West Bengal: ISC, CBSE Students Disadvantaged at College Admissions 2020

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Meghdeepa Mondal

Content Curator

The concept of ‘Complete Marksheet’ amid the COVID-19 pandemic has seriously disadvantaged college admissions for ISC and CBSE students in top colleges in West Bengal.

As the cut-offs soar higher, scoring a 96% is too less for admissions in colleges in Kolkata. At Surendranath College Admissions 2020, students selected for Economics Hons in the first merit list scored above 474 out of 500.

At the end moment, a student of ISC who scored a 96.4% realised her chances of getting listed in the first merit list was vague. The student applied for Scottish Church College and the first list had names of 22 students who scored 400/400. 

Another ISC student who secured 92% had to apply for a Tier-2 college in the state as the cutoffs were too high. There are a number of incidents this year where despite good scores students are unable to get admissions to the top colleges in Kolkata. As per academicians, lack of a standardised, alternative marking scheme for each board is adding to the fury.

As the nationwide lockdown was called subsequent to the Coronavirus outbreak in India, HS Council could not conduct exams for several papers for Class 12 students.

Following which West Bengal Council of Higher Secondary Education (WBCHSE) adopted a method for ‘complete mark sheet’ wherein highest marks of a candidate has been awarded to the subjects he or she could not attend. 

However, Principals of ICSE schools believe that the formula adopted by CISCE is way more methodical and balanced. Nabarun De, principal of Central Modern School, affiliated to the CISCE said, “This is an unprecedented year.

Many students who aspired to take JEE and NEET are giving it a miss. Also, many who had planned to migrate to another city or university have suspended their plans due to the pandemic. This has resulted in a severe seat crunch in Kolkata’s colleges.”

The policy of ‘complete marksheet’ was adopted by all educational boards but not standardized. As a fact, the method of WBCHSE added to the woes of ISC and CBSE students in the state. 

The first list of chemistry honours in Lady Brabourne College shows the lowest marks at 99.8%. In English (Hons), the lowest score was 98.4%. At Lady Brabourne, last-ranked candidate (General category) had 99.8%.

Another ISC student, keen to opt for Physics (Hons), is yet to get a seat in any of the colleges he had initially hoped to study in. With scores as 92 in Physics, 96 in Mathematics and 95 in Chemistry he realized he still stood nothing against HS students securing 99/100 in all subjects. 

Parents questioned the logic behind independently formulating marks-awarding methods that put students’ lives on stake. 

“There is one board, the WBCHSE, that has given the highest marks obtained by a student in the subjects that s/he has appeared in subjects in which exams were not held.  That has led to distortion, with students who sat in the least number of subjects benefiting with the highest marks if they did well in one of the papers they had attempted. 

On the other hand, there is CISCE, that devised a complex formula that would best evaluate a student by taking into account the marks obtained in practicals to undertake a realistic assessment. This has landed its students in a soup,” exclaimed a parent.

The situation is also grim for CBSE students. A CBSE student with a 93% aggregate was not listed in any college’s merit list. “I don’t know whether my son will at all get to study in a college in Kolkata, or has to now travel outside for undergraduate studies. Liberal marking by WBCHSE has deprived so many good students,” his father said.