Will high cut-offs lower hopes at DU?

WHAT LIES AHEAD The dif­fer­ence be­tween the first and fifth cut-off list will be sub­stan­tially re­duced this year

Hindustan Times (Delhi) - HT Education - - Front Page - Gauri Kohli

The first cut- off list is to be an­nounced for un­der­grad­u­ate pro­grammes at Delhi Univer­sity in five days. The ques­tion is: is the com­pe­ti­tion go­ing to be as fierce as it was last year?

In 2015, the cut-offs for ad­mis­sion to Delhi Univer­sity (DU) went up to 100% in cer­tain cour­ses. Ex­perts don’t ex­pect things to change this year too.

Ac­cord­ing to Ru­drashish Chakraborty, mem­ber, DU aca­demic coun­cil, “Ex­pected cut-off this year will be ac­cord­ing to the ap­pli­ca­tions re­ceived. If there are more stu­dents with high marks, cut-offs will go up.” This sit­u­a­tion is more likely given the over­all reg­is­tra­tions, which num­ber close to 3.4 lakh.

Con­ven­tion­ally, the cut-offs are high­est for com­merce and the low­est for hu­man­i­ties. Till last year, there were up to 12 cut-off lists for DU. The main rea­son was reshuf­fling of seats be­cause of OBC and SC/ST va­can­cies un­der the 27% and 22.5% quota that re­mained in dif­fer­ent col­leges and cour­ses. WHAT TO EX­PECT Elab­o­rat­ing on this year’s sce­nario, Dr Bharat Singh, mem­ber, DU aca­demic coun­cil and stand­ing com­mit­tee on ad­mis­sions, says, “Ear­lier, when there were ex­cess ad­mis­sions after the an­nounce­ment of a cut-off list in the gen­eral cat­e­gory, we had to com­pen­sate the num­ber of seats for OBC and SC/ST can­di­dates pro­por­tion­ately. This time, not more than five cut-off lists will be pub­lished and for the seats that re­main, col­leges will have to an­nounce a fresh merit list and give ad­mis­sion to can­di­dates on a first-come-first-serve ba­sis. For in­stance, if a col­lege has five va­cant seats after the fifth cut-off in a course, the col­lege will in­vite fresh ap­pli­ca­tions from can­di­dates who had al­ready reg­is­tered dur­ing the ini­tial reg­is­tra­tion process. The best can­di­dates will then be se­lected for these slots based on merit. While this will re­duce the rush that is usu­ally seen, it will also mean that the cut-offs will re­main high. The dif­fer­ence be­tween the first and fifth cut-off list will also be sub­stan­tially re­duced.”

Stu­dents who meet the req­ui­site cut-off need to se­lect the col­lege or course of their choice. The col­leges have t o ad­mit all the can­di­dates who meet the an­nounced cut- of f cri­te­ria. Ad­mis­sions will not be on a first­come-first-serve ba­sis till the fifth cut­off list is an­nounced. Those un­able to take ad­mis­sion in a given cut- off list can be con­sid­ered for ad­mis­sion in the im­me­di­ate next cut-off list only on the last date of ad­mis­sion, sub­ject to avail­abil­ity of seats.

“Stu­dents will not be able to take ad­mis­sion in more than one course and one col­lege at the same time. Also, five lists mean ad­mis­sions will be han­dled care­fully with strin­gent checks and be sta­ble in most lists,” says Chakraborty. NO RE­LIEF “The cut-offs are un­likely to drop sig­nif­i­cantly in each sub­se­quent list for the most sought after cour­ses like BCom (hons), eco­nomics (hons), English (hons) and BCom (pass), es­pe­cially for gen­eral cat­e­gory can­di­dates. There is pro­vi­sion of 2.5% and 5% de­duc­tion for hon­ours and pass cour­ses, re­spec­tively, for a sub­ject not stud­ied/change of stream,” says Dr Singh.

The cut-off ceil­ing de­pends on the stan­dard of CBSE eval­u­a­tion and re­sults. The penalty clauses are mostly ra­tional and log­i­cal. It is a mea­sure to en­sure a level play­ing field for all the can­di­dates from dif­fer­ent streams, adds Dr Singh.

“My ex­pe­ri­ence says the drop in the sec­ond and the sub­se­quent lists will be mar­ginal, depend­ing on with­drawals,” adds Chakraborty.

This time there will be no con­cept of uni­form cut-offs as such in DU. “This does seem to be fea­si­ble. Dif­fer­ent DU col­leges are quite het­ero­ge­neous in terms of lo­ca­tion, cour­ses of­fered and in­fra­struc­ture etc. The cut-offs are likely to es­ca­late by around 1% to 2% this year for dif­fer­ent cour­ses in dif­fer­ent col­leges, es­pe­cially in the first list,” says Dr Singh.

How­ever, there will not be any ad­di­tional el­i­gi­bil­ity cri­te­rion for any cat­e­gory in any col­lege or course. “Ad­di­tional el­i­gi­bil­ity cri­te­ria is no longer pos­si­ble since DU doesn’t al­low col­leges to have the same any­more. How­ever, ad­di­tional el­i­gi­bil­ity cri­te­ria is meant to meet cus­tomised re­quire­ments of each dis­ci­pline. Com­merce cour­ses re­duce marks of ap­pli­cants if they have not stud­ied com­merce sub­jects. A course in English (hons) gives ad­van­tage to ap­pli­cants who have stud­ied elec­tive English or English lit­er­a­ture since it makes sense aca­dem­i­cally. I agree that some­times it makes things dif­fi­cult for ap­pli­cants. The prob­lem lies in school boards giv­ing very high marks to stu­dents which make ad­mis­sions very dif­fi­cult,” says Chakraborty.

While em­pathis­ing with ap­pli­cants who have to deal with high cut-offs and penalty clauses, Chakraborty feels col­leges are not at fault for this. “Even with such high cut-offs, col­leges are sad­dled with over­ad­mis­sions since stu­dents are get­ting such high marks. There has to be some ra­tio­nal­i­sa­tion done to marks given by boards like CBSE which is the root cause of the prob­lem. Since DU is a Cen­tral univer­sity es­tab- lished by an Act of Par­lia­ment, it at­tracts stu­dents from all parts of the coun­try. Hence there is no vari­able im­pact of the cut-offs on dif­fer­ent boards. “How­ever, be­cause of CBSE’s ob­nox­ious pol­icy of in­flated mark­ing, it has given rise to com­pet­i­tive in­fla­tion in marks among other state boards who ear­lier used to be ra­tional,” he says.

While the num­ber of stu­dents qual­i­fy­ing the Class 12 exam is go­ing up ev­ery year by thou­sands, seats in col­leges have not been in­creased. “So a high cut-off has more to do with lack of ad­e­quate num­ber of col­leges of­fer­ing af­ford­able qual­ity ed­u­ca­tion,” adds Chakraborty. Early birds ap­ply­ing to the col­lege of their choice and opt­ing for sub­jects they have stud­ied in school are at an ad­van­tage when it comes to gain­ing an edge over oth­ers in the Delhi Univer­sity cut-off war.

Giv­ing rea­sons for the high cut-offs, Dr Rama, act­ing prin­ci­pal, Han­sraj Col­lege, says, “The cut-off de­pends on the Class 12 re­sults and varies ev­ery year. Stu­dents who have stud­ied sim­i­lar sub­jects/pa­pers in school are given ad­van­tage. Due to this rea­son ef­fec­tively for other streams/ sub­jects, the re­quire­ment of score be­comes 100%.” Ap­pli­ca­tions are not based on cut-offs. Stu­dents want to pur­sue sub­jects they are in­ter­ested in. “The drop in the sec­ond and sub­se­quent lists de­pends on the re­sponse of first cut-off,” she says. Ad­vis­ing can­di­dates on deal­ing with cut-offs, DrRa­masays, “Stu­dents must opt for the sub­jects or course which they have al­ready stud­ied. If you want to change the stream there is a pro­vi­sion of de­duc­tion of marks of up to 5%.”

The cut-off lists are re­lated to the num­ber of seats avail­able in a col­lege. If there’s no change in the num­ber any method adopted for the cut-off will not the change the trend. The cut-offs de­clared by the col­lege de­pend on the num­ber of ap­pli­ca­tions re­ceived for a par­tic­u­lar course to the sanc­tioned num­ber of seats in that course. That varies from col­lege to col­lege and course to course. Dr P Hem­latha Reddy, prin­ci­pal, Sri Venkateswara Col­lege, says, “The cut-offs are only a re­flec­tion of a year’s av­er­age pass per­cent­age of CBSE. If stu­dents have per­formed very well there is a chance of in­crease in cut-off in that stream. Gen­er­ally, most col­leges com­plete 80% to 85% fill­ing up of seats by fifth lists. Few col­leges do so even be­fore that. After the fifth list, all the un­filled seats (min­i­mum in num­ber) will be filled in the or­der of merit, thus help­ing the col­lege to com­plete the ad­mis­sion process.”

Pro-rata cal­cu­la­tion of science cour­ses in the­ory and prac­ti­cals of all boards in science stream by nor­mal­is­ing to a weigh­tage of 70:30 is go­ing to be im­ple­mented from this year. That is even if some boards have 60:40 weigh­tage in the­ory and prac­ti­cals they will be cal­cu­lated with a for­mula to equate with 70:30, which is uni­form, says Dr Reddy.

HT FILE PHOTO

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