PU college’s cutoff rates discriminatory: activists

Different percentages have existed for a long time; people are just coming to know about it now, say insiders.

Christ Junior College has an increased cutoff percentage for girls for their science and commerce streams. DH PHOTO

The news of increased cutoff rates for girls in a pre-university college in the city has raised many eyebrows. While the college claims that it is a move to ensure ‘gender balance’, students, educationists and activists are furious. 

Christ Junior College put the cutoff rates at 95.1 % for girls and 94.1% for boys for their science courses and at 96% for girls and 95.5 % for boys for the commerce stream. 

‘Violates international covenants’

Child rights activist Niranjan Aradhya points out that this is a practice in many colleges and calls it gender discrimination and not gender balance. He adds that such a move violates international covenants and the Constitution of India.

“It violates Article 15(1) which clearly says that the State shall not discriminate against any citizen on any grounds or purpose. This move is also against the Convention against Discrimination in Education (a multilateral treaty adopted by UNESCO in 1960), which challenges discrimination in education and promotes equal opportunity,” he says.

He calls the move arbitrary and says that a lottery system would have been a more democratic way of handling the issue.

‘Different cutoffs are like punishment’

Unless the legal framework allows for some distinctions, it is illegal, says Tara Krishnaswamy, social activist. 

“There are reservations for women in educational institutions and corporations because they are not represented enough. The patriarchal bias has always existed: while the ratios of boys and girls enrolling at elementary levels might match, by higher secondary school levels, more girls drop out,” she says. 

This cutoff is more like a punishment, says Tara. “There are very few girls in engineering or law colleges. Then we need another regulation through which those colleges will ensure that they have 50 per cent female and 50 per cent male students on campus. Even 33 per cent will do.” 

She adds that due to such cutoffs, students move to other colleges, which leads to a domino effect.  

Activists outraged at ‘discriminatory’ move 

Ananya Kumar, core team member of The Students’ Outpost (TSO), a city-based students activism group, will be posting a statement about the issue.

He says, “Such a move is unnecessary and goes against the values of inclusive education and equality. The action is in direct conflict with the original guidelines put forth by the Department of Pre-University Education of the Karnataka state government, which states that classes must have an equal number of boys and girls.” 

“If we want to truly address this problem, we need to find out why boys are not meeting cut offs and what can be done within the system to help support them in academic spaces?” he points out.  Shalom Gauri, a student activist and member of TSO, points out that boys outnumber girls in most science and commerce classrooms and adds that affirmative action should not be extended to those who already enter the system with privilege.

“The worst part is that the cutoff has existed since a while but no one made a fuss about this till now. How have parents been okay with this till now?”

No comments

Metrolife tried to contact the college authorities for comments on the cutoff, but were told by a female staff that “no one would be interested in commenting on the issue”.

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