For Anjali Kumar (name changed), reading has always been a passion. Today, she dreams of carrying forward that passion by studying English honours.
Things have worked in her favour too. With a score of 97% in English, she is confident she will make it to the best colleges in Delhi University (DU).
"I want to study English because I know I will be able to do well. I have managed to get a 97% in the class 12 Board examination and with that same dedication, I hope to pursue the subject in my undergraduation," said Kumar, a student of Rajkiya Pratibha Vikas Vidyalaya (Delhi).
What students like Kumar are unaware of is the amount of literature that the course involves -- something that teachers say will prove to be disadvantageous to students who take up a subject without being aware of its contents.
While the Common Admission Test for English (CATE) exam sifted out students who took up English honours, it also prepared students for what they would study during the course.
"The CATE exam familiarised students with what the curriculum held and what skills were required of them. With that no longer being there, aspirants must check the internet and gather as much information about the course in order to be prepared for what they will study. Since this course is heavily literature-based, not only does it require a great degree of interest in literature, but also correct grammar. If a student has language flaws, this course is not for them," said Sanam Khanna, professor of English, Kamla Nehru College.
With the removal of CATE and the course undergoing vast structural changes under the four-year programme, applicants who have scored well in the subject in Class 12 are thronging DU in the hope of making it to English honours.
However, the ambiguity regarding the curriculum notwithstanding, professors of the course are also skeptical of the quality of students who will take up the course.
"There is complete ambiguity about the course because there is still no clarity about the papers that have to be taught. While earlier we were confident that the quality of students who came in through CATE was the best, that certainty is no longer there," said Mitali Misra, professor of English, Lady Shri Ram College (LSR).