Category: Education

Colleges and cut offs

It is time for admission to colleges. Delhi University introduced common admission form for its colleges and allowed colleges to fix cut-off percentages. Sri Ram College of Commerce (SRCC) fixed 100% as cut-off percentage. Some have criticised it. P. C. Jain, principal of SRCC, defended it. Science students who do not get admission in SRCC can go to IIT or IIM. Best way to do away with stress is to have no marks, no examinations and no evaluations and have lottery to select students.

Some other colleges had cut-off percentages in the range of 95%-99%. Students who do not get admission in the first list may get admission in subsequent lists.

Some years back it was difficult to score 100 marks. Now with objective type questions it is possible for students to score 100% marks. In any major city good colleges are few and students who want admissions in them are many times more than seats available and hence cut-off percentages are high in such colleges.

The problem in Delhi gets magnified due to media presence. Problems of students in other cities do not get prominence.

If science students with 97% marks or less want to switch to commerce they should go to a college where admission is available instead of demanding they be given admission in place of commerce students who have got 100% marks. Arts and commerce students cannot switch to science. Those who did not study biology in junior college cannot get admission in medical colleges. To get admission to engineering college one should have studied science in junior college. The argument that students are not able to make their minds at junior college level and those who took science in junior college should be able to get admission to B.Com in a college of their choice at a percentage less than that of commerce students is wrong.

The problem of admissions would have been more serious if there had been grade system with students who would have got 91%-100% marks being in A grade. For one seat there may be more than 100 applicants with A grade and rejections could result in riots.

One solution is to have colleges with online classes. Lectures can be webcast and students can attend them at home. Another solution is to have classes in stadia with protection from sun and rain. Students can have swipe cards to mark attendance. Biometric system is better. What lecturer writes on blackboard can be shown on giant screens.

Corporal Punishment

Spare the rod, spoil the child.

Corporal punishment to students has become a controversial subject. There have been instances of excessive beating by teachers, causing injury and sometimes death. TV channels reported it for a day, some discussed it for a few minutes and everything was forgotten. A boy from La Martiniere in Calcutta died in February. After three and half months the death became controversial.

The boy was beaten on 8/2/2010. For the next three days he did not attend the school. On 12/2/2010 he attended the school. That day he was not beaten. He was told to bring his parents. The principal claimed there was no connection between beating and death. Alumni of La Martiniere came in defence of the school. If TV channels expected widespread condemnation of corporal punishment or the teachers or principal of La Martiniere they were disappointed.

Corporal punishment of students was banned in many states years back but it continues. Sometimes parents tell teachers to beat their children if they do not study or misbehave. Indian Penal Code allows it. Some want change in the Indian Penal Code.

Some have come in defence of corporal punishment. Some oppose corporal punishment. They say there should be counselling. What happens when counselling fails? The student has to be expelled from the school.

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College admissions, boys and girls

Some colleges in Bangalore have 50% of seats for boys and 50% of seats for girls. This year girls performed better than boys in school board examinations. As a result cut off marks for girls are higher than for boys.
Many girls are upset. Many women say this is discrimination. A girl’s father has filed a writ petition in the High Court.
When performance of boys was better nobody talked of discrimination. When boys lost to girls who had less marks there was no talk of discrimination. Now equal number of seats has become a disadvantage to girls so there is shouting and criticism. Now many women want merit to be the only criterion.
Merit should have been the only criterion. People should have protested when colleges fixed equal number of seats for boys and girls. That time there should have been merit being the only criterion.
For this year admissions are over. For next year colleges may follow merit as the only criterion. However if boys perform better and get more than 50% seats girls should not complain and demand equal number of seats.
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