The sarcasm in the Twitter post was stinging despite the humour wrapped around it, “Dettol won't be able to study in Delhi University, as it has scored only 99.9% in test”.
And there are obviously no marks for guessing what it meant to convey -- the sky-high cut-offs declared by Delhi University for admissions to the new academic session.
As hundreds and thousands of dreamy-eyed youngsters jostled to queue up in different colleges under DU on Thursday, social media came alive under the #DelhiUniversity as netizens reacted with anger and incredulity over the state of affairs in the education sector.
Experts and commentators Hindustan Times spoke to said one of the primary reasons for the high cut-offs is that an increase in number of applicants over the years has not been compensated with an increase in seats.
According to the first list, the cut-off for BSc (Hons) computer science has gone up to 100% at the College of Vocational Studies (CVS) and Indraprastha College for Women (IP) for students who have not studied physics, chemistry and mathematics in Class 12.
For the most popular courses across DU, the minimum cut-off is around 90%.
According to available data, the number of applicants to DU’s undergraduate program this year is 3.7 lakh against available 54,000 seats.
In 2012, the number of applicants was 1.75 lakh against the same number of seats while in 2013, 2.5 lakh students had applied. In 2014, the number of applicants was 2.7 lakh.
“Too many applicants, too less seats. Then, once a college announces a cut-off, they can’t deny admission So usually for the first list, they set the cut off high so they have an idea about incoming students,” said Mihir Vatsa, who completed his masters degree in English from DU in 2014.
On the other hand, many say that the marking system followed nowadays by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) and other boards often end up in students obtaining very high marks in the Class 12 examinations, and that affects the cut-offs in DU’s colleges.
“The completely absurd assessment system by CBSE in Class 12 examinations is to be blamed for this cut-off debacle. After issues like students committing suicide, the CBSE has taken an easy way out and opted for an incorrect methodology to judge students and assess their knowledge,” said Usha Albuquerque, prominent career counsellor.
Moreover, as another DU alumni explains, the number of applicants increases every year as many students from small towns and villages across India believe that a seat in DU is worth trying for, since it will give them an exposure better than their local universities.
The alumni added that she had batch-mates who felt that the infrastructure of the local colleges was bad and hence tried for DU.
"Across the country so many students get above 95%. They get ambitious and aim for DU. What will the university do?" said Albuquerque.
The lack of alternative graduation college options in Delhi also adds to the woes of students who are compelled to flock to DU.
“The private universities are new and expensive, and not that prestigious,” said Vatsa.
The commentators also said that over reliance on marks obtained in board examinations reveal an encouragement of rote learning practices that afflict the Indian education system in a major way.
Many social media users questioned the pattern of extremely high cut-offs by DU.
Its disheartening that the cut offs for admission in Delhi University is so high. You can always forget about all this & do what you want to— Abish Mathew (@abishmathew) June 25, 2015
Several others commented that the country’s education system needs a complete overhaul.
Another user, @PartRhymer, wrote, “On the #Delhi University's cut-off note, we should encourage and mentor our students in schools to be creative, not just another sheep.”
(The writer tweets as @saha_abhi1990 )