New Delhi: The Delhi University admission race seems like a scramble to land yourself with a share allotment in an Initial Public Offering. You know there is a base price. What you do next is to ascertain a premium you will be willing to pay to garner a certain number of shares.
When the share is listed on the stock exchange, the price band is announced and if you are a lucky enough, the investor whose price falls within the band, you get a certain number of shares allotted to you. Seats in Delhi colleges are going almost the same route.
Delhi University too is like a blue-chip company. Everyone in India wants to be a part of it and because it is a central university and is not governed by rules such as those of domicile, the cut-offs are on the radar of aspirants from across the country.
With the University having scrapped the process of asking students to apply to courses in colleges first and then arriving at the average cutoff marks, colleges for the first time have been asked to declare their cutoff marks directly based on their experience and the result is there for everyone to see.
According to the cut-off lists announced on Wednesday, the Sri Ram College of Commerce has sought 100 per cent as best of four subjects aggregate for admission to its much sought-after B Com Honours course from students who had not pursued the stream at the plus-two level.
Why doesn't the college just declare that all admission to the course will be open to the commerce students. Why take the other route and declare cutoffs for non-commerce students at all?
The case is the same at the Hindu College as well. Non-commerce students need an aggregate of 99 per cent, while commerce students need 95.5 per cent to land an admission in the B Com Honours course. Kirori Mal College and Lady Shri Ram College have come out with 97 per cent as the first cutoff for the course.
Meanwhile, science courses too are seeing a sharp rise in cutoff marks. The cut-off for Chemistry Hons. in Hansraj College has gone up by nine per cent, taking it to 94 per cent, while Physics and Zoology cut-offs have climbed up by five per cent, taking the number to 96 and 87, respectively. Botany has seen a hike of six per cent, making 82 the cut-off percentage.
At the Miranda House, you need to have a score of 90 and 92 to study Chemistry and Physics Honours, respectively. Daulat Ram College has also hiked its cutoff for Chemistry Honours by as much as 13 per cent.
Among the south campus colleges, Gargi College has increased the cutoff marks for Chemistry Honours by 12 per cent, while Sri Venkateswara College has raised the cut-off for Physics Honours by about 5.5 per cent. The average increase for the rest of the subjects is reportedly between two-three per cent.
In Humanities Courses as well, all Delhi University colleges have reportedly raised the cut-off by an average of two-three per cent, with the highest cut-off being 95 per cent.
Like an inflated stock market, the Delhi University cut-off list has brought more shock than hope. So much so that even those students who managed to get aggreagates in the early 90s will have to spend four sleepless nights before the second cutoff list is declared.
The aspiration of landing with a seat in a Delhi University college of choice and a course of choice may still be a difficult one to achieve as it is expected that most seats will be filled up.
Delhi University being a central university does not have a domicile quota for Delhi students, which is available to most students in other parts of the country who are applying to their state or city universities. In states like Maharashtra, Karnataka, West Bengal, and Tamil Nadu students who have studied under the home board are given a preference in admission.
For purposes of admission, domicile is often defined as the place of permanent residence. In some cases, this is determined by the specified period of continuous stay in the State concerned. Often, the place of birth is the determining factor. In some States, passing the qualifying examinations from institutions located in the State is enough to earn the domicile status.
In a country where course curricula and evaluation standards vary from one education board to another, Delhi University is following a process that looks at only the marks as the sole criterion, irrespective of the board the student comes from. This is bound to create more tension between Delhi University aspirants and has the potential to snowball into a much larger issue.
The admissions race and the procedure followed leads us to ask more questions on whether domicile quotas have any place in higher education in this country. Also, with the HRD Ministry's proposal of doing away with class X and XII board exams or substituting marks with grades, there is serious concern over the governance of higher education in the country.
The 100 per cent cut-off is finally here. Will India's education system be able to sustain this pressure and provide for quality education across the country. That is the bigger question.