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Jadavpur University science departments want entrance tests

As the school-leaving exams could not be held last year, JU’s science faculty had proposed a mechanism for screening applicants for undergraduate courses

Subhankar Chowdhury | Published 13.06.22, 07:17 AM
The science departments at JU have traditionally admitted students based on their board marks, while the arts departments have over the years been screening students through admission tests.

The science departments at JU have traditionally admitted students based on their board marks, while the arts departments have over the years been screening students through admission tests.

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The faculty of science at Jadavpur University has initiated a process so that the undergraduate students do not get admitted on the strength of their plus-II board marks and are screened through admission tests, said an official of the university.

In a meeting of the admissions committee of the science faculty on Thursday, a number of science departments spoke in favour of screening students through admission tests.

A member of the committee said the departments had been asked to consult their respective boards of studies to decide whether they want to admit students through admission tests and communicate their stand to the committee this week.

“An admission test ensures a level playing field and tests a candidate’s aptitude in the subject which he or she wants to study,” a member said.

The science departments at JU have traditionally admitted students based on their board marks, while the arts departments have over the years been screening students through admission tests.

Three science departments — physics, chemistry and mathematics — have been demanding since 2018 that undergraduate aspirants be screened based on their plus-II marks as well as admission test scores.

“Going by our experience of admitting candidates on the basis of plus-II marks alone, I can say tests are the best method for screening,” said a physics teacher.

“Once the departments consent to admission tests, details like whether students would be admitted through the entrance tests alone or weightage will be given to plus-II board marks, too, will be finalised,” said another member of the admissions committee.

The school-leaving exams could not be held last year because of a renewed surge in Covid cases and the Class XII students were assessed based on their performance in Class XI annual exams and the performance in the secondary exams.

A large number of students scored exceptionally high marks.

“The trend has continued this year, too, though school-leaving exams were held,” said a member of the admissions committee of JU’s science faculty.

“A general deterioration in the quality of students gaining entry on the strength of their board exam marks alone is the reason why the science departments want admission tests.”

As the school-leaving exams could not be held last year, JU’s science faculty had proposed a mechanism for screening applicants for undergraduate courses.

The admissions committee of the science faculty council had then resolved that “20 per cent weightage be given to online group discussion/viva-voce” to “select quality candidates with natural inclination and inclination to study a particular subject in a coveted seat in the nationally and internationally renowned departments”.

The proposal could not be executed as the education department said the digital divide could come in the way of students attending the online screening.

In the last two years, even the arts departments had admitted students based on the plus-II board marks as on-campus admission tests could not be held because of Covid.

This year the education department had kept the unitary universities like Jadavpur and Presidency outside the ambit of the centralised online admission mechanism to be followed by affiliating universities (such as Calcutta and Burdwan universities) based on board marks.

“Since it has been left to the unitary universities like ours to decide on the screening criteria, the science faculty has initiated the process of admitting students through entrance tests,” a JU official said.

Last updated on 13.06.22, 07:17 AM
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