A student who applied to the English and Foreign Languages University (EFLU) in Hyderabad has alleged that he was denied admission despite meeting the minimum eligibility criteria. Porika Vikas, a Scheduled Tribe (ST, Lambada) student learnt on September 2 that his name did not figure in the shortlist of selected candidates, which is a clear violation of the University’s reservation policy.
EFLU released its first list for several Masters programmes, including the MA in Hispanic Language and Literature, on August 11, 2023. According to the list on the University website, no candidates were selected from the Schedule Caste (SC), Schedule Tribe (ST) or Persons with Disability (PwD) categories.
The University released a second cut off list in which the eligibility was reduced from 30% to 20% marks in the Common University Entrance Test for Postgraduate (CUET, PG-2023). While Vikas’s marks did not meet the eligibility criteria for the first list, he exceeded the minimum requirement as per the second list. Vikas had secured 95 out of 400 (23.75%).
Vikas alleged that despite writing to the University on several occasions, there has been no explanation regarding why his admission wasn’t processed. “I wrote to the EFLU Controller of Examinations, the Head for the Department of Spanish, the Registrar, and the Dean of Student Welfare but received no response,” said Vikas.
However, students from EFLU said that this is not a new concern. Several student activists said that this is not the first time a student from a marginalised community was being denied admission.
The general instructions for EFLU’s Admission to Postgraduate (PG) Programmes 2023-24, carried a clause that the University reserves the right in its own interest not to admit a candidate without assigning any reason whatsoever. Further, a disclaimer in the second round of admissions to the Masters programmes read, “The University reserves the right to cancel the admission of a candidate if he/she has been punished for breach of discipline and/or conduct.”
Vikas said that he has never been punished for breach of discipline or conduct. “I did my undergraduate in EFLU. While enrolled in BA Spanish, I had protested thrice between 2021 and 2023,” he said.
“The final protest was in March 2023 when the administration refused to allot me a hostel despite several rooms remaining unoccupied,” Vikas said. He had applied for a second Bachelors in Italian, but was refused a room, allegedly citing certain rule books. “No such rule is there in the prospectus and several rooms were empty. My house is over 200 km away, in Subbakkapalle in Mulugu district. Even then, I was denied hostel accommodation,” he said. In response, Vikas protested by holding a placard and walking towards the administration block. When the Osmania University (OU) police tried to detain him, 80 students intervened and prevented it.
Except for MA German Studies, which listed three OBC candidates and one SC candidate in the second round of counselling, the first and second lists for counselling to French, German, and Hispanic studies are populated solely by students from the unreserved category.
In the University’s PhD admission for 2022, out of 16 SC, eight ST, and 29 OBC seats reserved, the University only admitted five SC and 20 OBC candidates, and no ST candidates. Following this, the Fraternity Movement, a student organisation, protested against the University’s dismissal of the reservation policy.
In January 2020, the EFLU administration was forced to suspend the rules that allowed for PhD candidates with University Grants Commission’s Junior Research Fellowship (UGC–JRF) from not appearing for the entrance exam. Students have argued that such a policy created a divide between JRF and non-JRF candidates and defeated the goal of inclusivity.
Despite repeated attempts, neither the EFLU Controller of Examinations nor the Registrar were available for comment.