The incredible unconstitutional admissions process in Delhi University
Young Ruby Gelhot (name changed) a resident of Delhi is completely devastated. She had dreamed of attending Shri Ram College of Commerce, a premier centrally funded college. She and her friends prepared hard for two years in a CBSE mid range school in Delhi. The hard work paid off as she passed with flying colors and scored 95.5% is Class 12th exams. On the day of the results, her whole family was elated – sweets and parties happened. Come June she had the shock of her life. It not only appeared that her dream college SRCC was out of reach , but she might even have to move out of NCR and seek admission in some other college.
The same story with Utsav Ganguly from Kolkata, who scored 96.25 per cent, added: “Honestly it felt great to have made it. Back home it felt like ‘Oh my god! I have scored so much.’ He was a topper in the West Bengal Board exams But after coming to Hindu College here I realised that everyone has scored well. It feels good to see a lot of students performing well ..
you will not believe what is going on in the nations capital right under the noses of the highest courts and the seat of the government. Read on.
Shri Ram College of Commerce is a college under Delhi University. It is a premier institution run by a trust whose founder Shriram Lala belonged to the Hindu religion. This puts it in a non-minority legal category. The college is aided to the extent of 95% by the Central Govt. It is rated as one of the top colleges in Asia for commerce and the number one in India. For lakhs of students in the commerce stream across the country it is a dream to get into this college. In this post, I will explain how the “Idea of India” state has cast aside all norms of propriety and imposed a patently unconstitutional admissions regime that will destroy this college and all other non-minority colleges in DU if left unchecked.
Tamilnadu students claim 110 or 160 seats in SRCC
The startling revelation by a Times of India report that reported “Tamilnadu students claim 80% of seats in top Delhi Commerce college” let the cat out of the bag. It turns out that out of 160 seats in SRCC B.Com (Hons) 110 were are taken by students from Tamilnadu Board. Of the 110 seats, 50 are from one school in Erode District called Bharathi Vidya Bhavan. Kind of odd isnt it? Are the TN Board students head and shoulders above the CBSE, ICSE, and all the other boards, that they can dominate to this extent? After all Tamilnadu is the land of Ramanujan, CV Raman, is it not?
Treating unequals equally – a matter of extraordinary processes
The DU Admission process is as follows. There are about 70 DU Colleges but only about 15 in the top tier. They are split into two legally distinct groups. Please have patience and bear with me here for making this article a bit longer. Because if you do not know about the admissions process you will not be able to follow what the issue really is. The DU colleges are split into two groups that operate under different legal regimes as follows.
- Minority colleges – St Stephens, Jesus and Mary, and about 4 Khalsa colleges ;Delhi does not have linguistic minority
- Non Minority (Hindu) – – Shri Ram College, Ramjas, LSR, Hindu, and the rest
The Minority Colleges are allowed by law to do their own admissions process – including administering a written test and face to face interviews. The Hindu trust run colleges must follow the selection norms announced by Delhi University. Now what are the selection norms that are announced by DU ?
- Students from all over the country from any board can apply to DU colleges
- The selection criteria is the marks they obtained in their own board !!
- So a 98% from TN Board is considered better than 97% from ICSE which is better than 96% from CBSE.
I have never seen a system like this anywhere. There is no attempt at normalization 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 case of treating unequal processes equally – a patent violation of the most basic of guarantees, the equal protection guarantees of Art 14 of the Constitution. (whatever is left of it).
Invidious discrimination against non Tamilnadu boards
The recent trend is for all boards to adopt a very low testing standard and be liberal with grading. Post UPA almost all boards like CBSE , Kerala, ICSE are entering into a grade inflation spiral. But Tamilnadu is an extreme case which no board can match as of now.
Here are some facts.
In 2014, in Tamilnadu medical admissions there were 132 students tied at 100%. At each 0.125% typically there will be about 200-300 students tied. For example: there will be 132 tied at 100%, 292 at 99.875%, 218 at 99.75% … and so forth. This happens every year, even in 2016.
Coming to SRCC admissions in 2016 for B.Com(Hons) Commerce, the subjects considered for this course are language plus any 3 core subjects usually accountancy, commerce and economics. In TN Board Accountancy exam here are some stunning facts. 4,342 students scored 100%, 2,833 score 99.5%, 2501 scored 99.0%. More than 10,000 scored above 99% and 15,000 scored above 98%, 22,000 over 97%. In Commerce 2016, 3,084 students scored 100%, 1,994 scored 99.5% and so forth. About 7,000 students scored 99% or above. In Economics, 442 scored 100%, 690 scored 99.5%, more than 2,000 scored more than 99%. The languages French and Sanskrit are extremely liberal too. In Sanskrit for example the AVERAGE score is 88% !!
The typical statistical shape in Tamilnadu is “bunch at the top” as shown below in accountancy. The spike around the 70/200 (35%) marks is because in TN no one scores between 60 and 70 out of 200. If you make 61 you will be pulled up to 70/200 – which is the pass mark ! The surge and spike at the 95%+ points to the bunch at the top.
Why one school in Erode?
Many people are surprised given that more than 10,000+ students from TN would have an aggregate score of 97% or above, how come only 110 got into SRCC which only has about 180 seats in the first round. Any what is so special about this one school Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan in Erode? The answer is very simple. The other schools in TN simply do not know about this incredible offer!! Until now.
Most principals in TN cannot believe this is possible in India. That their students can just apply using their board marks to elite DU colleges with no entrance test and their percentage marks are not even normalized ! This kind of information takes time to spread, it turns out this particular school has been silently dominating DU admissions for some time now. In 2015-16, about 30% of seats in SRCC – around 100 of 300 were taken by Tamilnadu Board. Out of that Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan Erode school took about 40 seats.
Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan is a good school producing consistent “centums” (a centum is 100% marks). In 2016, this school has scored about 230 centums in various subjects but it is not even the top most school. There are schools in Namakkal District that have 290 centums (Green Park Matric school – and that is just the girls). Now the word is out. If this information is widely known to all Tamilnadu schools – then you can be assured there are enough students to fill the entire DU capacity several times over. In TN Board about 2.2 lakh students are in the commerce stream. There are roughly 20,000 seats in B.Com and B.A Economics together in DU with about 2,000 seats from elite colleges. Easily 20,000 from TN will have aggregate of 97% or above. That is enough to fill entire DU capacity 10 times over.
Do not blame or shame the kids
Please do not use this data to blame the Tamilnadu students who have made use of this ill conceived admissions process – it is not their fault. They did not set the rules. The Delhi University did, the intellectuals, academicians, AAP and BJP politicians, judges who live just down the street did not EVEN BOTHER to do a basic check. Even now the only analysis available on this stunning phenomenon is ON THIS LITTLE BLOG. There are Thinktanks dedicated to Education Policy all over New Delhi with aggregate funding of $200M (per estimates from FCRA).
There losers in this ludicrous process are the hapless Delhi students, students from CBSE, and other boards which have a harder grading system. The have been washed out. The pleasantly surprised winners are from the Tamilnadu and perhaps to a lesser extent other easier boards. Once again this is not a comment on the ability or hard work put in by the Tamilnadu students. In their defence, they did not ask for a dead easy exam and liberal grading. (Why TN does this and destroys its own human capital is a topic for another day)
The importance of admissions autonomy to Hindu run institutions
As you can see Shree Ram College of Commerce which is an elite college has been turned into the site of this immoral betrayal of lakhs of students who expected a fair and non-discriminatory admissions process. The college itself is helpless because as per DU rules, non-minority colleges like Shri Ram College of Commerce cannot conduct a second screening. This is allowed only for minority colleges like St Stephens, Jesus and Mary College, and now the Khalsa colleges (pending in High Court).
What St Stephens does to preserve its admissions integrity is to neutralize grade inflation by adding in a second written test and a personal interview. For example; they would call a group of say 4 x the available capacity – then administer their own process. This means they can really pick and choose and escape the immorality. Very few understand the absolute importance of this from an institutional perspective.
The quota quagmire
Non Minority DU colleges like SRCC also have to do the 27% OBC quota in addition to the 22.5% SC/ST quota. Minority colleges do not have to do the OBC quota.
Here is the problem.
- The OBC group itself does not have the same moral standing as the SC quota. This is the main reason the UPA govt exempted the minority run colleges from it using the 93rd Amendment and by using NCMEI to grant minority status to AMU and thousands of other educational institutions. It is considered a political quota – despite their being some groups in the OBC list which are truly backward.
- The OBC quota like the SC/ST quota is a Vertical Quota (VQ) quota system. This means an OBC who scores well above the cutoff in the General Category is not treated as OBC. The VQ system is also called “Over and Above” system.
- The OBC group in TN is massive – 74% of the entire population of Tamilnadu is classified as OBC. Since the reservation system in Tamilnadu derives from the Anti-Tamil-Brahmin movement, these OBCs groups are not really backward at all. They are not backward in the sense that they do not exhibit ANY evidence of academic disability. I have analyzed in detail how in Tamilnadu MBBS 2016 – there are only 41 students out of 2172 from the Open Category and OBC in TN actually lose seats due to the quota system !!
Here is how the anomaly plays out. Since TN OBCs are not really backward and since TN OBCs are returning thousands of 100% scores, they can easily get into the DU Hindu-run 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% of population is OBC and more than 55% are Unreserved. There were some reports saying in some courses only 9 out of 29 students were from general category. Luckily St Stephens does not have to DEAL WITH ANY OF THIS.
Once again, a gentle reminder please dont blame the TN kids for taking advantage of an unconstitutional system. Drag the DU administrators, politicians, thinktanks, and academics who created this. My heart goes out to all the students especially the girls from Delhi CBSE schools who are now sidelined and may need to leave home for hostel.
Data Source : All 2016 Std 12 data sourced from ReportBee.com who have brilliantly analyzed TN Board results. I could not find a similar data for CBSE, perhaps hidden deliberately and refusing to release via RTI. Just like the IIT rank analysis.