Delhi University's first cut-off hits 'insane' 100%
The cut- off marks for admission to Delhi University's prestigious colleges have always been high. But this year, they have touched the height of absurdity.
Consider this. Shri Ram College of Commerce (SRCC) has pegged its first cut-off for its hugely popular B.Com (Honours) course at a staggering 100%, for students who haven't studied any of the commerce subjects - Mathematics, Accounts, Economics and Business Studies - in Class XII! Incredibly, SRCC Principal P. C. Jain does not see anything absurd in insisting that students from the non- commerce stream in Class XII score perfect marks in all their subjects. "We get the best students from across the country and getting 100% in the aggregate of your best performance in four subjects is no longer impossible in Board examinations," said Jain on Tuesday.
Jain clearly hasn't been tracking the results in various states. In neighbouring Uttar Pradesh, the topper Akash Yadav secured 92.3%. In Karnataka, of the over five lakh students who appeared for the 12th standard exam, fewer than one hundred scored in excess of 95%. In West Bengal, the topper in this year's West Bengal Secondary Certificate examination scored 95%.
The tale is similar across the country, with even various state-level toppers failing to score the minimum entry marks for admission to a top Delhi University college. This has virtually slammed the door in the face of applicants from other states.
But SRCC is not the only one with stratospheric cut-offs. Colleges such as Ramjas, Hindu and, surprisingly, even Keshav Mahavidyalya are not too far behind. For B.Com (H), Hindu College expects applicants to have scored between 95.5% and 99%. At Keshav Mahavidyalya, the cut-off ranges from 94 to 99%.
Most colleges have substantially increased the cut-offs to try and stem the rising tide of applicants. Among science subjects, the increase in the first cut-off marks, as against last year, is as much as 10% in North Campus colleges.
Lokesh Bhandari, a student of Ahlcon Public School in Mayur Vihar, was happy with his aggregate of 91.25% - till the cut- offs were announced. "I am interested in economics and mathematics, but I think I'll have to wait till the third or the fourth list to see if I can get through any of the North Campus colleges," he said.
The absurdity of the increase registered in the qualifying marks of the first list has also been acknowledged by the university at the time of announcement, albeit tacitly.
The university press release sent to all newspapers states: "Colleges have exercised abundant caution in declaring the first cut- off list. Aspirants for admission are advised not to get discouraged. Most colleges are expected to announce four more lists with lower cut- offs." The "abundant caution" exercised is due to the new admission process adopted by the university. DU, from this year, has discontinued the use of pre-admission or application forms.
As per university rule, once the cut-off is declared, colleges have to compulsorily admit all students who come to them with marks equal to or above the cut-off within three days of announcing the cut-offs. So, if the qualifying mark is kept too low, the institution could end up admitting more students than the sanctioned capacity.
In absence of any application data, colleges have played safe by pitching higher cut-off marks for the general category.
The degree of precaution taken is so extreme that colleges do not mind if they don't admit even a single student in the first list. How else could one explain Kirori Mal College pitching its first cut-off for B. Com (H) at 97%,higher than even SRCC, which is the most sought after college for commerce?
"We are in no hurry to admit students. Instead of being the first ones to close admission in the first list, we have decided to proceed very carefully this time," said VK Srivastav, principal, Hindu College.
Even that may not help students from other states. Malini Bhagat, principal of Kolkata's Mahadevi Birla school, said the total number of students scoring above 90% in subjects in the state higher secondary exam has gone down significantly this time. "It naturally becomes difficult for students coming from the state boards to qualify," Bhagat said.
Apart from blaming the new admission procedure, college principals have also pleaded helplessness in the light of the unprecedented number of students who have scored above 90% in the CBSE exam this year.
The category of students scoring above 95% across the country in the CBSE exam witnessed an unprecedented spike as its number jumped from 1,202 in 2010 to 2,097 this year. In the Delhi region alone, this number trebled from 288 last year to 818 students this time.
According to Krishna Kumar, former head of NCERT, the marks inflation has been going on for quite some time. "The National Curriculum Framework made by the NCERT in 2005 had suggested various reforms to contain this trend of inflating results. Board results are no longer indicators of a student's real potential," said Kumar.
"The real problem is the gap between demand and supply. There is a need to create more quality institutions of higher learning," said Ashok Ganguly, former head of CBSE.