The resentment over the abolishment of the English entrance test resurfaced again on Monday as teachers across colleges conducted a brief scrutiny of the centralised forms data. In the absence of the test, the English (Honours) applications have reportedly increased 12 fold or even more in several colleges. This deluge, teachers say, will act as a hindrance in the way of admitting the right candidates for this course.
“We have 23,000 applicants for the English (Honours) course this year. Out of these about 700 have scored above 90 per cent. Students who are genuinely interested in literature do not tend to be high scorers. It’s usually the commerce background students who do. So, with high cutoff marks we might end up taking students who have no interest what so ever in literature,” said Devraj Mukherjee, teacher in-charge, English Department, Ramjas College.
Hindu College, too, has witnessed an unprecedented increase. From 1,200 candidates appearing for the test in 2007, the college now has close to 23,000 students who are interested in studying English. “This year we’ve had more applicants for English (Honours) than we had expected. Among the total there are about 3,000 students who have scored 85 per cent and above. We are only considering this slab for admission,” said Ashma Sharma, teacher in-charge, English Department, Hindu College. Sharma attributed the unprecedented increase to the OMR form where applicants apply to variety of colleges and courses even when they are genuinely not interested.
According to Mudita Mohile, lecturer, English Department, Gargi College, the entrance was beneficial not just for the college but also for the candidates as it helped them realize that knowing grammar was not enough to pursue English (H).
“The absence of the entrance test has led to our college dealing with a phenomenal number of applications and ironically the number of seats are still the same. We are looking for students who are not just fluent in English but appreciate literature as well. Studying English at the board level and pursuing English (Honours) involves a paradigm shift. Students don’t realise this and have randomly applied for the course. They will suffer once they get admitted.”
Close to 13,000 students have applied to Gargi for English (H) this year through the OMR forms. About 800 had appeared for the test last year.