An aspirant to Delhi University from the hills of Darjeeling was happy she had qualified for Geography (Hons) in a college after the third cut-off. Despite the Gorkhaland agitation, she reached the college on the last day of admission under the list. The non-teaching staff calculated her percentage and took her documents, and she was told she could check her name on the college website and pay the fees after 4 pm.
But within an hour, college officials called to tell her there will be 2.5% deduction in her aggregate marks, because she had included Nepali in her ‘best four’ subjects. She was told it was because Nepali is not an ‘academic subject’ listed by the university. The 2.5% deduction taken into account, she failed to meet the cut-off and was told to wait for the fourth list.
On inquiring with the university, she was told that Nepali, along with many other languages such as Tamil, Malayalam, Odia, Kannada and Marathi attract the same deduction in marks — even though they are listed in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution. These languages are not a part of the Modern Indian Languages (MIL) list considered by the university, which means they cannot be included in calculation of the ‘best of four’ marks, officials said.
Languages that can be included are Hindi, English, Persian, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Urdu, Bengali and even Arabic. This rule has led to some discomfiture among aspirants. “I scored well in Nepali, which is why I included it my ‘best four’. It is an academic subject in our Plus Two. I have no choice but to wait for the fourth list,” the aspirant, who did not wish to be named, said.
She had appeared for the Class XII board under the Council for the Indian School Certificate Examination. The board conducts the exam for 16 Indian languages, five foreign languages and one classical language.
Similarly, in state boards, students often take the language they speak as an elective subject. A student from the Kerala state board, who took admission in Hansraj College, spoke of the same issue. “I scored above 90 in Malayalam but still faced a deduction. So I added English, History, Political Science and Economics instead,” the student, who took admission in History (Hons) under the second list, said. He had 95.25% — the exact cut-off declared by the college.
The university reasoned that there are no departments to teach these languages. Ashutosh Bhardwaj, OSD admission, said, “The course admission committee of each department decides eligibility criteria on what can be included in the ‘best of four’. That is approved by the admission standing committee. I have nothing to do with this.” Deputy Registrar (Academics) Rohan Rai said he is not the right person to comment on the matter.
But teachers acknowledged the problem and said the university has not updated the list of languages for a long time.
“The university just has to get an amendment in the executive council and say that languages listed in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution also need to be included for the university admission process. If not this, the state boards, CBSE and others should write to the university,” said Sanam Khanna, who teaches English at Kamala Nehru College.
The CBSE had earlier written to DU, after which subjects like Legal Studies, Home Science and Informatic Practices were made academic subjects.
“To maintain the central character of the university, DU can make these changes. Banaras Hindu University, also a central university, includes Nepali and has several other language departments,” said Saroj Giri, a political science teacher at DU.
This matter was raised by an executive council member at the university meeting on July 3. “During zero hour, I had said it is important to allow students to include modern Indian languages in the ‘best of four’. Not allowing this will discourage students from opting for these language during their Plus Two,” said Rajesh Jha, an executive council member.