Deepak Jadhav, 15, scored 65% in the Class 10 Secondary School Certificate (SSC) exams. The low score has not dented his hopes of getting into the much-sought after Ruparel College, thanks to the cultural quota for extra-curricular achievers.
Jadhav scored a first class in his tabla exams, conducted by the Akhil Bharatiya Gandharva Mahavidyalaya.
“I did not take up the tabla for the sake of college admission,” said Jadhav. “But I will be able to avail of the benefits of having played it all these years.”
Students excelling in cultural activities are allowed to apply to junior colleges in the state through a designated cultural quota.
Students applying through the quota do so online, after getting their certificates approved by the directorate of cultural affairs.
This year, 675 students have got their certificates approved so far.
“There is greater awareness now among parents and students about the quota,” said an official from the directorate of cultural affairs. “And now there is a lot of competition to get into a good college.”
Until last year, junior colleges would set aside 5% of their total seats for both cultural quota students and sports quota students as a whole.
“Since it was a single 5% quota, most of the seats ended up being filled with sports students and there were hardly any cultural achievers,” said an official from the school education department.
In 2010, the government passed a resolution separating the two quotas, with 3% allotted for sports and 2% for culture. “With the separation of the two, cultural quota students will not lose out,” the official added.
In order to avail of the quota, students need to pass an exam through one of the institutes that the government recognises (see box).
The student could have passed the exam in Class 8, 9 or 10, in music, dance or drama. Students can apply to get their certificates approved any time during the year, but the deadline for junior college applications this year is July 7.
A student can get the necessary approval within 48 hours of applying.