The following article addresses the lack of counsellors in educational institutions as well as the perils of untrained counselling.

Counselling isn’t a recent concept, nor is it restricted to any particular sphere of life. One may come across counsellors in hospitals, work places, sports complexes and many more fields. With time, the stigma against mental health too has been evaporating appreciably, encouraging more and more people to seek guidance and counselling. However, an area which significantly requires professional counsellors are educational institutions, be it schools or universities.

One’s personality starts developing very early during their childhood. In fact, the most formative years of a person are their childhood. With regard to academic pressure or the need for socialisation in school, every individual responds to their environment differently. Very often, as children, they tend to lack the ability to express their worries to other adults- basically parents and teachers, who may not entirely understand the gravity of their problems. A child requires a safe space to be comfortable and discuss what goes on in his or her life. With schools being the primary environment after their homes, counsellors in schools provide that safe space. It is not just young children but also particularly adolescents who require this outlet for venting their emotions.

The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) had made it mandatory for all schools to have counsellors in faculty. However, a very small percentage of private schools actually follow this mandate. For obvious reasons, the situation in government schools is far worse. What is even more interesting is how, very often, schools appoint teachers in faculty with degrees in sociology to act like counsellors for students. Now, what they fail to recognise are the serious perils that untrained counselling can cause. Therapy or counselling is not an easy process. A counsellor’s job has a large impact on the lives of his or her patients. They may have pure intentions in mind but in practice, untrained counselling can adversely affect the mental health of vulnerable children for the worse.

Especially among adolescents of the current generation, Gen-Z, with growing impact of social media and societal expectations, the need to feel accepted and understood grows stronger. So often teenagers avoid therapy because of several reasons including lack of trust. It is in these situations where the skills of good teachers and counsellors play a vital role. Teachers in schools should be able to recognise and reach out to “troubled” students, allowing them to understand the severe need for counselling. A good counsellor establishes trust and a non-judgemental platform for venting feelings and learning to cope with them.

Moving on from schools, universities and colleges too are in a dire need for trained therapists. Most colleges, particularly government funded like the Delhi University, have student mental health societies at best. These societies work towards knowledge dissemination and often invite professionals for seminars. While the initiative is highly commendable, the lack of chronic professional help may leave the students helpless and hopeless.

While we have made efforts in establishing the seriousness of mental health among students particularly, it is high time we take action to provide spaces for these students to seek help as and when required. As famous psychologist, Abraham Maslow, once quoted “in any given moment, we have two options: to step forward into growth or to step back into safety.” Let us allow ourselves to take that step forward and not look back.

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Aditi Gutgutia

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The Delhi High Court says that rule may be reconsidered if petitioner succeeds in petition.

The Delhi High Court has issued a notice with respect to a matter presented to it on 26th June 2019 regarding a plea challenging the rule mandating deduction of 2.5% from the total percentage of a candidate in best four subjects in case of change of stream while securing admission in the University of Delhi (DU).

The rule mentioned in section 2.2 of the Undergraduate Bulletin of Information 2019-20 states that if a student is changing streams and aspiring for admission to the University in a subject that they did not study at the senior secondary level, a deduction of 2.5% from their Best of Four percentage would be considered as their score for making it to the cut-offs; a notion that puts many students at a disadvantage keeping in view the high scores required to secure a seat in the University.

Petitioner Muskan Aggarwal, a student from the science stream, has achieved a score of 96% in the class 12th CBSE Board Examinations and wants to pursue B.A. (Hons.) Political Science from DU.

It is her case that the rule mandating deduction in the percentage of marks in case of a change in the stream is “arbitrary, discriminatory and baseless”. She cites the rationale to support her argument that if a student is scoring well then they should have the opportunity to study any subject of their choice. The Court had directed the University to file a response to the plea within a week’s time.

The University maintains that this rule has been clarified in the earlier ruling of the High Court with respect to admissions criteria for this academic year (W.P. C No.6751/2019 passed on June 14th. 2019). Keeping in view the petitioner’s vehement dispute regarding this claim, the Vacation Bench of Honorable Justice Jyoti Singh has issued the notice regarding further hearing of this matter on 5th July 2019 before the Regular Bench of the High Court.

The High Court has also clarified that the petitioner, if successful in her petition, would be granted admission as per her final marks and corresponding ranking in the merit list.

Feature Image Credits: New Indian Express

Bhavya Pandey

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The Central Board of School Education (CBSE) has decided to begin its procedure of re-evaluating the class XII board examination marks of students from 24th May. On the other hand, the University of Delhi (DU) is expected to begin its admission procedure soon, thereby creating misalignment in the two schedules. 

Media house NDTV reported yesterday that the CBSE had written a letter to Professor Tarun Kumar Das, Registrar, DU, to align its undergraduate admission procedure according to the CBSE’s own re-evaluation schedule in order to avoid hassles for the applicants.

This year, the CBSE had announced the class XII results on 2nd May, which is much earlier than it usually does. In fact, just 28 days after the exams got over. This was following a Delhi High Court order. According to the report, the results came around three weeks ahead of the usual schedule, and even prior to the Indian Certificate for Secondary Education (ICSE) exam results.

NDTV quoted a board official as saying, “The Delhi High Court had asked all the boards to finish the result process before the undergraduate admissions begin so there is no hassle about pending results and students being stuck.”

It also quoted a statement of the Board, “CBSE will be completing its re-evaluation process also at the earliest. Now, the University of Delhi has to fix the last date of submission of application in such a manner that the work of re-evaluation is over prior to the last date of the admission process.”

The directive of the High Court, acting on which the CBSE had declared its results earlier this time, came after a student was denied admission to Lady Shri Ram College for Women (LSR) last year because of delayed re-evaluation by the board, despite scoring the requisite marks to get admission through the first cut-off list, Indian Express had reported. “The student, who had originally secured 95.25%, qualified for admission in the college’s BA (Honours) History programme after her score was increased to 96.5% post-re-evaluation. However, her re-evaluation was completed by the CBSE, two weeks after admission to the course was closed”, the report said.

A clash between the dates of DU undergraduate applications and CBSE re-evaluation schedule could affect students who wish to apply to the university with their re-evaluated marks.


Feature Image credits- Telegraph India


Prateek Pankaj
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From the academic session 2019-2020, a separate list for non-CBSE subjects will be released to aid admissions for students in other boards.

On 2nd May 2019, the standing committee of the Academic Council of the University of Delhi (DU) passed the recommendation to include academic subjects from other non-CBSE (Central Board of Secondary Education) realms in a separate list of subjects.

This move was proposed after the committee scrutinised papers and subjects followed roughly in the twenty-eight State Boards, three National Boards, and three Sanskrit Boards for class 12 and then weighed those against their CBSE counterparts.

This proposal caters to academic subjects like anthropology, biochemistry, civics, logic, philosophy, among others. Rasal Singh, a member of the Academic Committee, on speaking to a national daily, commented how these subjects currently fall under the separate vocational subjects’ list despite having course structure and content along similar lines as the CBSE subjects.

Vocational subjects, currently include Food Production, Painting, Hindustani Music (Vocal), Beauty and Wellness, and several others. These subjects, if included in the best of four, would incur a disadvantage of 2% deduction during admissions before 2019.

Rasal Singh went on to explain that biochemistry, taught in the State board of Jammu and Kashmir, will be treated as an equivalent to biology or biotechnology. Similarly, a combination of Maths A from Andhra Pradesh and Maths B from Telangana State Boards will be considered as equivalents of CBSE mathematics. The statistics paper of Maharashtra State board will also be seen as a counterpart of CBSE mathematics.

Other changes proposed to the committee in the meeting include an increase in ward quota for teaching and non-teaching staff, one percent relaxation of cut-offs for students from government schools and rural backgrounds, and the conduction of entrance examinations for colleges, in Hindi and English. The varsity, according to sources, is also planning on adding 6000 seats this year and 9000 in 2020. These have just been proposed and need approval before being passed and applied during the admission season of 2019.

Feature Image Credits: The Indian Express

Shivani Dadhwal

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The Delhi High Court on Wednesday directed CBSE and University of Delhi to arrange for a medium for transgenders to attain changes in name and gender, in educational records.

On Wednesday, 20th February 2019, the bench comprising of Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice VK Rao showcased its disapproval to the University of Delhi (DU) and the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) in declining the change of name and gender for a transgender person. It stated that when the Supreme Court had recognised their gender identity, education bodies must rise to the occasion to help.

The bench was hearing a PIL (Personal Interest Litigation) challenging the guidelines of the Centre, DU, and CBSE for the change of name and gender by a person. The petition has contended that the guidelines under challenge are “depriving her of the right to live with dignity and to self-identify her gender which is different from the one assigned at birth.”

This was not agreeable to both the education bodies as CBSE stated that name and gender needed to be changed before the 10th or the 12th grade, and DU responded by stating that to make changes in the University’s records, changes must be made in the school records.

The High Court disapproved of their stand and responded, “You cannot say its history for you. You keep your history, but give her a certificate declaring her changed name and gender. Give a declaration without changing your records. You should understand the practical problems they suffer. If they apply for a passport now, it will be put in objection due to contradiction in her name and gender no and what is shown in their education records. You need to be considerate. You cannot put everyone in one basket and say you won’t do it.”

The court by stating, “let us work out what can be done” further assured the petitioner that her right to gender identity was a Constitutional Right recognised by the Apex Court. It instructed both the statutory bodies to come with solutions with respect to the problem and listed this case for further hearing on 13th March 2019.

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Stephen Mathew

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Anushree Joshi

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(With inputs from The New Indian Express)



The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSC) came under condemnation after its Class X Mathematics and Class XII Economics papers were leaked last week. Four students of different schools and two directors of a private coaching center were apprehended in connection with the CBSE question paper leaks.

This had triggered protests from different quarters of the student community. On Saturday, the National Students’ Union of India (NSUI) staged a protest outside the ITO office of Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP). NSUI alleged that the office-bearers of the right-wing students’ organisation were caught leaking CBSE exam papers in Jharkhand.

Rocky Tuseed, President of Delhi University Students’ Union (DUSU), in conversation with DU Beat, remarked, “This is an instance of gross injustice meted out to the students. 28 lakh students had given the 12th standard Economics paper. Due to the negligence of the CBSE, why is the future of students staked at risk?”
When asked who is to be blamed for the paper leak, Tuseed observed, “This is not an isolated incident. The government is also involved in this.”

Pragya Tomar, the General Secretary of the NSUI (Delhi State), told DU Beat, “We demand that an inquiry into the CBSE paper leak should be conducted and that the government should ensure a leak-proof mechanism to prevent such anomalies in future.”

Fairoz Khan, the National President of the NSUI, who met Prakash Javadekar, Union Minister of Ministry of Human Resource Development, said that the Minister has assured that they would investigate the matter and take the strictest possible action against those responsible.

In the letter written to Prakash Javadekar, the DUSU President has noted, “We request you to roll back the examination of Economics (class XII) and Maths (class X) as no student is ready to give their re-examinations.”

Notably, the CBSE had announced a retest of the two papers, following reports of the leakage.

Responding to allegations that an office-bearer of the ABVP was involved in the paper leak, Saket Bahuguna, the National Media Convener of the ABVP said, “He (the accused) has no current association with ABVP.”  He further assured that the accused in the case was shown the door by the ABVP as soon as he joined a coaching institution as a co-owner. The ABVP termed the NSUI’s protests as an attempt to defame it. “Systemic reforms in the examination patterns and procedures are needed. How is it that papers get leaked, but no structural changes are undertaken to stop any future leaks?,” questioned Saket Bahuguna.

Feature Image Credits: National Students’ Union of India
Vaibhavi Sharma Pathak
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Earlier today, CBSE announced that the Mathematics and Economics examinations for class 10th and 12th respectively will be re-conducted due to “certain happenings”, the details of which shall be announced within a week.  

The Central Board Certificate Examinations (CBSE) announced earlier today that re-examinations for the Class 10th Mathematics paper and Class 12th Economics will be held soon. The dates of said re-examinations will be announced on the CBSE website, by the end of this week. The announcement was made after concerns were raised regarding the papers being leaked, a day before the examination. The class 12th Economics paper had allegedly been circulated in various WhatsApp groups, a day before the examinations.

The decision to conduct re-examinations has generated a mixed response from students and parents. While some see this decision as another opportunity to perform better, others see it as an unnecessary hassle. Neha Mohajer, a class 10th student from City International School, Lucknow says,” I think this re-examination was a good idea since this paper was lengthy; we weren’t able to finish it in time and would’ve lost a lot of marks. It also gives us time to prepare and do better in our next exam.” However, another class 10th student Aishwarya from New Delhi believed that the re-examination will be exhausting. “We do not have the energy to give the re-exam. The news came out right after we gave our last exam”. This would not be beneficial to students who were unprepared for the exam because “someone who was not able to prepare in one year will not be able to prepare in one more week ” Another concern that has propped up for Class 12th students is that the scheduled examination might be close to other entrance examinations that they were supposed to appear for. Students and parents are also questioning CBSE’s criterion for deciding the afore examinations to be re-held since claims have been made that the Class 10th Social Studies and Class 12th Biology papers were also leaked.

According to ANI, Prime Minister Modi conveyed his unhappiness over news of the re-examination. All in all, the decision to conduct re-examinations has thrown students and parents off-guard. This decision, which will affect more than 28 lakh students has generated mixed responses; while some see it as a second chance to score better, others regard it as a source of unnecessary stress.

Feature Image Credits– ANI

Kinjal Pandey

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A University of Delhi graduate who identifies as a transgender has filed a petition against the Department of Publications of Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) and DU. The petitioner, Riya Sharma, is a 23-year-old student who identifies as female but was assigned a male identity at birth. Sharma’s birth certificate and CBSE documents have gender and name details of her male, pre-transitioned self, which she is attempting to change.

She claimed to have sent two applications to the Department regarding the changes but as per the CBSE guidelines, such changes can be made only before the publication of results. University norms require the changes to be made in the board documents before changes are made in the university documents. As per the petitioner, the Department of Publications of the CBSE required that a sex reassignment surgery is undergone before the change of name and gender. In this regard, she was asked to produce an affidavit and a Sex Reassignment Surgery (SRS) certificate to execute the change in name. She is contesting this requirement by mentioning a 2014 Supreme Court ruling that allowed for only self-identification as a requirement, and held that insistence on a sex reassignment surgery for declaring one’s gender was “illegal and immoral”.

The petition was initially directed at DU and the Centre but included CBSE after the certificate demand. The Delhi High Court had also issued notices to the parties for not taking an interest in the issue and not changing the guidelines by themselves speedily. Sharma has also faced harassment at the hands of classmates, and while giving examinations as officials made her get a certificate from the university every time she gave an exam. Of her days in the School of Open Learning, she said, “SOL (School of Open Learning) have classes every weekend. Students in the class were constantly making fun of me. They were teasing me with slurs and cracking jokes on my gender. There was no other transgender person in the class and I felt so humiliated. I didn’t go after that”.

The university introduced the ‘Other’ gender option for its postgraduate courses’ forms in 2014 (and for undergraduates in 2015) which was hailed as a step forward. However, instances of institutional and societal discrimination probably also account for the fact that in 2016 only 15 applications of this category were received, signaling that immediate attention needs to be directed towards this category of students.

Sources: India Today, News18 , livelaw.in, Times of India
Feature Image Credits: DU Beat

Rishika Singh

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The Delhi high court on Tuesday said the ongoing Delhi University (DU)  admissions could be impacted by the re-evaluation of Class XII examination answer sheets submitted to the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE).  Last week, the court had lifted all conditions imposed by the CBSE on students seeking to re-evaluate their Class XII answer sheets. The verdict came on a plea filed by an advocate who was representing four students against the board’s notification limiting the scrutiny of marks to just 12 subjects. Nearly 11 lakh students appeared for the Class 12 exams conducted by the CBSE this year, of which 2.47% applied for re-evaluation.

A bench of acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C. Hari Shankar declared that the merit position of students could change substantially on the basis of marks obtained after re-evaluation. Therefore, as a matter of abundant caution, colleges and admission-seeking students need to be kept informed about the pendency of the writ petition as well as the fact that the process of re-evaluation of marks by the CBSE on the request of some students is underway. It ordered that it’s the “responsibility of the University of Delhi to make public as well as inform all the colleges regarding this position and to put the students, to notice about the order passed today”. Hence, the college principals and students have been mindful of the stipulations, and clarifications that have been issued in this regard by the admission committee.

However, Delhi University officials said this need not worry students who have already secured college seats. The officials declared that once a student’s admission is approved and they pay the admission fees, it will not be cancelled even if their marks get reduced after re-evaluation. Admissions will be cancelled only if the student provides the university with fabricated certificates and such. Also, there are provisions in the University admission guidelines to accommodate students whose grades have increased after re-evaluation: the guidelines clearly state that a student who qualifies under a cut-off list but fails to take admission may do so on the last day of admissions under subsequent cut-off lists, subject to the availability of seats. In view of the above, it is directed that the admissions effected pursuant to CBSE examination conducted in March/April 2017 shall be subject to the final outcome of the present writ petition.

Feature Image credits: Indian Express

Radhika Boruah

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On Thursday, the Delhi High Court directed the Central Board for Secondary Education (CBSE) to accept all applications for re-evaluation. This is the result of a plea that was filed by students against CBSE challenging their notification, dated 28th June that imposed conditions on re-evaluation of mark sheets that students were only allowed to submit applications for up to 10 subjects and up to 10 theory questions per subject. A bench, including Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar, was hearing to this plea. The CBSE notification also mentioned that a revised mark sheet will only be issued if there is an increase of 5 or more marks, which the counsel called “arbitrary”.

The bench said, directing the board: “It cannot be denied that grave and irreparable loss/damage would be caused to the petitioners as far as their admissions to colleges are concerned,” and that the relief would be “admissible to all similarly situated students who seek reevaluation of their answer sheets.”

The bench posted the matter for further hearing on 26th July, issuing notice to the Centre, CBSE and Delhi University.

Image credits: livelaw.in

Anagha Rakta
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