In what may be termed a revolutionary move, the University Grants Commission (UGC), issued a directive to all Indian universities to conduct online admissions from the following academic year. This means that all universities in the country must necessarily conduct online admissions for all courses from the following academic session. While there are a number of advantages to this injunction, it may not always work out to the benefit of the academic institution or the applicants. Let us take a look at the pros and cons of the online admission system that is to come into effect. Some universities already follow the online admissions system, while most others are yet to set it up.
Advantages of Online Admission
- Applicants’ Convenience – One of the greatest advantages of the online application system is that applicants can choose to submit their applications at their convenience. All that is required is access to a computer and internet connectivity. Messy handwriting, lack of postal connectivity, delay in courier delivery etc. are unlikely to disrupt the application process. This is a great advantage to candidates in rural areas and candidates with disabilities.
- Logistics – No more running out of paper application forms, picking the right colour ink pens, illegible prints and wondering if the application has been received at all. The online application process offers university applicants a uniform platform for filling in their applications and also provides prompts on which fields are mandatory. The acknowledgement is almost immediate and the system user-friendly.
- Advantage to Universities – Universities and educational institutions are also at a major advantage when it comes to an online admission process. Quick access to student records and databases, efficient systems for filtering out candidates and processing of applications is possible through the online application process. The costs of processing applications and employing additional manpower during admissions are slashed with the implementation of an online application system.
- Increases Accuracy and Efficiency – Those who have seen university officials accepting thousands of paper applications each day at office counters understand that high fatigue and monotony involved in the paperwork is a catalyst for errors. Each error could cost students their academic career and educational prospects. The online admission system is highly reliable and efficient and eliminates chances of such errors.
- Demolishing Geography – Another great advantage of the online admission system is that it makes it possible for candidates from across the country and even abroad to apply to Indian universities without any hassles. It eliminates the inconveniences caused by ailments and exigencies, providing deserving candidates a convenience that has never before been available.
Disadvantages of Online Admission
- Computer Literacy and Internet Access – In India, though Internet penetration is rather high, Internet connectivity and speed issues are major impediments to bring any real advantage to university applicants. Most rural areas experience high blackouts and electricity issues. This means, once again candidates in urban districts and areas are placed at a significant advantage.
- Low Computer Literacy – Another major concern is the low rate of computer literacy in India. Current estimates say that only about 6.5 percent Indians are computer savvy. A sudden shift to the online admission process is likely to cause confusion and despondency among a great many applicants.
- Security Concerns – In a country like India where security fails of online systems have become increasingly common over the years, online applications make it easier for systems to be breached and for applications or scores to be manipulated. The fear that hackers may target universities and educational institutions is a grave one. Unintentional system failures or server crashes may disrupt the entire admission process of universities and educational institutions. Another important concern is the confidentiality of student information and associated security risks involved in online application processing.
- Authenticity – In most manual admission processes, the eligibility of candidates is proved by verification of originals at the time of accepting applications, ensuring that only genuine candidates apply. Online applications make it easier for fraudsters to manipulate the application process and eligibility requirements.
- Infrastructural Requirements – Building a robust and secure online admission process is a task that requires financial and infrastructural resources. Many universities and educational institutions may not have the necessary resources and all these costs will ultimately be borne by the students. In a country where higher education is a luxury few can afford, increased costs may be a deterrent for education.
Universities with Online Admission Procedure
A number of universities in India have either completely or partially implemented the online admission process. A number of reputed Indian universities such as IGNOU (Indira Gandhi National Open University) and Manipal University have gone completely online with their admission process. Other universities of the country that have opted for online admissions for some courses include Delhi University, Bangalore University, Mysore University, Jadavpur University, Mumbai University, and Annamalai University. Some universities that are yet to move from the paper application system include Aligarh Muslim University, Jawaharlal Nehru University, University of Calcutta, Benaras Hindu University, and University of Allahabad.
Online Admission Support
Unlike foreign universities, Indian universities such as Rajasthan University face a number of problems when it comes to online admissions. In June 2015, hundreds of parents and candidates flocked to Rajasthan University colleges seeking clarity about possible subject combinations, eligibility, and cut-off marks due to a lack of support despite applying online. In both 2014 and 2015, server crashes, slow connectivity, and technical snags marred the application filling and admission process of Lucknow University, causing unnecessary distress to applicants. Another university that reported technical glitches as early as a fortnight into online registrations is the Mumbai University. Server capacity is one of the major issues faced by this institution. Instances of website crash were reported by a number of applicants as well.
However, if a robust system can be put in place, online admissions would help breed clarity in the process of admissions.
More Information on Education