Published: 18th October 2019
UoH departments cancel entrance tests, demand JRF instead for PhD admission: Who will be worst hit?
Several marginalised students avail other scholarships and don't always qualify for JRF but the departments have said they will determine selection based on weightage of scholarship
According to a student group at the University of Hyderabad, several departments on campus have issued a notice saying entrance tests will not be conducted this year for PhD admissions. Instead, the candidates will be selected on the basis of whether they have a JRF (Junior Research Fellowship) scholarship or not. Some other departments have said that either the entrance exam marks or weightage of fellowship will decide their admission — this has come like a bolt from the blue for many aspiring researchers. The Ambedkar Students' Association (ASA) issued a statement calling the new norms another method by the University to 'cleanse the campus of marginalised students', because only a fraction of them have JRF
In the notice, the administration has listed out the departments that will solely depend on JRF scholarships to determine a student's admission to their PhD. For some courses, it states that some courses' mode of selection will be JRF and an interview, for others a written test/JRF and an interview and the remaining courses will hold a written test and interview.
The administration states the following in their notice — Entrance Examination will not be conducted for some of the courses and selection will be based on the performance in an interview from among the JRF qualified candidates. These departments include Biochemistry, Plant Sciences, Animal Biology, Biotechnology, Systems and Computational Biology and Biomedical Sciences.
The notice also goes on to list the subjects where weightage is given to the fellowship in lieu of a written test. It states that candidates applying for certain subjects, who wish to write Entrance Exam will have either their Entrance Examination marks or fellowship considered, whichever is higher. These include the subjects mentioned above plus Mathematics, Statistics, Computer Information Sciences, Physics, Health Sciences and Chemistry.
Invoking the prospectus, the Ambedkar Students Association said that it was clearly mentioned that 'based on written test performance, conditions will be shortlisted for interview. Selection for admission will be made based on the performance of candidates in the written test and interview.'
The ASA issued a statement calling the new norms another method by the University to 'cleanse the campus of marginalised students'. The ASA said that till the last year, JRF was given as much weight as other scholarships like RGNF, NCSC, RGNF/NCST, MANF and NFOBC. "Since the scholarships such as RGNF, MANF and MFOBC are specifically implemented to promote the education of students from SC, ST, OBC, PWD and other minority backgrounds, any contravention would directly affect the students from these sections," the ASA said.
The ASA urged the administration to urgently review these notifications and make necessary changes. They also pointed out that several departments on campus have been continuously breaching admission policies, "For instance, the School of Mathematics had released notifications for the July session but didn't call any students stating that there were no eligible candidates but after we protested, the list was released. But now the School has against called for admissions mandating JRF. This is a violation of rights and is a relentless effort to tarnish opportunities for aspiring students," the ASA said.
ASA also pointed out that all these new norms are just entry barriers, "It's only because of these entry barriers that our University couldn't fill the seats in the July session. In this regard, we demand the administration immediately release notifications that permit students with other scholarships as well to apply for the January session."