While students seeking admission to first year junior college (FYJC) will start filling out the online forms from Wednesday, those interested in taking up the arts stream are in a fix. This year, many colleges have surrendered their arts seats as, they feel, the stream is falling out of favour with students and they do not believe there will be enough students to occupy the seats they have. The total number of arts seats in the city has gone down by nearly 2,500 for admissions for the 2011-12 academic year.
However, most students have scored between 49% and 65% in this year's Secondary School Certificate (SSC) exams. With cut-offs for the commerce and science streams expected to touch the skies, most of these students will have no option but to take up a seat in the arts stream. Experts fear that these students will be faced with a shortage of seats.
"Colleges have surrendered arts seats under the assumption that they will not get enough students. But the results have indicated that many students may be forced to take up arts if their scores do not match the high cut-offs in colleges. In this scenario, if the colleges do not have enough seats to accommodate these students, cut-offs may shoot up for arts as well, creating a problem," said a senior education official.
Marie Fernandes, principal of St Andrews College, Bandra, said: "Arts is a popular stream. But in the last few years, commerce has superseded other courses in terms of popularity. Colleges tend to slash the number of arts seats, because the demand is not in keeping with the seats available."
The reduction in the number of seats may seem marginal right now but colleges may continue surrender seats for various reasons — like minority and management quotas — once the college admissions begin. This may significantly reduce the number of arts seats, added the official.
"We are on the verge of an arts disaster. We advise colleges not to give up arts seats even if they do not see the demand for them," said the official.
Tarini Mehta, a student who wants to take up arts, said: "I have scored in the 50-60% range. For me, arts is the best option because it generally has the lowest cut-off. But if the cut-offs increase, I may not get admission to any good arts college."
Meanwhile, students will fill start filling their option and admission forms from today, June 22. Students from other boards like CBSE or ICSE can even start taking admission as they have got their mark sheets. SSC students can start taking admission once they get their mark sheets from their schools on June 27.