Jadavpur University (JU) has been a sanctuary for students – with a free, unbiased admission procedure that has been conducted for over three decades. And as a student, the recent events on the campus seem to be completely unacceptable.
Those who follow the news must have seen the ongoing protests in JU. We have had a sit-in demonstration for over 50 hours in order to partake in our basic right to be informed of how the administration plans to change our admission procedures. Perhaps, an overview of the previous admission procedure is necessary in order to justify why it should not be done away with.
The admission tests for both the M.A. and B.A. courses are conducted by the respective departments themselves. It is a procedure initiated by the teachers within the department. They set the question papers, change the pattern from year to year, and evaluate the scripts themselves. On the day of the exams, student volunteers are present in order to guide aspiring students to their examination halls – where, much like the ICSE and CBSE exams, the invigilators open sealed packets and distribute the question papers among the students. It is a procedure that has almost no faults, and is completely based upon the merit of the students. If they score well in the admission tests, they are invited to be a part of the university. If they do not score well, it is the end of the line for them – they may either attempt the examination the next year, or opt for a different college.
A few weeks ago, the students (as well as the teaching faculty) were suddenly informed that the administration has decided to scrap the exams altogether. This raised a lot of questions:
1. What happens to the thousands of students who have been preparing for the JU entrance examinations since their ISC/CBSE/Higher Secondary exams ended?
2. What about the will of the students who form an intricate part of the administration of the university by virtue of being one of the primary reasons the university exists in the first place?
3. Was this another ploy by the government to gain a foothold in JU – something they weren’t able to, during the implementation of the Student Council?
The questions were many, and the students took to the streets yet again to find answers to these.
After a sit-in demonstration spanning for over 50 hours, the administration yielded: they told us that they would not completely scrap the admission process. But instead, they put a 50% weightage upon the board exam results of the applicants and a 50% weightage upon the marks which they’ll score in their entrance exams. The exams were postponed due to these new developments.
A few days back, a prominent news agency published that admission tests in JU will be held – but the questions will be set by outsiders. There were no specifics as to who these outsiders would be, and what their qualifications would be, either. Perhaps a Political Science major would set questions for an English admission test? We are still in the dark regarding the details.
However, one thing is clear: the government has now set its eyes upon JU, and its students face a relentless struggle against those in positions of power. A struggle to uphold the spirit of fairness in JU is about to begin – and while the future looks dark, we, the students, refuse to give up that which belongs to us.
Featured image used for representative purposes only.