New Delhi: Several Delhi University students who opted for Tamil and Telugu as their non-major subjects in BA programmes last year are reapplying for the Common University Entrance Test-UG (CUET-UG) fearing that they will fail the language exam due to its ”advanced” syllabi.
The students have been given the choice to study different languages as per the New Education Policy (NEP). The first-year students, also the first batch to be admitted to the varsity through CUET, said they were under the impression that they will be taught the basics of the languages but their syllabi are that of advanced level.
The university in its reply to the students said they should have seen the syllabus first, adding, ”We cannot do anything as they have chosen the combination.” Students who opted for BA programmes (Pol Science+Tamil) and (Pol Science+Telugu) at Sri Venkateswara College have asked the authorities several times to change their subjects to either Hindi or Sanskrit, a demand declined by the university.
The dejected students are anxious that they will flunk the semester and, therefore, have registered for the 2023-24 entrance examination.
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Earlier the eligibility criteria for taking up a language as a minor discipline required students to have studied the language up to Class VIII. However, this norm was removed after students raised this matter.
”When we were choosing our preferences we did not know about the eligibility criteria. Neither anyone pointed it out. Even the colleges verifying our application did not notice that we have no knowledge of the language,” said Shivam Kumar, a first-year student of Pol Science from Bihar, who opted for Telugu.
”We got to know about the eligibility criteria after we took admission. We then went to Dean of Admission Haneet Gandhi, who assured us that that norm will be removed,” he added.
However, as per the document issued in November 2022, the university made no changes to the yardstick.
”With no hope in sight,” Kumar on Sunday reapplied for CUET.
”Several students have applied for CUET. Our future is at stake. We do not even know the letters of the language and how can we take exams. We are going to fail…all of us. We requested them (the authorities) to change our subjects but they did not listen. There are 10 students like me in the college. I have no other option so I have applied for the entrance test again,” Kumar said.
A professor at the Department of Modern Indian Languages said this issue is not limited to Telugu and Tamil languages only, claiming that students who have taken up other regional languages like Bengali, Oria and Sindhi are also facing the same problem.
”The students do not know the alphabet or the language and they are being taught literature and advanced level,” she said on the condition of anonymity.
She held the university responsible for this ”fiasco” as many students’ future is at risk.
”There are several languages whose teachers are not available. Can you believe, there is no single teacher in the varsity for Malayalam or Sindhi or Kannada? There is only one teacher for Gujarati. How are students supposed to learn a new language within a semester?” she exclaimed.
A student who opted for the BA programme (Pol Science+Tamil) in Miranda said she is the sole student in the college with this combination and a teacher was assigned to her only last week.
”I do not know how will I give the exam. This is hopeless. I am going to fail,” said Palak (17).
DU professor and former executive council member Rajesh Jha said the interest of the students concerned should be held paramount by the university. ”The interest of the concerned students is paramount and no injustice should be done to them. In this case genuine students of Tamil language got deprived due to the goof up of the university administration. Instead of teaching basics first. They want to teach them literature. How is that even possible?,” he asked.
”The way CUET has been imposed and the admission process has been centralised in DU – are responsible for such problems,” Jha added. Speaking to PTI, Dean of Admission Haneet Gandhi said the eligibility criteria for studying languages have been removed. ”We cannot do anything now. We cannot change their subjects. They should have checked the syllabus before opting for the languages,” she said.
When asked whether the university will take any action to ensure that such incidents are not repeated in future, Gandhi said, ”We will organise an awareness campaign but eligibility criteria will not be changed.”