By Sakshi Jain:
Lakhs of students across the country ardently wish to seek admission in one of India’s most acclaimed University Of Delhi which is more like a battleground with all contenders possessing similar weapons of mark sheet adorned with beautiful 90s. Many aspirants however, lose their battle to get into the best few colleges with a marginal difference of percentage.
However, you needn’t fret if certificates in other curricular activities or sports adorn your walls at home instead of your mark sheets. The practice of DU colleges to reserve 5% seats for admission through sports quota or ECA is a breather for students with nonpareil excellence in extracurricular activities or sports. It is however not a cakewalk, the process to get through this involves a cut-throat competition.
Admission through sports quota is a two-fold process of a centralised fitness test which leads to a college-wise test, followed by an interview. Admission in the top-notch colleges of the university entails the experience of playing at the National or International level. Choice of course in any college is contingent on the will of the college. Applicants with exemplary academic performance have an edge over the others in their choice of course as well as college. The selection is also majorly dependent on the availability of seats and the kind of sports the aspirant is involved in.
In a tête-à-tête with Soumya Babbar, a second year student of B.A. (Hons) Journalism in Lady Shri Ram College and an international basketball player, she recounted her experience of admission through sports quota in one of the University’s top colleges. She accentuated the importance of excelling as a national or an international player with the latter having an edge. “I consider myself fortunate to get both the college and course of my choice because of my proficiency as an international level basket-ball player and respectable score card and moreover the competition among girls is less rigid than boys because of relatively lesser participation in sports of the former,” she said.
Soumya also mentioned how college for them means twelve hours a day since they are required to be on campus to practice much before the day begins for everyone else. The most salient aspect of admission through this process is the agreement that the students have to make to the college of representing their college in the tournaments throughout the three years of their graduation thus earmarking their admission as conditional. It obligates them to prioritise sports above everything else in college, even regular classes. This commitment for unconditional dedication towards sports is a tough choice to make for the students.
As her classmate, I have seen her battling the consequences of her inability to attend classes. The consequences aren’t only limited to academics but are manifold. On the academic front, absence from the lectures not only means the inability to take notes – a prerequisite for any exam but also the inefficacy to experience the metamorphosed world of academics with changing notions of ‘teachers’ as ‘professors’ and ‘classes’ as ‘lectures’. Practical applications of knowledge, interaction with professors, self-assessment, participation in class, interaction with peers and a mutual sharing of knowledge are all elementary aspects of a normal academic curriculum but pivotal to the course of Journalism which she fails to experience.
Soumya, however has high spirits and believes she can cope these for ‘notes are something her friends and professors can help her with.’
Outsiders sometimes feel that such a system of admission is biased but they fail to recognise the hardships that these students face, the balance they maintain, and the sacrifices they have to make. Recounting one of her experiences, Soumya explained how she was dismayed by the idea of not being granted the permission to go for her Department excursion because it clashed with a tournament.
Despite the difficult decision of making an agreement of unquestioning devotion to sports practice and tournaments, the number of applicants for sports quota has been increasing significantly every year, this year being 4065 applicants.
While opportunities do not come without challenges, it lies in the hands of the students to make the best out of the dual opportunity of getting into a college in Delhi University and a platform to excel in their already established forte.