The English department of Jadavpur University is still firm on admitting undergraduate students on the basis of their admission test scores, a move that flies in the face of a resolution adopted by the highest decision-making body of the institute.
U’s executive council had resolved on March 30, following a recommendation of a two-member panel of outsiders, that all humanities department would give equal weightage to the Plus-II marks and the admission test scores while selecting students for their undergraduate courses.
The council met on Monday and rejected a decision of the admission committee of the arts faculty that the English and comparative literature departments be allowed to admit students based solely on their admission test marks.
A number of teachers of English at JU said they wanted to switch to the system that existed till 2017 and make the admission test scores the sole criterion of admission.
“The system that we followed till 2017 put students from various boards on an equal footing,” said a professor. “Through the admission test we used to assess whether a candidate had the aptitude to study literature. The examinees were even tested on the works of Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay and Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay.”
Another teacher said the admission test would also play a role in negating any unfair advantage a section of students might have enjoyed because of liberal assessment by certain boards.
“The state Higher Secondary council is still less liberal than the Delhi-based boards. The equal weightage formula might put the HS students at a disadvantage,” the teacher said.
Supriya Chaudhuri, a Professor Emeritus at the English department, said the authorities should honour the department’s decision on admission norms. “The department should have the authority to decide how it wants to screen its students and that decision should be honoured,” she said.
Asked whether the executive council’s decision has robbed the department of its autonomy, Swapan Chakravorty, a former professor at the department, said: “Instead of using the word autonomy, I would use the word flexibility. The university and the department inside the university should have the flexibility to decide their admission criteria. Without flexibility, there is no university. My simple reaction is this: you attack flexibility, you destroy the university. You have to build on trust and flexibility….”
Chakravorty, now a distinguished chair professor at Presidency University, has one fervent plea: “Leave education to the educators”.
Another former head of the department said: “A system that has run without any flaw should not be abandoned.”