Loopholes galore in entrance exams, say PhD aspirants

Loopholes galore in entrance exams, say PhD aspirants

Students worried about eligibility criterion, demand relaxation

The entrance examination conducted recently by Bangalore University (BU) for admission to PhD programmes has upset many students who argue it was marred by “loopholes and ambiguities.”

The varsity, however, has dismissed the criticism and reiterated that the voice of resentment was being raised by those opposed to bringing transparency in the system.

Manjunath C, an MA (Rural Development) graduate, says that the exam held on December 4, 2011, was simply “unscientific”. The university prepared two papers for 50 marks each: Paper I was common for all courses and comprised questions on research methodology, mental ability, language comprehension, and data interpretation. Paper II consisted of questions from the respective course.

Manjunath’s grouse is that most questions in Paper I were on mental ability and data interpretation. In contrast, few questions on research methodology — a key component of any doctorate programme — were asked, he said. Besides, many questions in Paper II were not from the syllabus at all, Raveendranath, an MA (Kannada) graduate, said.

The students also claimed that deans and teachers of the concerned subject were not consulted while setting the question papers. But their biggest grouse is against the introduction of the eligibility criterion. A general merit student should secure at least 55 percent to qualify whereas the limit is 50 for SC/ST/Cat-1 students.

Anjan Kumar, another student, says several departments have fallen short of students because of the eligibility criterion. “Far more than the loopholes in the question paper, we are worried about the eligibility criterion. The university should lower the criterion to accommodate us,” Kumar said. The protestors also say the rules about selection of guides are not clear.

A senior professor, however, dismissed the concerns and claimed those opposed to the entrance examination were “mediocre students”. “The university cannot bring its standard down to accommodate mediocre students. The test was conducted as per the guidelines prepared in accordance with the University Grants Commission (UGC) norms,” the professor involved in drafting the guidelines said.

Another professor involved with the conducting of the entrance test termed students’ concerns “baseless”. “The question papers were prepared by experts who know better what should be asked and what shouldn’t be. There was no human interference anywhere in the whole process,” the professor, preferring anonymity, said.

The professor claimed the new guidelines were “ground-breaking” as they removed many a loophole that existed in the earlier system. “Both the guide as well as the student have to abide by the decision of the department council that takes a call on the admission. A guide cannot refuse to mentor a student for reason other than the difference in his/her area of specialisation.”

According to the professor, the counselling scheduled from December 12 to 16, 2011 was put off indefinitely as the students had requested for a relaxation in the eligibility criterion.
The Vice-Chancellor, N Prabhu Dev, is expected to decide the matter in a few days.

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