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DU Scrapped The Extra-Currriculur Activity Quota And Here’s Why It’s Gravely Problematic

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In a recent announcement, University of Delhi (DU) announced that it won’t be taking admissions based on the Extra-Curricular Activity Quota (ECA) this year as it is not feasible for the faculty to conduct auditions due to the ongoing pandemic. It is no doubt that the ongoing pandemic has filled the 12th-grade students with immense apprehension and anxiety regarding their results and university admissions.

DU, a central public collegiate university, has been a centre of excellence since ages with its affiliate colleges having existed since the pre-independence era. Infamous for its merit-based admission system and ‘high cut-offs’, the University has always been an aspiration for most Indian students.

ECA: Our Saviour

It is clear that marks aren’t everything in a student’s life and not everyone excels in academics – students always have individual identities and varied talents – something their academic scores cannot indicate.

Additionally, the culture of India has always set it apart from the rest of the world and ECA Quota has always been perceived as a method of encouraging extra-curricular talent and potential amongst Indian youth. It has given hope to countless who had talents other than academic to study in such a potent university.

Why Scraping ECA Be Problematic?

By scraping off the ECA quota for this year’s admission process, DU is doing injustice to all those students who have spent years polishing their non-academic talents.

It is an injustice to those students who put in immeasurable efforts while preparing for competitions, the sleepless nights and countless rehearsals they did to get certifications of their talent.

Additionally, the cancellation of examinations by most boards has left students with immense ambiguity regarding their 12th-grade results. For the Central Board of Secondary Examination (CBSE), students who haven’t appeared for the final theory examinations of 1 or 2 subjects will get marks in accordance to the marks they get in the exams they have appeared for.

Due to this, most students are not expecting a great score. The immensely high cut-offs of the university will leave countless students with limited options in choosing something that is going to define the rest of their life.

Sports Over Culture?

The university also announced that it will be offering admission in the sports quota for which it will solely be relying on certificates earned by the applicants and won’t be conducting any auditions for the same. Such action by the university raises a very simple question: why can the university not take certificates for ECA Quota?

The hypocrisy becomes much more evident when one realizes that the university is conducting auditions for its BA MUSIC (Hons.) Course – in which it has asked applicants to upload their audition performance on youtube and attach the link to the video in the application form.

The same question comes up again, why can the same not be done for ECA applicants?

Furthermore, the categories in which DU has allowed admission in the ECA Quota are National Service Scheme (NSS) and National Cadet Corps (NCC). Out of the 5000+ schools in Delhi, only 272 have an affiliation with NCC with no reliable data for NSS.

Why Does This Matter?

Representational image/ ECA societies of DU.

Several alumni of DU have become marvels in entertainment, literature, music, etc industries with Amitabh Bachchan, Amitav Ghosh, Manoj Bajpayee to name a few. The ECA Societies of DU are famous for being the most active societies in the nation. ECA is an immensely important part of the DU Culture and by denying admission on this basis, the university is denying the opportunity of polishing one’s talent to countless students.

What Can Be Done?

Allowing ECA admissions on the basis of certificates

The university can very easily ask its applicants to upload self-attested certificates to prove their merit in various fields.

Online auditions

Similar to the method for BA MUSIC (Hons.) course, the varsity can ask its applicants to submit videos of their music, dance, theatre etc performances for a better evaluation of their merit and talent.

Consider internships

It is evident that many schools do not offer the opportunity to enrol in NCC and NSS to their students but there has been an evident trend of students interning with various NGOs and Start-ups as a way to contribute to society.

With all major world universities accepting and considering these internships while evaluating applications, DU must consider them too as to admit a more diverse group of students who are passionate about serving the society even if their institutions do not provide them with the right platforms.

The batch of 2020 has already suffered several setbacks in what is understood to be a pivotal transition in a student’s life. By denying admission on the basis of talent, the varsity is denying hope to countless students and its own societies.

If you agree with the given arguments,  then sign my petition here.

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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.

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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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