JU mulls outsourcing admission tests

Jadavpur University is considering following in Presidency’s footsteps and outsource the job of conducting its admission tests to the state JEE board, members of the university’s executive council have said.

The proposal to ask the JEE board to conduct the tests was tabled at a recent meeting of the council, the highest decision-making body of the university, following an advice from advocate-general Kishore Dutta.

The Bengal government’s chief law officer suggested that the university’s board of studies, which comprises representatives of all departments, be kept out of the process of conducting the admission tests.

“Outsourcing the job of conducting the tests would be in keeping with the spirit of the advice,” an official said.

At JU, the departments so far conducted the admission tests.

“At the meeting, while discussing the proposal, the members considered the possibility of outsourcing the job to the state JEE board. A few other options were discussed, too. The admissions committee, which has been assigned the task of overseeing the test in accordance with advice of the advocate-general, would take a call,” said Manojit Mandal, an associate professor of English at the university and the state higher education council’s nominee to the executive council.

The higher education department selects the council’s nominee.

“This year the admission tests are scheduled from July 11 to 14. So, outsourcing, if any, will be from next year,” another member of the council said.

Several JU professors wondered why the authorities had to even explore the possibility of asking an external agency to conduct the tests on their behalf.

There is a “marked difference” between Presidency, where the JEE board has been conducting the admission tests since 2015, and JU, said Nilanjana Gupta, a professor in the English department at JU. “The Presidency authorities lacked the logistics to conduct the tests and so, they asked the JEE board to do the job for them. At JU, there are no shortcomings that could prompt the authorities to outsource the job,” she said.

Asked about the possibility of the JEE board being asked to conduct the tests from next year, pro vice-chancellor Pradip Ghosh said: “The admissions committee at this moment is only concerned about holding this year’s tests.”

Metro had on Sunday reported that the head of the English department, Abhijit Gupta, feared that the decision to engage external experts to prepare one among two sets of questions for the admission tests in six undergraduate courses in humanities would “result in massive dilution of academic standard”.

The other set of questions will be prepared by the heads of the six departments – Bengali, comparative literature, English, history, philosophy and political science – in their capacity as members of the admissions committee. The controller of examinations will select one of the sets as the final one.

The JEE board this year floundered on several occasions while holding the admission test for Presidency.

Candidates who had written the test for the undergraduate political science course alleged that the question pattern was different from what the university had announced in the information brochure.

There were also complaints of errors in the English question paper.

Source: Telegraph India

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