Support for under-19 cricket star Unmukt Chand poured in from all quarters after being denied permission to appear for his first year BA examinations by St Stephen’s in New Delhi.
“Marks for sports take back seat, attendance for now takes centrestage. This shows how much importance sports has in INDIA. Sad to hear,” India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni said on Twitter.
Anurag Thakur, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) Joint Secretary tweeted: “Unmukt Chand being barred from giving exams is disappointing.
Institutions should support sportspersons in completing their education.”
Meanwhile in Mumbai, Prof Ratnakar Shetty, the BCCI’s Chief Administrative Officer reckoned regulations should be changed if “world champions are to be made.”
Shetty knows what’s it like to be on both sides of the fence. He taught Chemistry at Mumbai’s Wilson College for 33 years and also oversaw the institution’s sporting affairs.
“The best thing that college or university or government rules can provide for is to condone the attendance so far as there is a genuine reason — attending a training camp, preparing for Olympics or Asian Games or World Cup or whatever the event is.
Don’t give them any grace, but allow them to appear for the exam like normal students. In the case of semester exams, they can have a separate exam and assess them.
“They are not asking you to promote them — only for an opportunity to appear for an exam like any other student,” Shetty told MiD DAY yesterday.
Chand, who slammed a match-winning hundred against Australia last Sunday to help India win the under-19 World Cup in Townsville, Queensland, has been prevented from appearing for his second semester exams because of low attendance. The required annual attendance percentage is 33.33 per cent under sports quota.
St Stephen’s principal Valson Thampu said he was amazed by the uproar and he was just going by the rulebook.
When probed further, he told NDTV: “I would like to apologise to the nation for abiding by the rules.”
Former India cricketer and 1983 World Cupper Kirti Azad, who is also a product of St Stephen’s College, was quoted as saying by PTI: “When I was representing my country, I used to get special attention for all of that. Unmukt has won the World Cup for us.
“He is a good young man, he has secured good marks. Penalising him is really unfair on the part of the college.”