For many years now, bifocal or vocational junior college courses have been sought after by the 'academic elite', but 2011 is proving to be an exception. The number of students applying for bifocal seats——the first cut-off list for which will be announced this evening—has gone down drastically. Only 18,000 college aspirants have applied for bifocal seats in science and commerce as opposed to more than 31,000 last year.
It's worth noting though, that the number of bifocal seats has risen. In 2010, there were 12,533 bifocal seats. This year, the numbers have gone up to 15,826 seats with 1,225 for commerce vocational and 14,601 for the science vocational streams. Of the 15,826 seats, around 12,474 seats are available for online applicants. Last year, in the online process, 31,131 students were vying for 7,906 bifocal seats ; this year only 18,000 students are vying for 12,474 seats. With fewer applicants, the ratio of students per bifocal seat has reduced from 4:1 in 2010 to 1.5:1. Nevertheless, college principals are still expecting high cut-offs.
In 2010, the cut-offs for bifocal seats in top-rung colleges closed at 92-94 %. This year, with more students crossing the 90% mark in all three boards—ICSE, SSC and CBSE—cut-offs will remain on the higher side, say principals. Kavita Rege, principal of Sathaye College at Vile Parle, said : "It's difficult to even guess what the cut-offs will be like this year. One of the reasons why fewer students have applied for bifocals could be because they want to keep their options open after Class XII. If students opt for bifocals, they won't get the chance to study health and health-related courses. For instance, science bifocal students who drop biology can't opt for biomedical engineering, microbiology, etc."
Manju Nichani, principal of K C College at Churchgate, said, "The first cut-off lists are very high, but it normally goes down by 2-3 % in the subsequent list."
Principals, students and parents are hoping that the school education department will announce the merit list on time. Due to a technical glitch last year, the office of the deputy director of school education released the data two hours after the deadline and students were unable to see which colleges they had been allotted until midnight. T A Shiware, principal of KPB Hinduja College. said, "The department has taken corrective measures to ensure that there are no glitches."
The merit list will be put up at fyjc.org.in/mumbai at 5pm today. Students will also be alerted via text messages.
First Merit List Today
Declaration of merit list-I for bifocals: Today at 5pm Payment of fees: July 13 & 14 (between 10am and 2pm) Declaration of merit list-II for bifocals : July 18 at 5pm Payment of fees: July 19 & 20 (between 10am and 2pm) Bifocal students who have been assigned to a college in the first merit list must secure their seat by paying Rs 50. They can opt for the betterment option only once.