Published: 28th August 2017
Here's why Presidency College has had 80% drop in admission of deaf students: Making Maths mandatory for a BCA seat and shutting a hostel
Since 2007, a student was allowed to apply for BCA course at Presidency College if they passed the 12th exam, irrespective of the subject. But with Math becoming mandatory, student numbers are falling
Getting a degree just became tougher for the deaf. And their protests are falling on, well, deaf ears.
Admissions to Presidency College's BCA course for hearing impaired students has come down by a shocking 80 percent after it became mandatory for students to have studied mathematics in their 12th standard. Things have hit such a low that only 5 students, in a state that has north of 3.5 lakh deaf people, have been admitted to the course this year, with less than 3 days to go to the admission deadline.
Started in 2007, Presidency is the only government aided college to run two degree programmes solely for deaf students - B Com and BCA. Mainstream colleges allow admissions but don't have the facility to teach in sign language and the few colleges that do teach in sign language are private colleges and therefore charge higher fees.
Till 2015, students only needed to have passed the 12th standard to get an admission at either of the courses but since 2016, students applying for BCA are expected to have studied and passed mathematics.
Thumbs down: Even the former students do think it is a wise move
Swift fall: From 40 students to 5
Since many students don't choose to do Mathematics during the 12th, the BCA class that usually has a strength of 35-40 students now has only five students, two of whom are contemplating dropping out because of the poor number. A lecturer at the college said that a number of students were applying but are getting rejected because they did not do maths in school.
Former students also called the move silly and said that they were getting by perfectly well without having studied Maths in the 12th, "In my experience, math is not necessary to study BCA. I have been serving in the Royal Bank of Scotland as an officer for the last four years and also got two promotions too. I don't think it is necessary for the deaf and dumb students doing BCA," said Kalith Zhan Mahaboob Jahan.
Lecturers say math is not mandatory
One of the faculty members at the college, who requested to remain unnamed, said that they received the notification in 2016, "There are two electives that involve math for BCA students but they manage just fine without the 12th math knowledge. We just teach the basics of computer science they don't need to know math to attend this course. Unnecessarily students are getting deprived of a degree," they explained.
Hostel shutting down adds to woes of the unhearing
The 150- year old Victoria hostel that housed almost 400 differently abled students shut down last year after the PWD termed it unfit for accommodation. "From 400 it came down to 200-250 students in the last few days and finally they shut it down. The students were already complaining about the state of the hostel but instead of finding an alternative the hostel was just shut," one of the faculty said.
Wrong calculation: With the compulsory mathematics rule, students are quickly running out of option
Since then, the number of students applying for admissions has also reduced and the old students are forced to take up accommodation in the neighbouring areas where they pay high fees and don't have food facilities either. "It's far more expensive now and for blind students, their accommodations are not user-friendly, so they really suffer," S Namburajan, general secretary of TARATDAC said.
With the lack of hostel facilities, teachers and now compulsory mathematics rule, students are quickly running out of options. "If the numbers remain so low then there is a good chance that the course might also get cancelled. Students have benefitted a lot from these courses, studying in other institutes is also not an option as they won't be able to afford it. This is their only hope," explained Namburajan.
The Presidency College authorities weren't available for comment.