ECA vs academics, debate rages on

ECA vs academics, debate rages on

ECA vs academics, debate rages on

At a time when the captain of the U-19 Indian cricket team should be celebrating his World Cup victory, Unmukt Chand is desperately trying to save his graduation degree.

This is courtesy his college St. Stephen’s which has refused to promote him to IInd year for lack of attendance.

This act has triggered a debate between DU profess­o­rs and artistes from various fields who have graduated from this prestigious varsity.

DU officials and teachers argue that relaxation can be made for students active in extra-curricular activities but only to an extent.

Academics cannot be ignored altogether. Dr. Shiba C Panda, member of the Executive Council of Delhi University, says, “We are already making concessions for them when we are admitting them under Extra Curricular Activities (ECA) or sports quota.

“After that, they cannot demand relaxation in attenda­n­ce. 67 per cent attendance is mandatory for all. The college principal can make some concession if he wants to, but if someone’s (Unmukt) got just eight per cent attendance, he shouldn’t even think about making such a request.”

There has to be a balance between ECA and academics but it cannot be 100 per cent sports and 0 per cent studies, he adds.
Member, Delhi University Teachers’ Association (DUTA) and professor in Khalsa Coll­e­ge, Saikat Ghosh goes a step further, “Every human being makes a choice and Unmukt has made his choice. He is seeking a degree in Bachelors of Arts and not cricket. How can he be given a degree without any attendance? Sachin (Tendulkar) has been seeking a graduation degree from Mumbai University for years now, but has he got any? Such people can only get honorary degrees. Real degrees are not for them.”

Artistes who have similarly struggled during college  and are established and recognised in their field now, beg to differ.

Geeta Chandran, one of the foremost classical dancers of the country today and form­erly a student of Lady Shri Ram College, says, “If these colleges cannot make space for the passion and ambition of these students, then they shouldn’t admit them in sports or ECA quota at all. Why kill their dreams? Stephen’s anyways doesn’t have an ECA quota for anything – dance, theatre, writing or art. All that they have in the name of culture is a sports quota and a Shakespeare society. Let them not have that as well.”

“The truth is that Delhi University is scared of revising its old regulations and creating a new precedent of relaxation for these students who are bringing fame and name to their college and country. Let them decide on a case-to-case basis and I am sure justice will be done to someone as meritorious as Unmukt.”

Boxer and student of Kirori Mal College, who got in through sports quota, takes the argument further, “We are anyways trying our level best to balance sports with studies, but a human being can be present in only one place at one time. How can Unmukt be expected to play matches in foreign countries as well as attend classes. When we are bringing fame to the varsity, it also has certain duties towards us. If you cannot give us any fee concession or sponsorship in international sports programmes, at least give us concession in attendance. That is the least that we expect from you, and the minimum that you can do for us.”  Touché.