The undergraduate (UG) programmes offered in various Indian language courses — Sanskrit, Urdu, Bengali, Punjabi, Pali, and other subjects in Delhi University — found few takers even after the fifth cut-off was released. Most colleges have more than 50 per cent of the seats vacant. Also, the cut-off in courses like Bengali, Arabic, Sanskrit, Punjabi witnessed the deepest slide — less than 50 per cent in various colleges.
Of the 69 colleges in Delhi University that offer arts and commerce courses, only 29 teach Sanskrit. Bharati College in west Delhi, which offers 50 seats for its Sanskrit course, still has 20 seats on offer. Head of Department, Sanskrit, Bharati College, Asha Tewari blamed the varsity policy and lack of awareness on the vast career opportunities.
“As per the varsity’s policy, the students who did not take admission in the first list despite meeting the eligibility criteria will no longer be able to apply for the same course in the same college in the second list. This policy affects the admission process at large. We have lost meritorious students due to this. The varsity should have widened up the opportunity for students,” she said.
Cut-off of last five years
Over the years, the cut-off remained low in most Indian language courses. In 2019, the lowest cut-off for Sanskrit, Bengali and Punjabi were at 45 per cent, while Urdu at 40 per cent. In 2018 too, the cut-off of Sanskrit was at 45 per cent and Urdu at 40 per cent.
While prominent colleges’ seats get filled in the first two cut-offs, however, the reserved category seats lie vacant. In top colleges like Hansraj, four to five seats are empty in the Scheduled Tribe category. “Among the 49 seats the Sanskrit department offers, 46 seats have been filled while the rest three are vacant in the Scheduled Tribe category,” said Satesh Kumar Mishra, assistant professor of the college. He said the government’s New Education Policy (NEP) and its focus on Indian language courses are slowly showing up the results and, therefore, there is more occupancy this year.
The case is likewise for Pali. Even though fewer educational institutes offer degree courses in this language, there are several options in diploma and certificate courses provided by the Department of Buddhist Studies, DU. According to the department professor, “The students who take admission in Pali either pursue research or many also move abroad to be involved with various monasteries as a research scholar. Those who wish to appear for the civil service examinations, also opt for the courses due to less study on these subjects as the questions in the UPSC main are more or less common every year.”
There are perceptions that these courses offer low-scale jobs. Brajesh Kumar Pandey, School of Sanskrit and Indic Studies in JNU said, “Every year, over 50 per cent students from the varsity secure jobs in private to government sectors. The candidates are hired with good remuneration — with pay scale as good as Rs 1 lakh a month.”
The low cut-offs are persistent and the seats in these courses never get filled through the cut-offs but through spot admission. This year, the spot admission process was postponed due to COVID-19. “While 70 per cent is the cut-off set for the ancient Indian language courses, the modern language courses have set the criteria at 80 per cent in the first list. The cut-offs were reduced to less than 50 per cent in the ancient language courses as there are fewer takers especially in subjects of Urdu, Pali, Sanskrit, while courses on modern language courses have more takers due to better job perspective,” said a DU admission official.
Surge in demand
Meanwhile, there has been an uptick in demand for language graduates over the years in various sectors. Sashi Kumar, managing director, job search website Indeed India, said, “We have seen a demand for people with a formal education in Sanskrit, Urdu, Pali, other language courses in jobs such as translators, foreign language teacher, customer support representative, journalist, and copywriter. The average pay scale starts from Rs 16,000 and can go up to 60,000 per month.”
According to the staffing firm TeamLease Services, there are 10 times more jobs present in the country than the graduates produced every year. “Jobs is there in both technical, creative aspects. The technical jobs are the role of teachers, translators, office jobs, while creative jobs are the role of content writing, journalism, scriptwriter, following roles. The starting salary of a content writer can easily be around 20k and can go up to a lakh per month,” said Shantanu Rooj, Founder and CEO of a TeamLease Services group company.
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