Reviewing the 7 CGPA criteria to hold a PoR Introduction
BSP conducted a campus-wide survey to gauge the reaction of the student community on the minimum CGPA criterion for holding any PoR. We received 568 responses, which were primarily representative of the UG community, spread across all programmes and years. We used a standard Google form circulated through webmail, posters, and other official channels. The survey was conducted over a week, from October 16th to October 23rd. Our main objective was to gain insight into where the student community stands over this particular restriction and if any changes are required.
NOTE: The text analysis presenting in this article are the opinions of the student community.
SHOULD THE MINIMUM CG CRITERIA EXIST?
HOW SHOULD THE CGPA CRITERIA BE CHANGED?
UPPER LIMIT ON THE NUMBER OF PORs FOR A STUDENT
The primary reason that arises for NOT putting a restriction on the number of PoRs one can have is that by creating a limit, a cap is being put on the talents of a person. There might be students who are highly skilled in various fields and, as a result, are involved in numerous clubs and boards. By having a specific number of PoRs that one can hold, we are stopping them from being able to meaningfully contribute to all of those clubs or boards, i.e., in a way, we are penalising brilliance. Moreover, PoRs teach a lot about responsibility and delegation and help build a student’s personality.
Another way of looking at this is that time commitments required by various PoRs are considered during interviews for multiple positions. If a candidate already has numerous positions, they are likely to get rejected unless they present an exceptional application. Thus, this acts like a self-regulatory mechanism and removes the need to set a numerical limit on the number of PoRs one can hold.
But there are two sides of each coin. Having a fixed number of PoRs can also be a good thing. A specific group of students with better connections and networks amongst seniors harness the power of politics to get as many PoRs as possible. They hoard these positions but have neither the required skills nor the time to do justice to them. This results in a lack of efficiency in the work done by the respective Boards and Clubs. This also takes away opportunities from people genuinely interested in that work, which would’ve been better for the Clubs, too.
WHAT IS YOUR OPINION ON THE MECHANISM TO ALLOT SECOND-YEAR PORs (REPRESENTATIVES, EXECUTIVES, ETC)?
Most UG Freshmen have little idea about the current mechanism to allot PORs, which was also a grievance for the Sophomores who had lost out on PORs due to being unaware of the selection process and the CG criterion. People believe there is rampant politics in the selection process and that it should be moderated by professors in some form. Connection with seniors was said to be a sure-shot way of getting a POR, and it was suggested that there should be a transparent test of skills and multiple interview rounds for selection. There were many people also satisfied with the current mechanism as this is a necessary skill that would be relevant as we venture into the wider world and our careers.
IS THE CGPA CRITERA AN INCENTIVE FOR PEOPLE TO KEEP THEIR GRADES UP?
ACCOUNTABILITY AND CGPA
People with better CGPA aren’t always the ones with better leadership qualities. How someone is performing in various subjects of engineering is never a true measure of how well they’ll be able to perform administrative work of a Board and/ or Club or how good they might be at a particular extracurricular activity.
However, another way to look at it is that someone with a good CGPA has already shown tremendous time management skills, and they display a natural tendency to be sincere towards their work. This would ensure that they show the same level of commitment towards the PoRs that they hold.
IF YOU ARE A POR HOLDER, THEN WHAT IS THE PRIMARY REASON FOR YOU TO HOLD A POR?
A majority of PoR holders said that their connection with the club/board was the foremost reason for holding a PoR. The influence of seniors was the least likely response, and the number of people targeting a PoR for internship/placements or recognition on campus was lower than expected.
A majority of people agreed with the statement and felt that people should be allowed to do what they are interested in freely; however, a significant number of them thought the statement was justified as they are part of an academic institution and academics should be their priority, and everyone should maintain a bare minimum and be able to manage their time. Many respondents mentioned that they could continue to work/perform for the clubs/boards they were passionate about, citing tech clubs, Ankahi, VDefyn, etc.
Some respondents feel it is unfair to those who are passionate about the activity but not academically inclined as they would not get the recognition they deserve, and that would discourage them. A suggestion was made to introduce non-elected positions who would not be held accountable to encourage them.
An interesting justification for the 7 CGPA criteria given by a respondent was that club/board work is not always fun and interesting regardless of how passionate you are and it requires a lot of tedious groundwork which has to be done; a CGPA of 7 shows that you are capable of putting in the bare minimum effort when needed. Respondents also mentioned that it leads to less skilled people with better connections getting positions as the CGPA criteria may have barred more skilled people.
An intriguing response justifying the statement said that “PoRs are about leadership. leadership and talent are two separate things. Talented people may not be good leaders, and vice versa. Talented people can still participate in the club “. An interesting argument against the CGPA criteria was, “Besides that, PORs are an opportunity to grow socially; skills like team management and public speaking are something our academics could never help us learn. Barring students from such an outlet of expression denies them the right to see themselves as working professionals who will soon use these skills in their daily lives. It takes away from their college experience and puts them on a backfoot to begin with.“ Another justifying the criteria was “The purpose of a club is to unite like-minded people and grow together. Whoever wants to learn they will join the club and learn. Clubs are not created to give PoR to every individual.”
OPINION ON USING FIRST SEMESTER CGPA TO DETERMINE ELIGIBILITY FOR A POR
MOST CLUB/BOARDS DO NOT ALLOW NON-MEMBERS TO APPLY FOR A 3rd YEAR POR AND SO ON. DO YOU THINK THIS IS JUSTIFIED?
A significant number of people who thought it wasn’t justified felt that everybody deserves equal opportunities to hold a 3rd-year PoR as they may have missed out on a 2nd year PoR due to factors like a low GPA in the first semester, lack of awareness about the selection process and student politics and felt that people who weren't interested earlier but then developed an interest should also be given an opportunity. They also thought it discredits people who do not hold a PoR from working for the club in the 2nd year.
However, a consensus among respondents was that a PoR should be awarded to people who are aware of the workings of the club/board (as a 3rd year PoR usually requires leadership and connections within the club ), and this usually points to people who have already held a PoR in the same. Suggestions were made to develop an alternate system to attain a 3rd-year PoR for people who worked for the club in the 2nd year but didn’t hold a PoR, involving interviews by professors and democratic processes as the current system of waivers was deemed ineffective. There were also concerns that this may lead to added politics from people outside the club/board.
Report by: Aarushi Mittal, Gourab Raj Sabat, Sahil Grover, and Shriom Kumar Singh
Post on Instagram designed by Anupam Singh: https://www.instagram.com/p/C0Lx6U_ovWO/?igshid=MzRlODBiNWFlZA== Illustration credits: Scott C. (https://www.scottc.com/) Edited by: Basil Labib