Kapil Sibal


Intending to bring the protracted tussle between the students and the DSJ administration to a close, Mohammad Ali, a DSJ student and NSUI youth politician, submitted a petition to Pranab Mukherjee and Kapil Sibal.
Reaffirming its solidarity with the students of Delhi School of Journalism, who have been involved in a bitter protracted wrangle with the collegiate administration over the non-fulfillment of the salient promises and facilities mentioned in the college’s prospectus, the NSUI, at the behest of Mohammad Ali, submitted a petition to the former President of India, Pranab Mukherjee, as well the former HRD minister, Kapil Sibal.
Despite a slew of vociferous protests and agitations by the students, most of the promises touted by the administration were never fulfilled, which led to tremendous discontentment and upheaval amongst the students, who viewed such affront as a terrible betrayal and blatant fraud. For the past year and a half, DSJ students have been interminably beseeching the DSJ administration to fulfill its commitments to the institution, none of which ever materialized.
The institution, which was launched amidst much fanfare, has turned out to be a perennial bone of contention between the administration and the students, as DSJ lies in a derelict state on account of the former’s inept handling of the imbroglio and lethargic implementation of the promises facilities and infrastructural capabilities, much to the chagrin of the students. This prompted the students to spearhead the “Stand With DSJ” movement, which has been galvanizing support from major quarters to raise its petition with the relevant authorities and influential stalwarts.
Mohammad Ali also stated that the former President assured the DSJ students of his support, and declared that he would send a letter to the Ministry of Human Resource Development and the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Delhi. Furthermore, Ali claimed that Kapil Sabil assured him that he would table the DSJ logjam in the Parliament in case the impending sessions don’t turn out to be a washout.

Mohammad Ali, in conversation with the DU Beat correspondent said, “I talked to Pranab Mukherjee apropos to the issues plaguing Delhi School of Journalism, on account of which students have been agitating for the past year and a half. The issues that find prominence are around the media lab, library, hostel, and the steep spikes in the fees. On account of DSJ and DU turning a deaf ear to our pleas, we were forced to approach the chambers of the former President of India.”


Feature Image Credits: Mohammad Ali
Adeel Shams
[email protected]

On 7th and 8th November, 2012, Gargi College hosted a multidisciplinary conference on the themes of ‘Conflict to Convergence: Building Holistic Perspectives’. The invitees for the inaugural address were Mr. Kapil Sibal, Minister of Human Resource Development and Professor Dinesh Singh, Vice Chancellor of Delhi University.

Understanding the need for balanced perspectives that integrate views from all fields of Sciences, Humanities and Commerce especially when one is dealing with complex and vital issues in a conflict-ridden world, the aim of this conference was to build leadership skills among students by making them aware the various elements that need to be analyzed to see an issue in its totality. This includes the techno-science angle, the commercial prospects as well as any humanist concerns.

For this, speakers were invited from varied fields including Prof S.K Saha to speak on the topic of Artificial Intelligence and its Impact. A talk dealing with the ‘Paradoxes of Consumption’ saw speakers such as Mr. Gurcharan Das and Mr. SK Tendon debating out the issue. The sessions in the seminar included engaging discussions on topics such as the ‘Conservation of Heritage’, ‘Ethical Science’ and the ‘Contours of Citizenship’ with panelists including Prof. Patrick Heller, Ms. Anupama Roy, Mr. Biswas Mohan Padhy and Mr. A.G.K. Menon.

Resolving the conflicts between all that is and all that could be is the first step towards progress. The conference sufficiently dealt with that, leaving the audience of the packed auditorium with much food for thought.



As of Friday, Kapil Sibal has specially requested the St. Stephen’s College Principal and the Delhi University Vice Chancellor to exercise their discretionary powers to allow the U-19 World Cup cricket captain Unmukt Chand to sit for exams.  The university rules mandate that a student needs to have at least 33.3% attendance after all exemptions, but Chand was unable to fulfill this criterion due to his cricketing engagements.

While not lauding or criticizing this exemption, it is important to discuss the precedent this directive from Sibal sets for all future cases, as well as the possible superficiality of such a move. It is often forgotten that these rules are also present with a rationale behind them.

Most sports heroes/artists may achieve a great deal in their fields but the degrees they are enrolled in are often very different from the field of their achievements. These academic degrees require time with that subject, and often, attending classes. To exempt someone from this may not necessarily be an honor of their achievement, but detrimental to any education their degree claims them to possess. So, a hard-working student receives the same degree as someone who exists only on the attendance roll.

The other factor that has to be considered here is the fact that this situation is faced by multiple national-level artists and athletes every year. Hundreds of Delhi University students participate in theatre, dance, drama or various sports at the national level.

This case received attention from the media and the people due to a mixture of the Indian fandom regarding cricket, winning and cricket. Not specifically, a sudden respect for extra-curricular achievements.

There are various alternative systems that could exist here to laud or support national achievers. That could be time, a different course structure/adapted courses or allowing them to repeat a semester.  This may be a better idea than just an exemption which removes the responsibility of education from the college on the basis of achievement in a completely disconnected field. The paradox of this Sibal-intervention is the focus-shift from education to examination. Something which he has vehemently opposed till now.

In the light of all this, is this move then just for the degree-holders, extra-curricular or otherwise? I leave that judgement to you.

Latest cricket sensation Unmukt Chand, captain of the Under-19 Indian cricket team, might have garnered heaps of appreciation for his striking innings in the Under-19 Cricket World Cup, but barely had he the slightest of idea that it would also trigger off a countrywide debate.

Apart from being an incredible cricket player, Chand is also a student of B.A. (Programme) in St. Stephen’s College. However, his association with the college has been rather hostile. Earlier this year, following the denial by the college authorities to issue him the admit card for final exams on the grounds of inadequate attendance, he decided to approach the High Court and filed a petition in May stating that since he had got admission under the sports category, a certain relaxation in attendance criteria should be given. Although, with the involvement of the court Unmukt was able to seek permission to appear for exams; he didn’t approach the court on time and consequently could appear in only two exams out of four thus failing to clear the same.

However, in what appeared to be a favourable turn of events for this talented youngster well-known sports personalities decided to pour in support and speak in the matter. From the former national-level cricket player Kirti Azad, also a Stephanian, to current captain of the Indian national cricket team Mahendra Singh Dhoni, lot of people raised questions about the harsh treatment meted out to Unmukt. The Principal on his part was caught in a no win situation as he would receive flak both for abiding by the rules and subverting them.

Apparently, Union HRD minister Kapil Sibal and sports minister Ajay Maken also stepped in and spoke to the Vice Chancellor Dinesh Singh who assured them to resolve the matter on priority basis. While responding to the letter written by Maken in this regard, VC said that they have asked the St Stephen’s College Principal to forward them all the necessary papers so that they could help Chand, who led India to U-19 World Cup win.

In his letter to the VC, Maken wrote, “You would agree that fostering and development of a vibrant sports culture in the country which would ultimately lead to our better performances at the international arena is hurt precisely because of such systemic bottlenecks that only discourage young people from taking up sports but also stifles their career mid-way.”

Finally, after much hullaballoo, with the intervention of the Vice Chancellor, Unmukt Chand has been promoted to second year at his college but he will have to simultaneously clear his first year exams as well.

Moreover, Dinesh Singh also indicated that under the proposed structure — that is expected to be placed before the Academic Council in a couple of months — participation in sports activities will be accorded credit towards regular Daily Programmes and the students will have the choice of replacing some of the academic courses with a structured recognition of participation towards his/her degree.


Vatsal Verma
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Education, literacy and entrance examinations have always been a subject of popular debate in our country, with thousands of students aspiring every year to get through some of the best educational institutes of the country, like the IITs, NITs, AIIMS, etc. The Indian Institute of Technology Joint Entrance Examination (IIT-JEE) has always been an elusive examination for most students, with lakhs of students preparing every year to attain the coveted tag of being an IITian, with only 1% getting through. The IIT JEE examination is considered the toughest engineering entrance examination inAsia, and those who crack it pride themselves in doing so.

In May 2012, the Union Human Resource Development (HRD) Minister, Kapil Sibal announced a revamp of the IIT JEE examination, with the inclusion of all the major engineering entrance examinations of the country into one single examination- Indian Science Engineering Eligibility Test  (ISEET). The new pattern consisted of two examinations- the ISEET Main and the ISEET Advanced. The top 40,000 students of the ISEET Main examination would be allowed to appear for the ISEET Advanced, which granted admission to the premier institutes of engineering like the IIT’s and NIT’s. However, ranks would be determined by taking 50% of the score of the advanced examination and 50% of the class 12 board examination results.

This proposal had earlier been pending in the Parliament, but was passed this May, causing uproar throughout the country. Students as well as parents protested against the inclusion of the class 12 board examination marks and the IIT senates immediately condemned this decision of the government. IIT Delhi moved the High court two weeks after the declaration of this decree. IITKanpurmoved a step ahead and announced its very own entrance test from 2013.

Amidst this entire confusion, there were hotly contested debates on various public forums, with writers like Chetan Bhagat and Directors of ‘prestigious’ coaching institutes condemning the decision to include the class 12 board marks and they labelled this move as an attempt to lower the standard of the IIT’s, which are the pride of India. The IIT senates felt extremely insulted by this impeachment on their autonomy. A student studying in a coaching centre in Mumbai said, “ I took a drop after my class 12 to prepare for IIT JEE, and I hadn’t fared very well in my boards as I was busy preparing for IIT JEE. Now that the pattern has changed, does the government expect me to go back and give my class 12 boards again? Before, cracking the JEE was important. Now, if class 12 marks determine our ranks, then where will students who have taken a gap year go?”

However, the Director of the Vidyalankar group of coaching classes felt that this decision was a wise move. With coaching classes branching out all over the country, IIT JEE had become an examination for conditioned mindsets, not academic brilliance. With the implementation of the ISEET, students would become more serious about attending school and performing well in the boards. The practice of integrated school- cum- coaching classes like Bansals and Narayana would soon disappear and students could again go back and enjoy their school days – something they deserved and which they should not be averse to. He also added that his coaching centre offers coaching for both class 12 and IIT JEE. Looks like business strategies are changing as fast as the education system.

With increasing dissent all over the country and a complete deadlock over the course of the future of thousands of children sitting for the entrance examination in 2013, Kapil Sibal organized a meeting with the IIT directors and finally came to a consensus about the pattern of the ISEET examination. The proposal for 50% weightage on class 12 board marks was scrapped and it was decided that students in the top 20% of their board would be allowed to sit for ISEET Advanced. The number of students eligible to sit for ISEET Advanced now increased to 1,50,000. The agitation slowly died down, as the decision makers came to a consensus without taking the views of the children into account, which is usually always the case when it comes to education. Take the implementation of the semester system inDelhiUniversityas an example.

With the ISEET implemented, the students still haven’t received any intimation in regard to the pattern of the new exam and are still in the loop about whether their board marks will be scaled down while assessing their ranks or not. We can now just wait and watch the outcome of this new exam- a political gimmick, most people say, before the 2014 elections. Whether it will be a huge disaster like the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test for medicine (NEET), which was a complete failure last year, or a success…only time will tell.