Kolkata: The Jadavpur University (JU), which is at the centre of a row over its decision to involve ‘external experts’ in the admission procedure, has decided to not conduct entrance tests in six undergraduate arts courses this academic session.
The decision was taken in Wednesday’s executive council meeting amid uproar over the university’s decision to engage ‘external experts’ to set one of the two sets of question papers for entrance tests in six undergraduate arts courses — English, Comparative Literature, History, Political Science, Philosophy and Bangla.
A section of university professors felt that the decision to appoint ‘external experts’ was “humiliating” and “unwanted”.
After the meeting, a section of JU students allegedly confined vice-chancellor Suranjan Das to his office.
Speaking exclusively to News18, Das said, “This time we have decided to grant admission based on higher secondary marks and merit. There will be no entrance tests. This is not my decision. This decision was taken in the meeting. But unfortunately, a section of the students confined me.”
He added, “This is unfortunate and an undemocratic way of protesting. My question is what role do the existing students have in this issue? They have every right to express their concern but this is not the right way to do it. I don’t think this ever happened in any part of the world in any university. This decision was unanimous.”
However, disagreeing with the decision, president of Jadavpur University Teachers Association (JUTA), Keshav Bhattacharya said, “Scrapping the entrance tests will lead to discontent among professors, students, scholars, guardians and applicants.”
He said, “We are not aware of the admission process for next year. We believe that the admission process cannot and should not be continued without the involvement of teachers of the departments and schools. Hiring of external experts is not acceptable to us. We request the council to resolve the issue and decide an academically desirable mode of admission that includes teachers who have, year after year, proved the success of the system.”
Dr Abhijit Gupta, professor in the department of English, said: “The entrance examination for English (nearly 4,500 applicants) was supposed to happen next Wednesday. All the tests were to be held between July 11 and 14. Preparations were almost done and this decision is very unfortunate.”
He added, “Now it (admission) will be like a lottery. I don’t know how they will judge applicants. Entrance test was the most transparent way to get admission in JU. We did this for the last 40 years and there was no single complaint before. It was a tried and tested process and everybody was satisfied. I don’t know why the higher ups at the university have decided to appoint external experts to select questions. This is not going to work and I think there are some motive behind such decisions.”