At 45%, Sanskrit seats still vacant

Lack of awareness and misconceptions leading to low demand, say professors

Published - July 19, 2017 07:30 am IST - NEW DELHI

Delhi University (DU) has become synonymous with its sky-high cut-offs. However, B.A.(Hons.) Sanskrit is one course offered by DU that has been going against this trend. In the fifth cut-off list released on Monday, the lowest cut-off announced at 45% was for B.A.(Hons.) Sanskrit at Mata Sundri College, with seats still available in the programme.

Faculty members said there are various reasons which make the course unpopular.

Where the interest lies

“Today, students are more interested in pursuing technical programmes rather than courses like Sanskrit and Punjabi. So, the cut-offs that we keep for these are not as high as that of other courses,” said Kawarjit Kaur, principal, Mata Sundri College.

She added that there are around 23 seats each available in B.A.(Hons.) Sanskrit and B.A.(Hons.) Punjabi for general category students.

This year, Hindu College, Hans Raj, LSR and Ramjas were the first to close admissions in their Sanskrit courses in the second list itself.

“Students who want to study in top-rung colleges but do not have the marks to pursue a subject of their choice often take up Sanskrit so that they get the opportunity to study at a North Campus college,” said Aditya Sahani, a DU graduate.

Common myth

Sharda Sharma, professor and head of the DU Sanskrit Department, said there is a misconception among students that only low-scorers take up B.A.(Hons.) Sanskrit.

“The career prospects of studying the language are the same as that of any B.A. course. Graduates in the discipline can become academics, sit for competitive exams and even get government jobs,” said Ms. Sharma.

Other modern Indian languages like Urdu and Bengali have also seen low cut-offs compared to the popular courses.

“Students feel that taking up language courses are not rewarding enough in terms of career opportunities,” said Najma Rehmani from DU’s Department of Urdu.

University slammed

On how languages courses in DU register low-cut-offs, Ms. Rehmani said, “A majority of the students who opt for these courses come from government schools, where they do not score much.”

Ms. Rehmani also blamed the university for not promoting language courses.

“There have been cases where a college terminated a professor of Urdu who had taught in the department for 20 years. Now, when students come forward to take admissions in language courses, they are sent away citing shortage of faculty members.”

She also blamed the university’s administrative policies restricting students from applying to these programmes.

Many colleges however, are trying to introduce B.A.(Hons.) Sanskrit to popularise the course.

“Although our B.A. (Programme) students study Sanskrit, we wish to start an honours course in the language. We are awaiting approval from the University Grants Commission for the same,” said Gyantosh Jha, principal, Atma Ram Sanatan Dharma College.

Mr. Jha feels that lack of awareness about the career prospects of the course is hampering its demand.

“We have tried to make the course as relevant as possible so that students find interest in the subject,” he added.

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