New Delhi/Gurgaon 2011 - IB diploma? Delhi University not interestedStudents armed with a prestigious international school board certificate, the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma, are finding it near impossible to secure seats in Delhi University.
Students, parents and even some lecturers say that Delhi University is turning away those with the diploma, which is awarded by a Geneva-based body and is respected worldwide.
The Association of Indian Universities here says that the IB diploma, as it is widely known, has been equated with the Class 12 qualification of Indian schools since 1983. Most IB students go abroad for higher studies.
Although the Delhi University prospectus says that students with IB diploma can join its colleges, many in the university are ignorant, even indifferent to a qualification that carries a lot of weight abroad.
"Delhi University does not understand the depth of the course," Sangeeta Krishnan Nag, senior principal of Pathways School in Gurgaon, complained to IANS. The school offers an IB diploma.
"On paper they are supposed to accept the IB diploma," she said. "But when students go for admission, they face all kinds of difficulties and are denied admission."
The IB website says 84 schools in India offer one or more of the three IB programmes.
Manisha Malhotra, the IB diploma coordinator at Shri Ram School, admitted that IB students are facing "problems...and this is an issue which needs to be sorted out.
"Some colleges support it, some don't. Delhi University can have one common approach. In this age when people are mobile, IB courses are highly relevant. Indian universities need to take cognizance of this."
Sambhav Srivastava, a senior officer at the Association of Indian Universities, puts the blame for the mess on the Geneva board which gives out the certificates -- International Baccalaureate Organization.
"This is the deficiency of the board. If you really want to help the students, the IB board will have to do something," Srivastava told IANS.
Delhi University, which accepts CBSE, ISC and state board degrees, is set to begin a new academic year Thursday.
According to Srivastava, the number of students pursuing the IB course in India is around 10,000. A key problem is the IB diploma results come out in early July -- by which time few seats are left in Delhi University colleges.
To overcome the problem, Delhi University colleges are expected to admit IB pupils on the basis of a certificate issued by their school, predicting how they would score on the strength of their previous academic showing.
In reality, this does not happen.
J.M. Khurana, dean of students welfare in Delhi University, insists there is no provision for admitting IB students on the basis of their school marksheets.
"How can we give admission on the basis of marks given by schools? Schools can give any marks," he argued.
"Why should we give admission to someone whose results have not come? The university has to go by its (admission) dates. We cannot reserve seats for anyone.
"If today we hold seats for IB students, tomorrow other state boards will make the same demand."
Interestingly, within Delhi University, opinion is divided on the IB diploma.
Some colleges -- including Lady Shri Ram and Sri Venkateswara -- gladly admit IB students, saying they are among the best. In Hansraj, while the English department is for IB diploma, the economics department is not.
"It is a pathetic situation, completely unacceptable," says a young IB diploma holder now studying in Gujarat after Delhi University turned her away.
She had secured provisional admission in English in Hansraj College. But she was told to leave after a school mate who wanted to study economics in the same college was denied admission.
A furious R. Subramaniam, the girl's father, hit out at Delhi University.
"The university's attitude is callous," Subramaniam told IANS. "While a few colleges are cooperative, the university is misleading other colleges.
"A two-year IB course costs Rs.10 lakh. Imagine, after all this, the students realise they can't get into Delhi colleges of their choice. This is injustice."
Some students and parents also blame the IB board and schools offering the course.
Said one parent: "Surely, the IB board must be aware of the various problems. But they never told us. Ditto the schools. The ultimate victims are the innocent students."