With board exam results out, students are busy applying for colleges across various fields, as per their liking. However some colleges in Bengaluru have set a higher cut-off for girls than boys, hinting at a bias of different kind. The Times of India reports that admissions in Pre-University colleges of the city have set a different cut-off for girls and boys, with the percentage being higher for the former. This however isn’t the first time girls seeking to apply at PU colleges in the city have received such a rude shock. The cut-off marks for them were higher than that for boys even last year.

KEY TAKEAWAYS: 

  • Some PU colleges in Bengaluru have different  cut-off for girls and boys.
  • The excuse is that since girls outperform boys in boards, the colleges may end up having a majority of female students.
  • Is it fair that girls should lose their seat simply because of their gender?
  • Why is gender a priority over talent and intelligence?

It seems so ironic that the argument to deny deserving candidates a chance to study at a good college is based in gender balance.

Father Abraham, Vice-chancellor at Christ spoke to TOI and said, “Girls are smart, and this is not a new trend. If there is no higher cut-off, the college will have only girls. Higher cut-off is to bring in gender balance.” It seems so ironic that the argument to deny deserving candidates a chance to study at a good college is based in gender balance. There is reservation, there is cut-off and then there is bias. It seems that certain colleges do not find the idea of having more female students than male as appealing.

When our education system denies those holding merit a chance to move ahead among the competition, how doesn’t it disturb us? How is it fair that those who work hard to score top marks, because that is the criteria for admissions, fail to secure a seat because of their gender? Girls in this country overcome a lot of bias to perform well in exams. For many of them good performance in board exams is a ticket to a better life. It is their excuse to study and advance in life, the alternative being early marriage.

When our education system denies those holding merit a chance to move ahead among the competition, how doesn’t it disturb us?

While this rote learning centred system is fractured itself, it is not easy to master. This is all our students have, to make or break it in their lives. And when they beat the system for the sake of a better future, this is what we do to them? Snatch their merits and strip their claim to a seat in college to the most basic of all biases- gender. The intent to have a diverse classroom isn’t wrong here, it is the way it is being implemented that is concerning. Surely there are other ways to ensure that students across genders, class, religions and caste get a chance to study in prestigious old colleges. The solution will be complicated but effective. It can’t be something as simple, lazy and derogatory as higher cut-off for girls.

Year after year these colleges in Bengaluru have been depriving deserving girls of a chance at good education, simply because they can’t bother to find a wholesome solution, which ensures inclusion, not exclusion. There are certain colleges who have not given any cut-off at all, striking a balance between extracurricular activities and academics. Can’t every college follow the suit?

Our society has a history of gender-based exclusion of women, to grant privilege to men, as it sees them as the earning members and propagators of lineage. To overcome this imbalance created by patriarchy it is important that girls get a fair chance at a better future. Scoring better marks is one such chance. So unless the colleges can come up with a better way to establish that diversity and talent are the criterion for admission, the least they can do is not use one as a weapon against another.

Picture Credit: Indian Express

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Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section. The views expressed are the author’s own.

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