100% cutoffs the new normal for Delhi University?

Last year, Lady Shri Ram (LSR) College had announced 100% cut-off for three courses – political science, economics, and psychology. All three were among the most sought-after courses in DU.
In the past, colleges have set 100% cut-offs for students seeking admission to those subjects that they may not have studied in school. (ANI)
In the past, colleges have set 100% cut-offs for students seeking admission to those subjects that they may not have studied in school. (ANI)
Updated on Oct 02, 2021 05:35 AM IST
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ByKainat Sarfaraz, New Delhi

When Shri Ram College of Commerce first announced a 100% cut-off for BCom (Honours) in 2011, the move evoked strong reactions from stakeholders, including parents and students who believed the course was beyond their reach. A decade later, the college has announced 100% cut-offs for two courses yet again. But this time, so have seven other colleges, both off-campus and south campus.

Last year, Lady Shri Ram (LSR) College had announced 100% cut-off for three courses – political science, economics, and psychology. All three were among the most sought-after courses in DU.

In 2015, two colleges, College of Vocational Studies and Indraprastha (IP) College for Women, fixed their cut-offs at 100% for BSc (Honours) in Computer Science. This year, three colleges have declared 100% cut-offs for computer science due to the high demand.

 

Across colleges, principals attributed the soaring cut-offs to multiple factors, including a change in the evaluation pattern for Class 12 students, cancellation of end-term exams due to Covid-19 pandemic, a lack of subject-wise data for admissions, and most importantly, double the number of Class 12 top scorers as compared to last year.

A total of 220,156 students scored 90% or more marks in their Class 12 this year, as compared to 196,620 in 2020 — a jump of nearly 12%. Students scoring 95% or more almost doubled to 70,004 from last year’s 38,686.

Around 70-80% of applicants in DU are from CBSE-affiliated schools.

In 2019, when the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) last managed to conduct exams for all papers o Class 12 without hindrance, 111,992 students scored between 90% and 100%. That means, the number of high scorers has increased by 96% between 2019 and 2021 – indicating the impact of the revised assessment schemes on board results.

This year, Class 12 students were evaluated on the basis of their Class 10 board exam scores and internal marks of classes 11 and 12, with around 70% weightage being given to internal assessments.

In the past, colleges have set 100% cut-offs for students seeking admission to those subjects that they may not have studied in school.

This year, Jesus and Mary College kept 100% cut-off for psychology for those students who excluded psychology from their best-of-four combination. In contrast, students who included the subject in the best-of-four calculation need 99% to be eligible for admission.

Hindu College principal Anju Shrivastava said in the past two years, the college has seen an average of 100 students seeking admissions to various courses with 100% cut-offs. The college has kept 100% cut-off for Political Science (Hons) this year.

“Along with the CBSE, several other state boards, including Kerala and Telangana, also had more students getting 100% marks this year. Last year, with a cut-off of 99.5%, we admitted double the number of students in the unreserved category. As per the data we have, we knew there would be a rush for political science; so we wanted to play safe and avoid over-admissions, which affect the teacher-student ratio and put additional infrastructure burden on colleges.”

The high cut-offs, year after year, have also given rise to the demand for a common entrance test. To that end, the modalities for Central Universities Common Entrance Test (CUCET) have been submitted to the education ministry this year. However, since the approval for CUCET is pending, DU continued with its merit-based admission process.

Suman Kumar, who teaches political science at Rajdhani College, said, “A central entrance test for applicants or at least a combined weightage of Class 12 scores and entrance test is the only way to counter high cut-offs. The government should also open more colleges, create infrastructure, and hire more teachers to meet the higher education demand.”

Since there is no first-come, first-served policy in Delhi University, colleges are required to give admissions to all applicants who meet the announced cut-off criteria, leading to over-admissions. This essentially means that colleges end up admitting more students than the number of sanctioned seats.

In the previous years, the DU admission process allowed applicants to select courses they wished to apply for. Since the process was changed last year, colleges are in the blind about the number of applicants for a particular subject and have to rely on trends to gauge which courses will receive more applicants.

Principal of Sri Guru Tegh Bahadur Khalsa College, Jaswinder Singh, who is also the president of the DU principals’ association, said, “Many outstation students earlier applied to only a few colleges. This meant that off-campus colleges often could not fill their seats. That is why the university decided to do away with the option of selecting colleges. Later, the option to select courses was also removed. While this gave students more options, colleges were left with no data on ascertaining the preferred courses, which is a metric for deciding cut-offs,” he said.

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Tuesday, November 30, 2021