Vinayak Garg :

Delhi University Admission Process

Oct 2009 | When you want to change any system, I feel it is best that one should first formulate the most desirable system, without any constraints and subsequently adapt it based on current constraints. Doing so enables us to not only make a better system right now, but also chart out a longer vision towards which one would like to go.

In this post I would discuss the centralized admission process adopted by Delhi University a few years back through introduction of centralized forms.

Despite the fact that so much amount of money has been spent for the system it still remain predominantly a make-shift arrangement and much below an expected standard from a central university.

Firstly, let me introduce this process to you:

DU admission system 1

Current admission process in DU

The student who wants to apply to any college of the Delhi University can buy a ‘central admission form’ from university counter and submit it back there. The form is read through OMR and enables students to apply simultaneously to multiple courses and colleges. After the deadline of form submission, the university prepares college wise datasheets containing the details of all the students who have expressed interest in the college. The information is passed onto respective colleges through CDs and floppies.

Simultaneously, colleges continue to sell and collect their own forms.

The whole process has inherent drawbacks. Instead of reducing commotion and chaos in the admission process, the ‘central admission form’ of university is actually aiding to increase the same. Through centralized form, many students apply to courses which they don’t even intend to attend, thus pushing the cut offs upwards for most of the colleges. Also, many students apply to the same college through both central and college form, again swelling the cut offs. With cutoffs going high, students hold onto whatever they can get in first list, and wait to make a switch in the second list. This list affects the admission estimates drastically, and this snowballing effect is seen the following cut off lists too!!

So what has this form centralized? Should colleges be allowed to sell their own admission forms? And if the admission process is purely based on marks, then why university doesn’t brings out admission list for each college?

DU admission system

Better admission process proposed for DU

What I propose is a simple, single point admission process.

  1. Having a single unified form across university: This form should be available at all colleges and university offices.
  2. Online form: Have facility to fill the form online, and reduce commotion and chaos
  3. The form should require students to submit a preference order, across all the courses and colleges.( Similar process is followed in engineering admission process, even by AIEEE which has around 1000 affiliated institutes!)
  4. Using this preference order, and the marks the university can simply bring our an admission list. No further lists are necessary.
  5. Colleges should concentrate on marketing themselves to students through seminars and information sessions.

Besides improving the system, this process would also teach students to take decisions. Filling up the preference order, the students would get a chance to plan out their career and take control of their lives!

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Teacher Awards

September 2009 | This year Delhi University awarded distinguished teachers on the occasion of teacher’s day. A survey was conducted by the Vice-Chancellor from the post graduate students about the academics they had at the under graduate level. Based on this feedback 80 teachers from different departments and colleges were awarded in a ceremony, by former President of India, Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam.

Asha Distinguished teacher award delhi universityI am proud to share that my mother was awarded too, as Distinguished Teacher

It is definitely a step in the right direction, but still a lot is left to be desired about the way it was conducted.

A teacher’s primary job is to teach, but still it is not a factor that is considered for appointments, promotions, extensions etc. Would acquiring a Ph.D. definitely imply that one can teach better? Does more research papers reflect that the person can share dreams of the students? It is high time that some measure is developed and used to evaluate the primary job of teachers.

Having student feedback is definitely essential in quantifying the excellence of teaching, but it is needed that the process be holistic and transparent. In this case, the survey was conducted from the post-graduate students of Delhi University, thus putting those teachers at a loss whose students don’t choose to join PG programme at Delhi University.

To sum it I would say, definitely these 80 teachers are Distinguished Teachers, but these are not the only distinguished teachers. (or as an industrial engineer would say the process had, Type 1 error: None of the bad items were accepted, but there is a chance that we rejected good items.)

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My journey through systems ….

Sardar Patel VidyalayaMy first tryst with a system of any kind was at ‘Sardar Patel Vidyalaya’ where I spent 14 years, from my nursery years to finally complete my Senior secondary (or 12th boards as popularly called !!).

I enjoyed school, and recall many instances, mostly small, that shaped my learning and have left a distinct mark on the way I perceive things. But it wasn’t until I actually left the school that I realized how cherished the system at my school was, all the procedures and methodologies which I had taken for granted, now seemed like innovations. Sardar Patel Vidyalaya, named after the legendary freedom fighter Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel, also known as the Iron Man of India, was run by Gujarat Education Society and was based on the principles of free thinking and equitable distribution of opportunities. School encouraged each student to participate in each activity and test his capability in all areas ranging from art, sports, public speaking etc.

It is this idea that I really feel needs to be extended to all education systems across levels: providing students with enough exposure so as to enable them to make them ‘informed choice’ in future. I realize that most of the changes that I have been pursuing in the academic system somewhere draw heavily from this philosophy.

IIT delhiIndian Institute of Technology Delhi, or simply IITD, was my next pit-stop. I entered my class with the lowest rank but graduated with rank 1; this was a land of opportunities. Everything was possible here, and more importantly IITD managed to instill this confidence in people that everything IS possible!! Looking back if there is one thing that I am taking back from IITD then it is the confidence that I can achieve anything that I set my heart upon. So much is going on in IITD which involves students that they are entrusted with responsibilities every now and then, and they learn to face crisis while still keeping a smile on the face.

This is not to say that everything is perfect here and it is heaven, after all it is here that I started my NGO VISVAS to reform the academic system. A lot needs to be changed, both from the end of students and administration, but for the first post I would like to concentrate on the brighter sides.

It was here at IITD that I was given an opportunity to go on a year long exchange to INSA-Lyon, France. I feel that it was a turning point in my life because not only did I matured a lot living alone and traveling across Europe for a year, but exposure to a different academic system actually broadened my awareness about the dynamics of its working and what are the alternatives for each.

Instead of classifying the whole system as ‘good’ or ‘bad’, it had enabled me to breakdown system into pieces and analyze characteristics of each and how it fits in with others to complete the puzzle.

Buddhist MonasteryAfter graduation, I was chosen by SPICMACAY (Society for promotion of Indian Classical Music and Culture Amongst Youth) for a Gurukul scholarship, and I spent 6 weeks in monastery of H.H. Dalai Lama. That was a window into an ecosystem which thrived totally on faith and devotion. Initially it seems that logic stops here and it is blind faith that is governing the lives, but dwelling deeper I could find threads that link it to our system and how so much could be adapted from these monasteries and our religious schools into the main stream educational institutes. I also spent some time at the Tibetan children’s village (TCV), interacting with students conducting career counseling sessions and enriching myself all along.

Our education system certainly lacks faith; faith of students in their teachers, faith of teacher in the system, and faith of system in its students: we need to bring it all back!

I beong to a family of academicians, and throughout I have been in touch with academics of different universities and colleges, with my parents being professors at colleges of Delhi University, and my relatives being professors at different universities across India. Recently my sister completed her studies from Shri Ram College of Commerce, providing me an insight into the student side of the story.

Even with my NGO, V.I.S.V.A.S. I have had an opportunity to interact with many students, teachers and principals of different colleges of Delhi University. We have been involved with activities and product implementation to solve problems of these colleges.

Armed with these experiences I decided to start putting on record my thoughts on education system as prevalent in India, and as we would like it to be. The main purpose of placing my thoughts here is to invite other perspectives and together look at each piece of this puzzle from different angles.

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