges are assigned. This is how it is done with engineering and medical entrance exams.”

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