How Quota Discrimination & Liberal Grading By TN Boards Are Destroying Top Hindu-Run DU Colleges
Students from Tamil Nadu have grabbed over 75 percent of seats in B.Com. (Hons) and B.A. (Hons) courses at the Shri Ram College of Commerce, New Delhi.
How did students from Tamil Nadu manage to gain admission in such large numbers at a college more than 2,500 kilometers away? How is it that students from Delhi did not qualify in enough numbers?
The answer lies in a series of bad laws, incompetent admission procedures and a blatantly communal constitutional provision that hurts Hindu run institutions while rewarding non-Hindu institutions.
Look at the story of a young girl, Ruby Gehlot, (name changed) from Delhi.
Ruby is a New Delhi resident and always dreamt of attending the Shri Ram College of Commerce (SRCC), a premier institute in the national capital, funded by the Central government. She prepared hard for two years in a middle-class CBSE school in Delhi. The hard work paid off and she passed her Class XII board exams with flying colours, scoring 95.5 percent.
On the day of the results, her family was elated – sweets were distributed and parties were organised. Come June, the month of admissions, she had the shock of her life. It appeared that not only her dream college SRCC was out of her reach, but she might have to even move out of New Delhi to seek admission in some other college.
There are many Ruby Gehlots in the national capital. What’s happening?
Shri Ram College of Commerce, under Delhi University (DU), is a premier institution run by a trust whose founder Shriram Lala was a Hindu. This puts the institution in a non-minority legal category. The college is aided 95 percent by the Central government. It is rated as one of the top colleges in Asia for commerce and number one in India. It is a dream college for lakhs of students.
In this post, this writer will explain how the Idea of India state has cast aside all the norms of propriety and imposed a patently unconstitutional admissions regime that will destroy this college and all other non-minority colleges in the DU, if left unchecked.
How students from Tamil Nadu are dominating in the SRCC admissions
This startling report in The Economic Times says, “Tamil Nadu students grab up to 80 percent of seats in SRCC so far.” It turns out that out of 160 seats in the SRCC BCom (Hons) course, 110 seats have been secured by students affiliated to Tamil Nadu state boards. Of these 110 seats, 50 are from one school in Erode district called Bharathi Vidya Bhavan. Odd, right?
How is this possible?
The DU admission process is as follows: There are about 70 colleges under the university, but only about 15 are considered to be of top quality. They are split into two legally distinct groups – that operate under different legal regimes that are as follows:
- Minority colleges – St Stephens, Jesus and Mary, and about four Khalsa colleges. Delhi doesn’t have the ‘linguistic minority’ criteria.
- Non-minority (Hindu) – Shri Ram College, Ramjas, Lady Shri Ram, Hindu, etc.
The minority colleges are allowed by law to apply their own admission processes – including administering a written test and personal interviews. Non-minority colleges, on the other hand, must follow selection norms announced by the Delhi University.
Now what are the selection norms that are announced by the DU?
- Students from all over the country, from any board, can apply to the DU colleges.
- The selection criteria is the marks they scored in their own board!
So, a student scoring 98 percent in Tamil Nadu (TN) board exams is considered better than a student scoring 97 percent in the ICSE/CBSE board exams.
Unbelievable, ain’t it? There is no attempt at normalisation or curve fitting.
The DU rules just take the outputs of completely different processes and merge them in a totally arbitrary way that results in outright discrimination.
This is a classic case of treating unequal processes equally – a patent violation of the most basic of guarantees in our constitution, i.e. equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws within the territory of India.
Discrimination against non-Tamil Nadu boards
Recently, more and more boards are going for liberal grading or grade inflation. But, Tamil Nadu is an extreme case which no board can match as of now.
Here are some facts.
In 2014, in Tamil Nadu medical admission test, 132 students were tied at 100 percent, 292 at 99.875 percent, 218 at 99.750 percent and so on. This happens every year.
Coming to the SRCC admissions in 2016 for BCom (Hons) commerce, the subjects considered for this course are: One language and any three core subjects. Typically, they are accountancy, commerce and economics.
For the TN board accountancy exam, here are some stunning facts: 4,342 students scored 100 percent, 2,833 scored 99.5 percent, 2,501 scored 99 percent. More than 10,000 scored above 99 percent and 15,000 scored above 98 percent, 22,000 over 97 percent.
In commerce exam this year, 3,084 students scored 100 percent, 1,994 scored 99.5 percent and so on. About 7,000 students scored 99 percent or above.
In economics, 442 students scored 100 percent, 690 scored 99.5 percent. More than 2,000 students scored above 99 percent.
The languages, French and Sanskrit are extremely liberal too. In Sanskrit, for example, the average score was 88 percent!
See the below figure. Do you notice the two spikes: one at 70 marks and one around 95 percent marks?
(The spike around 70 marks (35 percent) is because in the exams, no one scores between 60 and 70 out of 200. If you score 61 marks, it will automatically be converted to 70, the passing marks. The surge and spike at and above the 95 percent points to the “bunch at the top” phenomenon.)
If you thought, this was the height of discrimination, think again. There is more.
The non-minority DU colleges like the SRCC have to fill the 27 percent OBC quota in addition to the 22.5 percent for SC and ST. However, the minority colleges are exempt.
But why is this a problem?
The OBC quota like the SC/ST quota is a vertical quota. This means an OBC student, who scores well above the cutoff in the general category is not treated as an OBC.
The OBC group in Tamil Nadu is massive – 74 percent of the entire population of the state is OBC. The reservation system derives from the anti-Tamil-Brahmin movement, so many of the OBC groups are not backward at all.
Since they are not really backward and TN, OBCs are returning thousands of 100 percent scores, they can easily get into the Hindu-run DU colleges in the general category. What happens then is that the non-TN board general category students from Delhi are completely squeezed out. Remember in Delhi only 20 percent of population is OBC and more than 55 percent are unreserved. Minority colleges like St Stephens do not have to deal with any of this.
Importance of autonomy in admission process
As you can see the SRCC - an elite college is now totally helpless. According to DU rules, non-minority colleges, like itself, cannot conduct a second screening. This is allowed only for minority colleges like St Stephens, Jesus and Mary College, and now the Khalsa colleges (the appeal is pending in the Delhi High Court).
St Stephens preserves its admissions integrity by adding a second written test and a personal interview. They can pick and choose the best. But the non-minority colleges like the SRCC cannot.
Don’t blame the kids
However, there is no use blaming the students. They did not set the rules. It was Delhi University that had set the rules. No one from the intelligentsia, academia, or judiciary bothered to speak up. The think-tanks dedicated to education policy with aggregate funding of $200 million (per the FCRA estimates) failed to come up with any analysis of this absurdity.
One’s heart goes out to all the hard-working students, especially the girls, from Delhi CBSE schools who are now sidelined and may have to leave home (or even state) for studying.
Data Source : All 2016 Std 12 data sourced from ReportBee.com who have brilliantly analysed TN Board results. One could not find a similar data for CBSE.
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