The city’s most popular higher education destination, Fergusson College, recorded the highest cut-off of 97.4% for Arts (English) while its cut-off for Science was 97%.
The early trend could indicate an interest towards the Arts stream even by the 90s club achievers. Educationists have attributed the change to students’ preference leaning towards preparation for competitive exams, careers in psychology, counselling and allied fields.
The cut-off has also increased by nearly 4-5% overall at all colleges owing to higher pass percentages for the Secondary School Certificate (SSC, Std X) examination this year.
Prakash Pawar, vice principal and HoD (Arts) at Fergusson College, said, “There is a big difference in the number of high schools in the city and the number of junior colleges offering Arts in English medium. This automatically leads to more competition. Then there is growing interest in subjects like Psychology and Economics, among students. Moreover, a number of students who want to appear for public service examinations from across the state come to Pune and take up Arts. All this has increased the competition.”
College principal Ravindrasinh Pardeshi said he has not witnessed the Arts cut-off overriding that of Science in the past decade. He attributed the trend to the changing outlook of students in building a career. “More students are now opting for competitive exams. In fact, we have noticed that students are switching from the Science stream to Arts for the first year of graduation only to pursue a career in public administration, political science, language-specific courses, among others,” he said.
While the cut-off for Science increased by 5-10 marks at most colleges, that for Arts has gone up by a minimum 10 marks to even 20-25 marks at institutes like Modern College, SP College and Garware College, among others. Principal of Modern College of Arts, Science & Commerce R Zunjarrao said, “Nowadays. many meritorious students take up Arts to prepare for state and national civil services exams. Many want to pursue a career in Psychology to become counsellors or sports psychologists. Apart from this, the intake capacity for Arts (English) is lesser in Pune colleges although they are more in demand.”
Even seats for Marathi-medium courses have seen a significant increase in cut-off. For instance, the cut-off has gone up to 75.8% at Modern College as against last year’s 53.80%, a whopping 22% jump.
Principal of SP College Dilip Sheth said, “I think the rise in the overall cut-off was expected due to the high pass percentage. However, the Arts cut-off is definitely a surprise. It just reflects how students are thinking these days. They are highly inclined towards subjects like social science, public administration and government services. Hence, students prefer Arts as they can prepare for these careers simultaneously.”
As far as the Commerce stream is concerned, there has been a gradual increase in cut-offs and Brihan Maharashtra College of Commerce ended with the highest cut-off for this stream with 96.4%, an improvement of nearly 2% over last year.