The results of the Maharashtra Common Entrance Test (MH-CET) for management courses has once again exposed the poor knowledge level of students entering management colleges in the state. About 75 per cent of students have secured less than 50 per cent marks in the exam, which has no negative marking and where even a 0-score candidate is eligible for admission.
On the bright side, however, this time, unlike previous years, all the seats will hopefully be filled as there are about 40,000 seats in all and 57,224 students who have qualified.
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Senior Professor and former Head of Department of Management Sciences (PUMBA), Savitribai Phule Pune University, C M Chitale, said scrapping of any cut-off marks and the extreme delay in the admission procedure is the reason for the decreasing quality of MBA education in the state.
“To understand the present scenario, we need to understand the past. Till about 1995, universities used to hold entrance exams and there was cut-off marks plus group discussion and personal interview, without clearing which, nobody could get admission in government seats. Then the government took over and they retained the cut-off and GD PI procedures. But then, the sudden mushrooming of MBA colleges started, which led to dilution in screening levels as private colleges had to get students, causing the government to scrap the cut-offs and GD PI. This was the first step to diluting quality,” said Chitale.
The second step was the extreme delay in the admission procedure, he said. “We should get students at least by June. But lately, I have seen admissions happening till September. There were court rulings and I honour them, but the problem is that by the time MBA admissions happen, many students take up other courses and the students who have got lower marks in the entrance go for private institutions hence again diluting their quality. This not only means lesser students opting for MBA CAP round but will also lead to good institutions opting out of it. Today I heard that Jamnalal Bajaj Institute, one of the premier institutes, is out of CAP. If government is not cautious, other good institutes will also follow the same procedure,” said Chitale.
The CET, with total marks of 200, was held on March 14 and 15 and the result was declared on March 25. While 170 is the highest marks and has been obtained by five students, zero, which is the lowest, has also been obtained by five students. Till last year, thousands of seats in the colleges were going vacant. The situation was so bad that a few years ago, the then higher and technical education minister Rajesh Tope had taken out a circular asking colleges to let students take admission even if they had not appeared for the CET.
The main reason for the fewer number of students was attributed to the higher difficulty level of national exams. This also led to the closure of colleges and from last year, Maharashtra started its own CET for admission in state colleges. This year, at least from the point of view of the vacant seats versus eligible students, there are chances that all seats will be filled. But unfortunately 42,624 students out of 57,224 qualified students have secured less than 100 marks in the 200-marks question paper, putting a doubt on the quality of the colleges.
SK Mahajan, Director, Directorate of Technical Education, said, “This time we received 10,000 applications more than the last year. There were around 43,000 seats last year but this time around, some colleges have applied for closure and hence the seats have reduced to 40,000. The students do not prefer to go to rural colleges, and hence the seats there remain unfilled.”
Talking about introducing a cut-off, Mahajan said, “Currently there is no talk of cut-off. Based on the previous year’s performance, cut-offs are decided. Let us see how many seats will be taken up and left out this year.”