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DU vs Jamia vs JNU: Which Uni’s PG Entrance Exam Tests Your Aptitude Best?

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The CBSE board exams suffer from the limitation of what I like to call the ‘objectivity of subjectivity’. A comprehensive set of questions are asked, but strict adherence to answer keys and the desire for ‘memorised text duplication’ on paper, sets the tone for absolutism. Thus, an antecedent for manufactured minds is set! CBSE results come as a matter of surprise and shock; arbitrariness reigns supreme, and subjectivity is dethroned.

Apart from the CBSE board exams, the entrance examinations conducted by various universities involve, no doubt, massive logistical, management and evaluation considerations. And for this reason alone, any harsh criticism of their evaluation techniques would be misdirected, for they must be considered both a formative element and product of the structure that is our education economy. For a system of testing to be centralised, efficient and viable, objectivity itself becomes imperative. The Delhi University Master’s Entrance Exam is a case in point. In 2018, a student applying for the master’s course in History had to sit in front of a computer and answer 100 MCQs in two hours. It afforded incredible convenience to the students and the process of evaluation, resulting in faster results and virtually no hassle of manual labour.

Let’s compare this with Jawaharlal Nehru University Master’s Entrance Examination (JNUEE). The same student applying for an M.A. in History in JNU has to write a 3-hour long paper, divided into three sections – a comprehensive attempt to assess the student’s understanding, knowledge and critical ability. For this year, JNU conducted the examination in December 2017, while most universities like DU conducted theirs in June 2018. It is easy to imagine the cumbersome and intensive process of evaluation that the university management has to face each year, along with the looming possibility of result delays. Subjectivity can invite bias based on ideology, vocabulary and other variables; objectivity, on the other hand, is promising within its binary of right or wrong.

However, an objective test is symptomatic of a ‘fact-based’ approach that limits assessment and the discipline, especially in the Arts, which thrives on multiplicity. In a sense, it can be said that JNU forsakes managerial convenience for qualitative testing and comprehensive evaluation. Anuj (name changed), a student who took the JNUEE in December 2017, says, “They basically let me decide the field (to some extent) on which I wanted myself to be judged. Their challenge for us was to show them how well our grasp of the topic really is.” JNUEE required the students to attempt at least one of the two questions in the third section from the field they wish to specialise in. The renown JNU enjoys is perhaps, in part, a result of this approach.

Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI), in its entrance exam, has a refreshing combination of both objective- and subjective-type questions, distributed as 40 and 60 marks, respectively. This layout balances fact and ideology – an ideal balance to ascertain the overall skill and knowledge of the individual, without heavily relying on either.

Avijit Singh, formerly a student of Ramjas College took the DU, JMI and JNU entrance exams and said, “The DU paper was 100% objective. The questions were extremely difficult and painfully specific. There were also many glitches – like a question not having a proper answer in the options. Jamia’s exam, on the other hand, was 60% subjective and 40% objective. The subjective part was great. Had actual tangible questions discussing the rise of Gandhian politics and globalisation among other things that must have made the teachers aware of the acumen of the students they want in their university. The objective part was still very dicey. The JNU paper was subjective but slightly lengthy. I guess it had the best pattern out of the three.”

The National Eligibility Test (NET) is conducted by the University Grants Commission (UGC) to determine the eligibility for lectureship and for awarding the Junior Research Fellowship (JRF) to Indian nationals. A long-standing demand of teachers and students alike is for the paper, which is completely objective, to move to a subjective-type evaluation. This is cited as crucial in order to produce better teachers and improve the domain of knowledge-production in general. When an examination becomes an exercise in fact-checking, diversity caves and selection inefficiencies become rampant.

In the civilisational hunger for remuneration and climbing hierarchies, models of convenience flourish, even within centres of knowledge. Outlining the duality of objectivity-subjectivity at the threshold of such knowledge centres seems like an inconvenient point of contention. However, examinations can and must function as effective potential-detectors rather than being ceremonies or farces.

Created by Saptak Choudhury

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

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The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

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With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

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A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

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She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

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A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

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A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
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