With a record number of students in the West Bengal Higher Secondary Examination scoring 100 in multiple subjects, many are apprehensive that in several streams, particularly in premium colleges, even students with scores in the mid-90s may not get a chance.
There are 160 colleges under the aegis of Calcutta University. After the publication of HS results on Friday, CU is gearing up to release the list of seats that will be up for grabs in the individual colleges this year. In the 90% club, the number has increased four-fold from last year. In 2019, as many as 7,818 students had secured 90% marks while, in 2018, the count was 5,248. In the previous three years, the numbers were 3,302, 3,829 and 2,710 for 2017, 2016 and 2015 respectively. This year, the number has shot up to a staggering 30,220. The first-division bracket — above 60% — has 3,22,056 students this year, a whopping 58,907 more than last year.
The decision on when to begin the distribution of admission forms for state-aided colleges will be taken on Tuesday. With a large section of students securing very high marks, individual colleges are planning to raise the cut-off bar too.
Several college principals indicated they were likely to hold a meeting with the college governing boards in the next week to determine the intake policy in the undergraduate honours programmes for subjects for which exams were not held in the HS. These include physics, chemistry, statistics, education, nutrition, accountancy, economics, geography, costing and taxation.
Sources in the school education department pointed to the marking system adopted by the HS Council after sanction from the Syllabus Reforms Committee as a reason behind the skyrocketing of marks.
“The students did not appear for tests in three major subjects among six and the best score secured in the appeared paper was repeated as the subject marks of the suspended examinations,” said a source in Bikash Bhavan.
He added that this was not a reflection of merit in all subjects. A student intending to study physics honours in a premier Kolkata college will not have appeared for the exam. Yet, according to the HS policy, since the student may have secured 100 marks in English and Bengali while bagging just 60 in mathematics, it will allow him or her to get 100 marks in the suspended papers, like physics, chemistry and statistics.
“In this case, though the student wants to study physics, his or her merit is not evaluated. English can’t be a determining factor for his or her abilities in science subjects. The marks secured in mathematics will be left out since the aggregate is always on the best of five subjects. Is this a valid ground for evaluating a student who may later opt to study physics major or chemistry major? Thus, we plan to take another look at the admission cut-offs in the suspended HS papers,” a principal added.