JNU may switch to online entrance for all its courses

The Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) administration is likely to switch completely to online mode for entrance examinations, to be held in December 2018, for all its courses — if recommendations of a committee set up for this purpose are to be implemented. The committee has further recommended that questions be asked in a Multiple Choice Question (MCQ) format, including for social science subjects.

The move has drawn criticism from the JNU Students’ Union (JNUSU) as well as some Deans and teachers. Currently, JNU conducts exams for 169 academic programmes in offline mode in 72 centres across 54 cities.

In a meeting, held on May 17, the 12-member committee, set up to look into conducting online exams, said that the offline mode was “tedious, lengthy and time consuming”. The minutes of the meeting (MoM), signed by 11 members, read, “JNU should completely adopt the online mode of entrance examination with MCQs for all 169 examinations held for all schools and centres. All schools and centres that conduct subjective analytical examinations should change their examination pattern to an analysis of domain knowledge based on MCQs only.”

On May 28, in a meeting with Deans and Chairpersons, it was agreed that JNU adopt online mode in entrance examination for “all the academic programmes” and that “admission to all programmes other than MPhil and PhD would be solely based on online examination results”.

“For schools and centres that wish to incorporate a subjective analysis of written skills, a short written examination would be conducted in JNU, at the time of the interviews,” the MoM read.

Sources told The Indian Express that at least two Deans raised apprehensions about the MCQ format. “Having such a format for social science subjects defeats the purpose because we need to assess the analytical abilities of students. Moreover, the recommendations have to be passed by statutory bodies as committees only look into matters and present reports,” a Dean told The Indian Express.

JNU Rectors Chintamani Mahapatra and Satish Garkoti did not respond to calls and texts by The Indian Express. Committee member G N Jha refused to comment.