So, is it actually a ‘60 per cent free-for-all’ as far as Christian students are concerned at St Stephen’s College? Far from it, say those associated with the admission process and the supreme council.
The supreme council spokesperson Sunil Mathews clarified on Thursday the church body’s communication had been misunderstood by many at the college. He said the council had fixed 60 per cent as the minimum base marks for eligibility to appear in the interview for those Honours courses for which few reserved category students apply. This decision applies to both Category A (Christian students) and C (non-Christian SC/ST, disabled students) applicants.
Mathews also said in case many reserved category students with high marks apply for certain courses, the departments were free to use their discretion to decide on a higher cut-off. The minimum eligibility marks for interviews for programme courses is 55 per cent for both Category A and C.
“The rationale for the 60 per cent mark was to cater to situations where very few applicants from Category A and C have applied. The main objective for the council was to fill up the seats in accordance with categories and percentages laid out in the policy. The principle of inter se merit would apply across each category and sub-category therein. This means that the top candidates in each category and sub-category come in,” said Mathews.
Several teachers in the college say some quarters were deliberately misrepresenting the rules.
“The qualifying marks for the Mathematics Honours interview has been fixed at 60 per cent for category A as only 68 students have applied for 30 reserved seats. I have an applicant-seat ratio of about 1:2. For non-Christian SC/ST applicants, the ratio is slightly higher at 1:5. But I do not have to call an unlimited number of candidates for the interview,” said Nandita Narain, St Stephen’s Mathematics department head.
Narain claims in other courses where more high scorers have applied, the base marks for an interview call have been higher. “I can happily fill the reserved category seats without lowering the cut-off for interviews. I have enough candidates, whether reserved category or general, with marks around 81 per cent to fill up all seats,” said N. Raghunathan, St Stephen’s economics head.
Raghunathan also said the admission process has been fraught with confusion this year, something that several other teachers accepted. College Philosophy department head Vijay Tankha said the concerns were being overplayed to an extent. “A student with 60 per cent marks would not get in anyway because interview is only 10 per cent of the process,” said Tankha.
He also voiced his concern about the weightage for interviews being scaled down. “Downgrading interviews is not very health.