College admissions: Why should boys have all the fun?

College admissions: Why should boys have all the fun?

It was stated that male students would require lesser percentage of marks to secure admission in these ‘reputed and much sought after’ colleges as compared to their female counterparts.

Many girls who have scored a little higher percentage of marks than that of the boys, as a result of this rule, would be denied admissions into these colleges, because the colleges prefer to have a ‘demographic balance’ in their classrooms.

Whatever may be the rationale that the colleges concerned would like to offer in defence of their new rule regarding admissions, this appears to be an unjust move against girl students who have studied well and obtained higher marks and have ambition to get into these reputed colleges as they are known to shape their professional careers well.

Article 16(4) of the constitution made special provision for the educational advancement of girls and boys who hailed from hitherto marginalised, alienated or excluded from gaining access to education. This was a historic step towards delivering social justice and enabling socio-economic mobility to these sections in a caste-ridden society.

However, just as the country is basking in this little sparkles of feminine glories in education, as if scholars who exclaimed that ‘development increases inequality’ were right, such novel patterns of suppression of women’s democratic claims to equality of opportunities as the hitherto excluded gender have unfortunately begun to show up.

Fixing higher cut off percentages for girl students is quite a retrograde step in this democratic set up where our educational institutions are expected to perform towards gender equality. It is a strange logic that some girls will not get admissions even though they have scored higher marks than boys simply because they are females.

Girls in our society have no doubt made rapid strides to achieve educational standards in the recent decades. But this is no easy task for them since it involved much hard work, concentration on studies and focus to excel. Besides sheer determination to do so, many odds like lack of amenities to study, gender-based duties at home, household poverty and crippled family structures stand in their way to success.

It is not at all clear why the colleges insist upon a gender equal classroom with an equal number of boys and girls. What’s wrong if the girls excel boys in a class? The colleges have placed restrictions on girls’ entry in both the crucial job-oriented streams of commerce and PCMB combination. The possible repercussions would be:

- Since education is also associated with class character, girls from semi-urban and rural areas may not be able to secure a seat if they have a slightly lower percentage. Is it one way of expressing urban bias?

- By not taking girls who would have scored a little less, one is bound to guess (negatively) that would the girl students from weaker sections of society like SC/ST, minorities and OBCs (for whom admission to these premier schools is difficult due to their high cost) stand deprived of seats in ‘good’ colleges?

While already our society is crippled with the revival of many medieval practices such as the khap panchayats of Haryana or murder for honour such a resolution by academic bodies is quite saddening. As time passes we are becoming more irrational and discriminatory.

Positive change

A college with higher number of girl students would add to feminine strength in battling many a non-academic ills thronging the educational scenario like gender violence in educational institutions, etc. Taking its positive and reformative effects, a higher percentage of girl students would encourage parents from certain conservative background to prefer higher education to their daughters in those colleges.

The long-reaching effects of this taboo are still scaring, as lesser opportunity to study in ‘good’ institutions would also deprive students of peer support, good atmosphere besides valuable coaching or teaching. By cutting the feathers in this tender age at the entrance of college education, the said institutions are daring to pave the way for increasing the gender gap at higher levels of both education and employment.

What could justify this khap-like behaviour of managements of premier colleges in Bangalore? Privatisation does not mean irrational freedom and blatant violation of constitutional mandate. The state government must intervene in this matter and take suitable corrective action.

Is it not surprising that a blatant insult of the Constitution of India goes on under the very nose of its protectors? The attitude of the colleges shows that the portals of knowledge and the custodians of civilisation insult the constitution by discriminating against girls.

The denial of seats for women by the college managements through a new-found rationale set by themselves makes any citizen with a trust in democracy hang his head in shame and embarrassment. These are new avenues to uphold gender discrimination and suppression of women’s claims to equality and therefore, must be firmly resisted.