Scores of students who participated in extra curricular activities (ECA) in school as well as those who had joined colleges in Delhi through the ECA quota feel Delhi University’s decision to scrap the reservations this year has been unfair and would adversely affect college culture.

Among such students is an 18-year-old Bharatnatyam dancer, Hritika Aneesh, who started a petition against the university for scrapping the course, which garnered nearly 400 signatures a day after it was started. Hailing from east Delhi, Ms. Aneesh said that in her case, some board exams were also cancelled because of the Delhi riots. In this context, the quota would have been a major boon.

Ms. Aneesh, whose mother runs a dance school, questioned as to why trials could not take place online. “Our dance classes are also being held online,” she said. Besides, she pointed out that for admissions to music courses, the university was allowing online trials.

Pratishita Arya, another dancer who has taken part and won competitions at district and State levels, also said that it was odd that the university was willing to carry out online examinations but did not have the capacity to carry out online trials. “As a premier university, we expect a lot out of them,” said Ms. Arya.

Shubham Gupta, a student residing in Ghaziabad, said that he had been hoping to get through DU after having been part of competitions, start-ups and other activities. “This was my dream,” he said, but was left disappointed on hearing that his efforts may not yield the desired result this year.

Those who had entered the university through the quota believe scrapping it would be a major loss to colleges and unfair to students. Ankit Rathi, who secured first rank in the quizzing section of ECA quota last year, said that students, who entered the university through this mode, were crucial for furthering quizzing societies. “We would bank on them for competitions,” he said. At the same time, he recognises that undertaking trials would be hard especially because there is no uniform body for quizzing, said Mr. Rathi. Despite this, he believed that some method could have been worked out.

Yashwardhan Shukla, who got in through the creative writing quota in 2018, said that the ECA allows individuals, who had worked on their personalities overall, an entry into university. While Mr. Shukla believes there is an issue of transparency in conducting trials in the present situation, he said that the university should have been better prepared with alternatives, instead of entirely cutting off this option.

Aastha Arora, who entered the university through the debating ECA quota, pointed out that the college culture in DU was primarily about extra curricular activities and societies more than academics.

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