By Parnil Yodha:
With the admission season heading its way, University of Delhi has once again become the buzzing ground. This time due to the staggering 100 per cent cut—off unleashed by one of the most prestigious colleges of this central university.
The first cut-off list for the admission to undergraduate courses in the university brought more shock than hope. The 100 per cent cut-off for non-commerce B.Com aspirants set by Shri Ram College of Commerce (SRCC) in the very first cut-off list sparked off debates all over the nation.
Kapil Sibal, Minister of Human Resource Development (HRD), slammed the college for doing discrimination on the basis of academic background, calling the cut-off as irrational and exclusionary. “Why a student who scores 99 per cent in science stream is not good enough to study commerce?” he exhorted.
The whole idea behind the perfect per cent was to exclude science students and abstain them from entering commerce stream. This whole virtual slamming of door on the faces of non-commerce students was done on the pre-conceived notion that all science students are IIT or medicine aspirants and they drop-out of college as soon as they make it to these, leaving seats wasted which could have easily been filled by some commerce students. But the biggest argument is that if a science student has both capability and interest to pursue commerce stream, is it right to deny him admission only because he happened to take-up science stream as a sixteen-year old? The college authorities must enligtened upon that all science are not IIT or medicine aspirants.
Overtly backing the idea of perfect percentage, Mr. P.C.Jain, principal, SRCC, said “We get the best students from across the country and getting 100% in the aggregate of your best performance in four subjects is no longer impossible in Board examinations.”
But SRCC is not the only one with stratospheric cut-offs. Colleges such as Ramjas, Hindu and, surprisingly, even Keshav Mahavidyalya are not too far behind. For B.Com (H), Hindu College expects applicants to have scored between 95.5% and 99%. At Keshav Mahavidyalya, the cut-off ranges from 94 to 99%.Among science subjects, the increase in the first cut-off marks, as against last year, is as much as 10% in North Campus colleges.
DU Vice Chancellor Dinesh Singh blamed the fear of over-admission that was plaguing all the colleges due to the absence of pre-admission forms for leaving them with no alternative other than hike in the cut-offs.
The high cut-off will lead to innumerous problems in the country’s higher education system. Firstly, it will widen the gap between the educational levels of the state boards’ and the CBSE’s pass-outs because even the toppers of the states have scored much lesser than the aggregate required to make it to some of the top Delhi University colleges. The Uttar Pradesh topper secured abysmal 92.3 per cent while the West Bengal topper scored mere 95 per cent. The condition of other state boards is of not much difference, either. But in CBSE, the number of students scoring above 95 per cent across the country is increasing every year as this year it witnessed an unprecedented jump from 1,202 to 2, o97. In the Delhi region alone, this number trebled from 288 last year to 818 students this time.
Secondly, the high cut-off will also widen gap between the educational levels of the so-called ‘elitist’ colleges and the other colleges of University of Delhi. Against the high cut-offs of elitist colleges like that of 96 per cent in SRCC , the cut-offs of other non-elitist colleges (like Ram Lal Anand had 80 per cent and Shaheed Bhagat Singh had 88 per cent) were quite lower in comparison. Thus, no wonder all toppers are from these elitist colleges. Hence, the students of these colleges get best campus placements. And then again the rat race to get into theses colleges starts, which further results in high cut-offs.
This altogether has triggered and facilitated brain-drain in our country. Due to the high cut-offs, students are compelled to move outside the country and then, they further even prefer jobs abroad.Thus, the talent drifts away from India.
Another way in which the talent of the nation gets neglected is that the students who neither make it to government colleges nor have fortunes to pay the whopping fees of top private colleges, would not be able to receive the quality education under expert faculty.
The main problem is that the number of students scoring over 95 per cent is increasing every year at a very fast pace but the number of seats available in DU has remained stagnant since past few decades. The size college buildings have remained the same since the time it were built.Thus, creating the deficiency of proper infrastructure facilities to accomodate students, if the seats get increased.
The education system of India need some immediate stringent structutal reforms, such as why only academic performance is given prime importance? Why is not performance in co-curricular activites given equal importance? Why are the marks the only criterion to give admission? Why cannot wehave group discussions and personal interviews to judge the overall intellectual personality of individuals rather than just measuring their academic performance through the marks obtained by them? These methods would be cumbesome but a lot more effective than the present system.
Education is not about scoring marks.It is about the overall intellectual growth of individuals in order to make them capable of implementing their knowledge about themselves and their ambience over life experiences and use it to take decisions in adversities. Education entails development of an individual as a responsible member of society at large. Education triggers out-of-box constructive thinking, not curtail it. Education solicits experimentation, not perfection. Education encourages to go beyond the firmly established perceptions of the society and discover novelty. Till the time we would continue to pay no heed in acknowledging this very fact, the education would remain constrained in the ambit of a mere rat race to fetch marks.