Thursday, 8 October 2015

Admissions at Centre for Russian and Central Asian Studies, JNU

Via Nitheesh Narayanan, some incredible statistics on the average admission test scores of candidates from different categories, at JNU's Centre for Russian and Central Asian Studies, 2015:

It has often been pointed out that the viva/interview components of the admissions process are particularly susceptible to bias in favour of those from privileged backgrounds. This has been a particular issue for universities like Oxford and Cambridge, which famously give a lot of weight to interviews in their admissions. Many of us have suspected that in India too, this is a major factor responsible for the abysmal admission rates of lower-caste students at postgraduate level (despite reservations). The above data (obtained via an RTI application) certainly supports that hypothesis!

One might ask whether this reflects conscious caste discrimination or unconscious biases of various sorts (having to do with mannerisms, accent etc.). That's probably a moot point; in either case, it seems pretty clear that the outcome is a process that discriminates against the underprivileged. I think we as faculty members need to try and be a lot more aware of such biases, and proactively seek to redress them. One very important component of this must be to have more people from the underprivileged communities amongst the evaluators themselves.

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Caste break-up at NLSIU

Via Chirayu Jain, some data on the caste break-up of students at the National Law School of India University, Bengaluru.