By Saumia Takru
Its a literature course, not a language course.
The decision to do away with the entrance test for admission to English (Hons) this year has been defined by the Dean of colleges, Mr Nayanjot Lahiri as an â€œinterim measure before any decision to hold a common entrance test is taken by the universityâ€?. The reasons cited for this range from undue pressure being imposed on the students as they have to face multiple tests and the clashing of the examination dates of various colleges. Thus students applying for Literature in DU will rely purely on the CBSE marks for the year 2008-09 or the â€˜school-leavingâ€™ marks.
Colleges have openly expressed concern about this as they perceive it as something that hampers the autonomy of a college. Anjana Dev, principal Vivekananda college, commented saying that â€œcolleges should be allowed the leeway to admit students as they want.” In fact, the University is also against the concept of interviews being conducted, as has been routine for many colleges for the past many years. Ms Sanam Khanna, the Head of Department English, KNC, also believes that students may not have the correct idea of what a literature course constitutes off. Students often fail to realize that it is a literature course and not a language course. The laconic â€˜question and answerâ€™ format that is put forth by CBSE is quite simply an inadequate way of measuring the aptitude of a candidate for a course that focuses primarily on analytical and creative abilities. Admissions given under this new Act thus run the risk of being based on marks secured by rote and not on the candidateâ€™s proficiency or aptitude for the language. There may be various aspects of academics that CBSE excels in but the promotion of a creative mind or one capable of intelligent criticism is not one of them.
A separate entrance exam for English is a good indicator of a studentâ€™s inclination towards the language and will prevent students from being mislead into choosing a course that their marks gives them access to but which is not in tangent with their aptitude. Also, their literary skills can be properly assessed through an entrance exam that is specially designed to test their creative thinking.
This Act is then clearly a malfunction of justice due to its inability to ascertain the identity of the deserving candidates who should be granted admission. This is further underlined by the fact that a lot of students who are protesting this Act in fact belong to colleges like Venky and Dayal Singh, where entrance exams for English never existed.
The body in power is clearly closing its mind to reality and shoving its distorted view on an unwilling system. The time to Act is now and all thatâ€™s needed is a united front opposing it. In order to raise a common voice of concern, DU Beat intends to mail to the Vice Chancellor of DU a petition with the signatures of students who believe the Act to be an inadequate measure of reform as it overlooks various important implications in an attempt to avoid inconveniencing students. The way to articulate the fears plaguing our mind has been opened through the petition and must be taken advantage of.