While a demand-supply crisis is held responsible, fingers also point to a "branding exercise by the premier colleges" that do not want to settlNew Delhi: Even as admission-seekers in Delhi University (DU) look to find their way through chaos and disappointment, educationists feel the 100 percent cut-off marks set by Shri Ram College of Commerce (SRCC) for a course indicates a demand and supply crunch in the education sector.
"From the number of students who seek admission to well-known courses in famous colleges, it is clearly indicated that the problem is all about demand and supply. The possible solution is to increase the seats and bring in more quality colleges," V.N. Rajasekharan Pillai, vice chancellor of the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU), told IANS.
With nearly 54,000 seats in around 70 Delhi University (DU) colleges, the estimated number of students applying in the university is over 125,000.
"It is a grave crisis that we need to look into. At least six more DUs are needed in the national capital region to meet the skewed ratio of demand and supply," said Pillai, who heads one of the the world's largest universities in terms of enrolments.
SRCC's 100 percent first cut-off for B.Com (H) for non-commerce stream aspirants evoked strong reactions, with union Human Resource Development minister Kapil Sibal calling the move "irrational".e for any cut-off less than 95 percent.
"The premier colleges, in order to maintain their brands, consider the high cut-offs as a branding exercise. It is unfair for students who are straight out of school and get to see such a stiff competition," Pillai added.
Delhi University, one of India's premier varsities, did away with the application process for admission to its undergraduate courses. So the colleges declared the cut-offs on the basis of last year's marks.
While the demand-supply ratio continues to be the problem, educationists feel the heart of the problem lies in the school education system where "getting perfect scores has become a cakewalk".
"Firstly, there has to be a standardisation of boards that conduct senior secondary exams as different states follow different rules. A common entrance test for various streams is needed," Gouri Ishwaran, educationist and Padma Shri awardee, told IANS.
Ishwaran said the question papers "need to be rational", and not just cater to toppers in any private school.
"When we talk of demand and supply, we refer to the chaos in branded colleges. Why don't we also emphasise on turning other colleges into SRCCs, LSRs (Lady Shri Ram Colleges), or probably like any other top brass college," Ishwaran asked.
"A student from Ram Lal Anand College gets out with 60 percent in B.Com and the one in SRCC also scores the same. And still a job placement remains the only concern for parents and students," Bhim Sen Singh, principal of Kirori Mal College, told IANS.
According to the 2006 report of the National Knowledge Commission, which advises the prime minister, India has nearly 200 autonomous colleges and over 17,000 affiliated colleges in 131 affiliating universities. The report mentions that the "majority of colleges unfortunately barely survive as teaching shops".
The report recommended "revisiting the prevailing model of undergraduate colleges in terms of quantity as well as quality".
"It is all about an overhaul of the education system. Be it at the school level, or higher education, it's time we woke up to the grave demand," Pillai said.