It is well known and proved many times that Dalit students face caste discrimination in interviews. Dalit students from JNU have been fighting against lowering the weight-age of interview marks for a long time.
When Dalit students are securing top positions in various examinations, the only way for Brahminical organisations to stop them is to adopt interview based admission where they can assign less marks to Dalits and deprive them of opportunities.
Adopting only viva based admission in universities is an attempt to make Manu (of Manusmriti) happy by denying so-called lower castes a chance to educate.
Despite knowing that Dalit students face discrimination in interviews, Delhi University has decided that from this year it will accept PhD and MPhil students only on the basis of an interview.
It is the same admission model that Dalit students have been protesting against in JNU since last year but as usual Dalits’ demands have not been listened. An inquiry committee headed by a JNU professor, Abdul Nafey, has confirmed discrimination against Dalit and tribal students in oral interviews. Abdul Nafey, from Jawaharlal Nehru University’s School of International Studies, recommended a reduction of marks allocated to viva to 15 from 30 last year.
The minutes of a Nafey Committee meeting say, “Data consistently indicate the pattern of difference in the written and the viva voce marks across all social categories which indicates discrimination.”
M.K. Pandit, chairman of Delhi University’s admission committee, today told reporters that “most of the departments” will disregard the PhD applicants’ performance in the written entrance test while making the final selection. “The entrance score will be a qualifier. In the interview, everybody starts at the same level… unless some departments decide to give some weight-age to the entrance test.”
Until last year, the Delhi University gave 85 per cent weight-age to the written test and 15 percent to the interview. Its teachers’ association has described the latest move as “arbitrary” and as a blow to students from poor families.
No matter how high Dalit students get marks in the written examination, in interviews they are given lowest marks, clearly shows the caste bias.
According to one report –
A random sample survey of interview marks of candidates from different categories done by some OBC bureaucrats shows that general candidates perform better than reserved candidates in the interview. The average difference between the general and OBC candidates’ interview marks is five per cent while the over-all difference in the Mains cut-offs of the two categories is less than one per cent. Similarly, between general and SC candidates, the overall Mains cut-off difference is about two per cent but the average difference in interview marks of the sample candidates is eight per cent. This, many reserved category bureaucrats say, is evidence of the bias at play during interviews.
Another research shows that identifying yourself as a member of a lower caste can reduce your chances of getting an interview call.
In a 2007 paper published in the Economic and Political Weekly (EPW), S.K. Thorat, former professor of economics at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, and Paul Attewell at the City University of New York, conducted an experiment by sending three applications each in response to newspaper advertisements for jobs. The applications were sent in the name of an upper-caste Hindu, Dalit and Muslim applicant. The authors found that the chances of a Dalit or Muslim being called for a job interview were significantly lower in comparison with an upper-caste Hindu. This, Thorat and Attewell argued, pointed towards discrimination at the very first stage of the application process. The authors found further evidence to show that even an overqualified Dalit applicant had a lower chance of being called for an interview than a qualified upper-caste Hindu. Similarly, when compared with a qualified Dalit and qualified upper-caste Hindu, an under-qualified upper-caste Hindu applicant had a relatively higher chance of being called for a job interview vis-à-vis the qualified Dalit.
Caste plays an important role in India and discrimination that follows with it. We strongly object to the Delhi University’s decision to adopt only viva based PhD admissions where Dalits’ chances of getting in have been diminished.