The 100 percent education

By Sushmita Dutta | Last Updated: Saturday, June 25, 2011 - 16:04
Sushmita Dutta
Sushi's Musings

Cracked your board exams? The mark sheet had all the bright hues you had wished to paint its paper with. You had crossed the 90% barrier and it was time to celebrate and fly high! You thought that you possessed a ticket to the best colleges in the city, but found out the ugly truth that the marks were just not enough. The Sri Ram College of Commerce in Delhi had put the cut off for admissions at 100% (for those students who have Science in class XII and they want admission in B Com Hons).

I was thanking my stars when, for the first time, I saw this out of the world cut off. Felt relieved that I belonged to another generation. But I also felt upset. Students labour for the entire year to get good marks, but when they see that their marks are just not good enough, the disappointment that sets-in is tremendous. It can literally break the student.

There is a very interesting angle to this entire percentage saga. Only a handful of students get the designer percentages of the high 90s, although there remains an entire section of students who score a decent 75 to 85. So are these students the new definition of dumb and unintelligent students? Because these would be the students who would bear the brunt of such unprecedented scoring systems. There was a time when someone who got 33% who was frowned upon, but now even 85 % holders may raise a few eyebrows for he or she would never be able to get into any of the decent colleges.

Nevertheless, the trouble is not just about some students missing out the cut. CBSE, over the years, has a system of liberal marking. But such is not the case with the students coming from the various state boards. The state boards not only are much tougher but marking is also not so lenient. Anyone who scores above 80% in a state board is always considered a very intelligent student. Does that student stand a chance in the system of 100 percent cut offs? Doesn’t he/she have a right to quality education as an equal in the best institutes on offer in this country?

Our system of education has become so flawed that one can get good education only if they have a one in a million mark sheet or pocketful of green papers. Private institutions have cropped up in every nook and cranny of the nation, but fail to provide good education to brighten young minds. They are more into the ‘business’ of education.

Amounts like 8-10 lakhs are common as fees in these institutes. The need to buy laptops from the institute itself has been made mandatory, even if the students have one. It has also been seen at some colleges that they ask for 80-85,000 for a laptop, promising high end ones and eventually providing them with inferior stuff.

These colleges should be made to explain the spending of every penny they charge from students. If people are so interested in making money, why defile Devi Saraswati’s temple. Just go ahead and open a shop where you can make money easily, but clearly, selling education is a better paying business it seems. How many families in India have easy access to 8-10 lakhs for their child to study for two years?

Such unreasonable percentages and demands on money are pushing kids to the brink of disaster. Every other day, we hear and read news about suicides of young students, who either could not muster enough marks or just failed to cope with the pressure of studies.

It is a red signal for the parents who constantly push their wards to scale the pinnacle of success by registering terrifically high marks. Beware! You could lose your kids to peer pressure. Education is not about getting more marks than the neighbour’s child. It is about how much the kid learns and successfully uses that knowledge in life.

It is the parents’ fault to a certain extent that the cut offs have reached to such an unreachable range. Had they not pushed kids towards that 98, 99, 100% desire, he or she would be not be frantically searching for getting admission. Parents, please realize the importance of quality education and not quantity of marks.

HRD ministry should also understand the lurking danger that lies ahead for the nation. Colleges who only want to flaunt the brains that they have got or the money that they pocketed need to be done away with. Educational institutes cannot be only about high scoring students or deep pocketed ones. Education is for all to have; it is a right. It’s also the government’s duty to provide quality education to all. These institutes need to allow the low scoring students. By low scoring I do not mean all students, no matter how low they score, but definitely the ones who have scored decently and deserve a chance for higher studies.

Swami Vivekananda had once said that “education is not the amount of information that is put into your brain and runs riots there, undigested all your life. Education must have life-building, man-making, character-making, assimilation of ideas.”

However, as unfortunate as it might sound, the education system in India is on a diametrically opposite trajectory.

First Published: Saturday, June 25, 2011 - 16:04

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