With the second Covid-19 wave that led the government to postpone the class XII board exams and the cancellation of class X boards, the higher educational institutions witnessed a mixed bag of reactions. As per the announcement, the fresh dates of CBSE Class XII exams will be announced only after June 1, following a review of the Covid-19 situation.
“The rescheduling of class XII boards will leave us with no option but to delay the admission process at the University of Delhi (DU),” says a senior spokesperson from the university. Presently, DU is looking at three possibilities: Should NTA conduct the Central Universities Common Entrance Test (CUCET) for admission to 41 central universities, DU will give 50% weightage to CUCET, and another 50% weightage to class XII board exam scores. “If certain states fail to conduct the class XII boards owing to the rise in Covid cases, DU will give 100% weightage to the CUCET scores. And if there are impediments to implementing CUCET, DU will go ahead with the existing cutoffs-based UG admissions in addition to DUET for 7-8 courses. Last year, the last date for admission to certain courses was December 31,2020. Inevitably, a delayed start to the new academic session is only to be expected,” the official says.
According to Madhu Paranjape, general secretary, Bombay University and College Teachers Union (BUCTU), postponement of certain board exams in 2020 disrupted the academic calendar amid the extended lockdown. “As compared to 2019-20, the number of admissions for first year BA, BCom, BSc at Mumbai University in 2020-21 academic session was 37,000 less, accounting for a drop of 16%. The new academic cycle may not be all that different.”
Paranjape expresses concern over the nearly 20% students who did not take admissions in the 2020-21 academic session and the fact that they are out of the academic system. She fears a recurrence in the future where students may face acute financial crunch resulting in non-payment of fees, and lack of internet access with another year of remote learning.
Tapati Mukhopadhyay, president, Maharashtra Federation of Universities and College Teachers Organisations urges the government to undertake “aggressive measures to ensure online learning in a holistic form and give subsidies to the less privileged, specially girls from the rural interiors, to ensure they do not drop out”.
The most affected disciplines, according to her, are science and technology-based courses that have a compulsory lab component.” Unless science education prospers, the quality of higher education in the country will be compromised. In the current scenario, with labs and colleges being closed, many subjects will cease to exist in the future and teachers will be surplus. The pandemic will most likely take away livelihoods,” she says.
Reacting to the postponement of CBSE class XII boards, Kamini Kumar, pro-VC, Ranchi University says, “Last year, students were seeking admission in October and the new academic session started in November 2020, as per the UGC notifications; but none of our seats went vacant. This year too, the new session is likely to commence in October/November. We expect delayed admission of degree courses, but students will not give up on their higher education plans, be it for traditional or nonconventional courses,” she adds.
The admission process in private institutions like Shiv Nadar University, Delhi-NCR, has undergone a sea change. “We had altered our admissions process last year having realised that conventional processes cannot work in these unusual times. We are making provisional admission offers to candidates based on their performance in the remotely-proctored entrance tests, SNUSAT and APT, and personal interviews.
Selected candidates need to secure a defined minimum percentage in class XII board exams to secure admission, which can be updated whenever the results are declared. We also accept admission applications through JEE, SAT and ACT scores,” says Anil Nair, director – Admissions & Outreach, Shiv Nadar University, on ways to cope with the changed circumstances.
Courtesy: The Times of India