UGC to varsities: Be a sport

Our Special Correspondent

New Delhi, Oct. 10: Use of discretionary powers by the Delhi University vice-chancellor to promote Under-19 cricket captain Unmukt Chand to second year in St. Stephens College would not have been necessary had the varsity implemented the UGC guidelines on promoting sports.

Chand, who led India to World Cup victory in August, stood to lose a year for low attendance but was allowed to move up last month after vice-chancellor Dinesh Singh used his discretionary powers, following pressure from HRD minister Kapil Sibal and sports minister Ajay Maken.

However, the University Grants Commission had framed guidelines in April this year under which low attendance because of participation in sporting activities would not impede a student's academic progress.

The UGC has issued the guidelines to vice-chancellors of all universities.

Under the guidelines, the UGC will provide scholarships for higher studies to medal winners in national games and participants in international sporting events. The assistance will be in the range of Rs 5,000-7,500 a month.

The guidelines also ask the universities to make special efforts to help the sportspersons concerned with completion of syllabus and attendance.

However, Delhi University is yet to implement these guidelines. That is the reason St. Stephens College had barred Chand, a sports quota student, from taking the first-year exam.

According to the university rules, a student admitted under sports quota is required to secure 33.3 per cent attendance to be able to sit for exams. Chand had 8 per cent attendance. For general category students, attendance cut-off is 66.6 per cent.

Sources said the university is in the process of finalising a new policy under which a student playing for the college or university may get 100 per cent attendance for the period they spend on sports, including coaching. The university or college will hold extra classes to make up for the loss of attendance.