a Common Entrance Test, rural students may not be very successful
in the admissions race.
Tamil Nadu Government's decision to scrap the common entrance
test for professional education programmes "to help rural
students" may backfire for the intended beneficiaries, if
one goes by previous years' statistics.
long run, the move can take away the edge which Tamil Nadu candidates
enjoy during industry recruitments, industry experts say.
context of the Government deciding to ``reduce the syllabus''
— which, teacher experts say, has chopped off the application-oriented
parts of the syllabus — the debate can start off with some
nearly 2.35 lakh students appeared for the Tamil Nadu State higher
secondary (class XII) examination in the Science group. The figure
rose to nearly 3 lakh in 2006. These students were spread across
the 66 educational districts.
in 2006, few students from 15 (of these) districts — predominantly
rural — such as Thuckalay, Kovilpatti, Paramakudi, Sivagangai,
Gudalur, Periyakulam, Aranthangi, Ariyalur, Nagapattinam, Lalgudi,
or Musiri, got an aggregate of (97 per cent marks) required to
enter MBBS course in Tamil Nadu.
about 70 per cent of the 1,000-plus students who secured this
magical figure of 194/200 in the key subjects of Physics, Biology
and Chemistry, were only from urban centres such as Chennai, Chengalpattu,
Coimbatore, Tiruchi, Tirunelveli, Cuddalore, and of course the
famed Namakkal belt.
situation repeats with more vigour in the Maths, Physics, Chemistry
subjects (relevant for engineering stream).
6,300-plus students who secured 194/200 in the subjects, more
than 5,600 were from the urban pockets only. Of the 333 top students
(with 99 per cent aggregate), 302 were from the urban areas. Twentyfour
educational districts with predominantly rural students did not
even have a single student in this top bracket.
moral of the story... Even without a CET, rural-based students
stand little chance compared to the urban peers for entering medical
or the top ranked engineering colleges under Anna University.
examiner and administrator, Dr. C. Ramachandran is puzzled over
the removal of the CET or its logic that it helps rural students.
makes it far easier for urban students. Rural students who still
suffer from lack of good educational infrastructure and teaching
methodologies or even community support, will continue to languish.
Urban students with access to better infrastructure and coaching
facilities will continue to take away large chunks of seats in
the preferred professional courses.
students who come into MBBS with 98 or 99 per cent aggregate fail
in the I MBBS. Now we can only expect youngsters who memorise
lessons to enter even applied areas such as medicine," he
adds. The way out: improve teaching-learning processes in rural
areas to make such students apply their knowledge for solving
A.K. Pattabhiraman, coordinator for Tata Consultancy Services'
academic interface programme, sees a trend in three developments:
the scrapping of the CET, the State Government's decision to reduce
syllabus content and a move to reduce the pass mark for theory
paper in class XII to 30 out of 150.
fact is hardly 20 per cent of the 4.5 lakh engineers in
the country are employable. But 10 per cent among all of
TCS' recruits are from Tamil Nadu because the State has
a huge talent pool and the competence levels of the students
here are much higher. The three steps being taken now are
retrograde. They will reduce standards of the recruits and
after four years' time it can turn irreversible. While the
achievement level of youngsters in Hungary, Uruguay or Brazil
is improving, India will be losing its edge."