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No more deprivation points: JNU will lose its essence, say students

UGC guidelines to be followed for MPhil, phD admissions

Written by Aranya Shankar | New Delhi |
Updated: March 18, 2017 10:42:09 am

Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) is set to lose the most unique feature of its admission policy — the deprivation point model — with the Delhi High Court Thursday asking it to follow the 2016 University Grants Commission (UGC) guidelines “without any deviation”. JNU’s “deprivation point model” facilitates entry of students, especially women, from backward regions. The UGC guidelines do not mention the model and have recommended giving 100% weightage to viva-voce marks and making the entrance test the sole qualifying criteria for MPhil/PhD admissions. As of now, JNU follows a 70:30 ratio for written test and viva marks. After protests by students alleging discrimination at the viva level, the university decided to alter the ratio to 80:20.

However, with deprivation points on the verge of being scrapped, current students — who made it to the institution on the basis of such affirmative actions — said JNU would lose its essence if the diverse mix of caste, class, region and gender ceases to exist.

Chitra Saini, who is doing her MPhil in West Asian Studies, has benefitted from the deprivation points model, not once but twice. Hailing from Churu in Rajasthan, and born into a lower middle class OBC family which speaks Hindi at home, Saini was completely thrown off by the English questions in her entrance exam when she applied for BA in three languages in 2011.

“The cut-off for BA Arabic was 58 out of 100. I made it in only because I got five points for being a woman and another five for being from a Quartile 1 district (most backward). Last year, I applied for MPhil and got six points. If this policy is dropped, people like me won’t get entry,” she said.

Sruti Sriram from Chennai, who had got five gender deprivation points when she took admission in 2015 in MA International Relations, said it is because of such policies that JNU has more women students. “In my class of 120, about 65-70 are women…,” she said. Harchand Ram, an SC student from Tapra village near Barmer, Rajasthan, said, “I started out from a remote location, and ended up in here… If not for those points, will students like me get into universities like JNU?”

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