1 April 2016: What makes JNU a unique institute of higher education in the country, is its inclusive policies and criteria for admission. JNU’s admission process recognizes deprivations and inequities at various levels, and through its ‘deprivation index’- an evaluation scheme based on affirmative discrimination on grounds of gender, regional development, educational background, special categories, etc. aims to provide fair opportunity to all for learning and education. The new Admission Prospectus however, saw changes made in the ‘deprivation index’ scheme.
What is the Quartile System in the admission policy of JNU?
For those who get put off when statistical words are used, this is a methodology for calculating merit points (extra points), awarded to those who have qualified JNUEE and are from poorer districts of Indian States.
a) ‘Quartile District I’ is a term referring to extremely backward regions. Students coming from regions that fall under Quartile District I receive 5 points directly.
b) ‘Quartile District II’ is a term referring to backward regions. Students coming from regions that fall under Quartile District II receive 3 points.
What are the other kinds of deprivation points?
a) Apart from the above, five more points are awarded to women and transgender students.
b) All Kashimiri migrants and students belonging to Defence categories get five points each.
‘Deprivation points’ awarded to each individual is based on a scale of 10.(mentioned in the Admission Prospectus of JNU: http://www.jnu.ac.in/Admission/Prospectus2016.pdf, Pg 49).
JNU’s Centre for the Study of Law and Governance does research based on parameters such as literacy rate of a district, agricultural productivity and other similar factors. The merit system applicable during admission process is based on their report. Through research upgradation the quartiles are changed when required, this can affect gender points also.
The Academic Council of University considers the recommendations made by the panel of Expert Committee when revisions and upgradations are done.
What’s been changed?
The new and the old in the latest ‘Deprivation-Index’:
Before: A student who qualified JNUEE and came from Quartile-I or Quartile-II district, would have received 5 or 3 points accordingly.
Proof of Residence, showing the student’s domicile falling under any particular Quartile District, was enough to fetch the student the additional points.
After: The Institution from where the student received the academic degree must be located in one of the Quartile Districts to avail points.
A cumulative process has been adopted defying the flat 5 points policy previously awarded to women. Same is for men hailing from Quartile District I & II: the points decrease as separate degrees have separate points allotted to them.
Proof of residence in one of the Quartile District still holds ground for availing deprivation points.
Before– Transgender students were recognized as belonging to Third Gender Category. This was a direct result of UGC guidelines, following a Supreme Court ruling, making it mandatory for all Colleges and Universities to adopt Third Gender Category for admission processes.
After– Transgender students not just find a mention but students applying through this category who have completed their education from one of the Quartile District get 4 points. If not from Quartile District they still get 2 points.
Before– Deprivation points were never reduced for female students, the 5 points for female students has been there since 1995.
After– The new session will be the first to face this change where deprivation points have been reduced for females. 4 points given to those female students who have completed education from one of the Quartile District. 2 points are still given to those from a district that is not backward.
An All Organisation meeting was called at 9 PM, on 31 March at Teflas to debate upon issues surrounding the newly formulated ‘deprivation points’ model which has already sparked off discussions in the campus.
Student activists were seen, actively circulating pamphlets, highlighting their political message about ‘Gender Justice’ and ‘Inclusivity’ of marginalised students. As they perceive this as yet another vicious attack on their democratic rights. Allegedly it was heard that the committee that revised the ‘deprivation index’ did not take into consideration the opinions of the student’s body before making the changes.
Revision of the admission policy has occurred periodically and every time it has met with resistance from students/political organizations/concerned faculty members. But the recent re-formulated ‘deprivation-index’ based on affirmative action is considered as undermining the rights of students from deprived backgrounds. Also the absence of Non-Net Fellowship has come as a rude shock to the student community. The reasons for such break-up points are being sought; more transparency in the workings of Expert Committee has been demanded.
D. Jennifer works for the News Pool at The Informer and is from CSSS at JNU.