Jawaharlal Nehru University Entrance Exam (JNUEE) is all set to shift to a completely online mode of examination from 2019-20 as indicated by a university notification released on March 7, 2018, by M K Pachauri, Joint Registrar – Admissions. A 12-member committee headed by the Vice-Chancellor was set up to submit recommendations for the same.
In a meeting held on May 17, the committee unanimously came to a decision that the offline mode was “tedious, lengthy and time-consuming”. The minutes of the meeting (MoM), signed by 11 members, read, “JNU should completely adopt the online mode of entrance examination with MCQs for all 169 examinations held for all schools and centres. All schools and centres that conduct subjective analytical examinations should change their examination pattern to an analysis of domain knowledge based on MCQs only,” reported the Indian Express.
In the following meeting, it was decided that the entrance exam process for all courses except MPhil and PhD will be based solely on the online objective test to be held most likely in December 2018.
The decision received flak from most of the representatives, and Satarupa Chakraborty, former JNUSU secretary, was first to criticise the bounds of this assembly.
“The committee that is constituted to make JNU entrance online doesn’t have any representation from either the JNU Student’s Union or JNU Teachers Association,” said Chakraborty while talking to the Times of India.
The most talked about concern is that if the entrance exam is made completely online than optional, the applicants from remote villages with nearly non-existent internet connectivity will have to go through extra hurdles just to attempt the exam and some might not even be able to reach that point.
JNU receives around one lakh applications every year and conducts exams for 169 academic programmes in 72 centres across India, covering 54 cities via offline channels.
On the other hand, the move is set to lighten the burden on the shoulders of the admissions committee and will also reduce chances of fraud or getting through via illegitimate means. The results will come out quickly and will no longer depend on the examiner and their mood while evaluating the answer sheets. But does all of that hold ground when everyone eligible won’t be given an equal chance to at least appear for the exam?
The alternatives suggest that there must be an option of taking the exam offline while others are completely against admitting social science students on getting just the MCQs correct.
“Having such a format for social science subjects defeats the purpose because we need to assess the analytical abilities of students. Moreover, the recommendations have to be passed by statutory bodies as committees only look into matters and present reports,” said a former Dean, a source for the Indian Express.
The university has also been consistently receiving criticism for the past month since the MPhil and PhD viva-voce results have been delayed leaving the students in distress. On its website, the notification reads, “This is for information of all that declaration of results of JNUEE 2018-19 for M.Phil/PhD programme has been delayed, as the matter is sub judice.”
One strange thing with JNUEE results this time around was even after declaring the cutoff list for MA courses the results were not only delayed but just showed a mere selected/not selected rather than giving marks which creates a hint of doubt against the admissions committee.
JNU is India’s top-ranking university, and the negative limelight it has been getting lately from an administrative point of view makes sure it slips a few positions on being unbiased, accessible and fair.