Hyderabad University accused of casteist grading system in PhD admissions

“We discovered a pattern of discriminatory marking in interviews in many departments across various schools in the university”, the report states. 

Published: 31st March 2023 05:29 PM  |   Last Updated: 31st March 2023 05:55 PM   |  A+A-

Hyderabad University (File | EPS)

Hyderabad University (File | EPS)

By Online Desk

Two days after a report of 19,000 SC/ST students dropping out of IITs and IIMs in five years came to light, the Ambedkar Students’ Association (ASA) of the University of Hyderabad (UoH) published a seven-page report on the discriminatory grading system in the institution’s PhD admissions. 

The report, which has become viral on social media, notes a pattern in the grading of PhD candidates that resembles the caste hierarchy. 
Students belonging to reserved categories are marked much lower than students belonging to the unreserved category in their interviews despite them having similar marks in the entrance exam’ says ASA’s report. 

“We discovered a pattern of discriminatory marking in interviews in many departments across various schools in the university”, the report states. 

The report presents data from UoH’s seven departments -  Computer science, plant science, biochemistry, physics, electronics, applied mathematics, and microbiology - PhD interview marks. 

According to the data in the report, the average entrance exam mark of five toppers in the computer science department for the Unreserved category is 41.4 and the interview mark is 24.6. Meanwhile, the average exam mark for toppers in the OBC category is 40 and the interview average is 17.2. The average entrance exam mark of five toppers in the SC and ST are 30.2 and 25.4 respectively, while their interview average is 12 and 6.6. 

The report shows a drop in the marks of students in accordance corresponding to their caste privilege. “The discriminatory marking in these departments almost resembles a structure of graded inequality where marks of students resemble their position in the caste hierarchy,” says ASA’s report. 

The report also highlights eight acute instances of discriminatory grading, which include 1)seven out of eight faculties marking an SC student who appeared for a PhD in material engineering with zero and 2) an OBC candidate for PhD in material engineering being given 2.4 marks in the PhD interview while their entrance score is 40. 

Detailing the history of reservation on the campus and the movement that made it feasible, the student association called for a committee to be set up to look into the grading pattern. Other demands of the committee include the criteria of evaluation to be defined, individual marks from the faculty members be provided and recorded, PhD admission workshops for students before the admission begins and that no student must be rejected by the faculty by giving them zero marks. 

In the past, the faculty have marked students with zeroes and deemed them not suitable for admission, which is a violation of USC norms. 

It is to be noted that Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University’s Dalit and Adivasi students alleged that they were consistently given low marks in their PhD interviews in 2021.

India Matters


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