This year, as in the last, students have performed much better in the Plus-Two examinations than they did in the previous academic term. In fact, the performance has improved so much that the consequent cut-off marks have also gone up by 1.5 to 2 marks for medical entrance, with several of students pegged at each successive decimal of the percentile.
While the joy of students, parents and schools also soared by an immeasurable quantity, those who have been watching the professional education scenario think that the story has ‘crisis' written all over.
“The cut-off marks are likely to go up by 1.5 to 2 marks at least,” says Jayaprakash Gandhi, educationist. “For instance, 65 students have scored 200/200 in Physics, Chemistry and Biology (the medical stream) as against 14 last year.”
This year, the number of students who have scored above 195 marks has nearly doubled as compared to last year. A total of 3,317 students have scored over 195 marks as against 1553 students in 2010.
Also the number of students who have a difference of 0.25 marks has gone up two to three times, according to statistics generated by Mr. Gandhi.
The total number of medical seats available under the State government is a mere 1,653 (excluding 635 additional seats surrendered by self-financing colleges). While accommodation would have to be made on a community-wise categorisation (as is being done in the single window system) it is quite likely that an OC student with 196 marks will not make it to a medical college seat in Tamil Nadu, says Mr. Gandhi.
He says if the total number of seats increases, then it may allay the stiff competition to some extent. The State government has applied for 100 extra seats each at Madras Medical College, and Stanley Medical College in Chennai, and 50 extra seats at Kilpauk Medical College, also in the city. An extra 100 seats will also come through if the Medical Council of India gives its nod for the newly-formed Sivaganga Medical College.
If the MCI were to grant recognition for this, an additional 350 seats will be available on the whole and for the State quota, a lesser number of seats, as some seats will go to the all-India quota.
However, all this, he points out, is in the realm of speculation.
The difference has been narrowing for each percentile further and further, from 2006. It was in 2005 last that even more hectic competition was seen for medical seats. A total of 179 students had scored 200/200 in PCB; 1,188 had 199 and above marks; and 1,419 had 198 + marks, according to D. Nedunchezhian of Technocrats IndiaCollegeFinder.
“The change was seen in 2006, when more sane competition made it comparatively easier to get medical seats. It has started peaking again five years on and we are at a stage when we need to evaluate our teaching/learning and examination processes,” says Mr. Nedunchezian.
It is necessary to train students in methods other than rote learning, focussing on comprehension, instead. This would also allow students from the State to compete successfully in all-India entrance examinations, he adds.