By Geetika Aggarwal:
As Delhi University’s first Cut-Off list was announced on Wednesday, more and more applicants seem to have lost hope of securing a seat in the prestigious varsity this year even after scoring well at the plus-two level. The question that arises is what has led to such high cut-offs? Whose fault is it that an applicant cannot get admission in a college and course of their choice even after scoring a 90% in class 12?
To begin with, the number of students securing 95% in Class 12 has gone up by 62% (Pan-India). While 4,456 students crossed 95% mark last year, 7,231 did so this year. In Delhi itself, 1,857 students earned more than 95%. This increase is one of the biggest contributing factors in the rise of cut-offs. One should keep in mind that the rise in percentages is not due to sudden increase in the IQ of students in the last decade or even half a decade for that matter. It is the education system that has transformed. Both State and Nation boards are becoming increasingly laid back in their correction patterns in order to achieve better results.
The total number of seats held by DU is 54,000 over 63 colleges. The number of applications received is this year is over 2.5 lakh, much higher than last year (1.4 lakh). With this upsurge in the number of forms received, the cut-off percentage soared as well.
Another reason for jump in the cut offs this year is the admission procedure designed by the university. Each applicant had to fill a pre-admission form indicating his or her choice of courses and the marks obtained in class 12. All students who meet the cut-offs of a said college are then eligible to take admission in it irrespective of the number of seats held by the institute. The course was given importance over college.
In theory it appears as a brilliant scheme but in reality it may have backfired. Colleges received the number of students who have applied for a particular course without any information regarding the applicants’ preference for institute. With the limited faculty and infrastructure, colleges were left with little option but to increase the cut-off in order to receive only the number of students they can easily accommodate (close to the original number of seats offered for each course by the institute).
Another major change brought about this year was scrapping of various entrance examinations, especially for the journalism and mass communication course. Till last year, 5 colleges offered Bachelor in Journalism, whereas only one college offered Bachelor in Mass Communication and Mass Media. Admission to both the courses was based on separate two-tier entrance tests. This meant that students who may not have been academically excellent but possessed an aptitude for Mass Communication had a good chance to secure a seat in DU.
From this academic session, the university merged the two courses under one, introducing Bachelors in Journalism and Mass Communication (BJMC). However, admission to BJMC is now based on merit, with cut offs starting from 93% and going up till 98.5%, taking away the sole chance for academically ‘average’ students (those scoring below 90%) to be a part of DU. Most students of journalism would agree that this is a big mistake on DU’s part. For a course such as journalism, a screening procedure apart from the marks obtained at plus-two level is essential.
One must understand that it is not the colleges that are entirely responsible for the increase in cut offs. It is vital that the University and the Senior Secondary Schooling System bring about reforms. As for students seeking admission this year, our advice would be to explore other opportunities apart from Delhi University and keep their option open.