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High Cut-Offs, FYUP And More: Is Delhi University Really Worth All The Hype?

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By Sonakshi Samtani:

The social network was still abuzz with Delhi University’s new FYUP, when the announcement of cut-offs for admission 2013 brought the prospective students into a tizzy. With cut offs as high as 96-98% for all the popular courses in most colleges, the FYUP wouldn’t be the only thing to worry about.

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With students and teachers bustling about the disadvantages of the hurried implementation of the FYUP, it is ironical how the sales of the application forms this year have surpassed all the previous records. While it is easy to sit back and gasp at the insanely high cut-offs, the real ordeal is faced by the 250,000 applicants who are relentlessly pursuing those 54,000 coveted seats which make them a student of India’s best university.

However, it’s time we think whether DU is actually worth all the hype it is surrounded by. With just a handful of colleges which stand out in terms of infrastructure, faculty and academics, the collective hype around DU could be attributed to the lack of quality educational institutions in India.

In addition to that, entrance examinations for English and Journalism have now been scrapped. They’ve been replaced by cut offs as high as 98%. “I believe that for Journalism, an entrance exam is vital”, says Sumedha Bharpilania, a third year Journalism student at LSR. This move surely is not welcome as it undermines the actual aptitude of the student for that course and gives undue leverage to high board examination scores.

With over 7,000 students scoring above 95% in 2013, one can’t blame just the colleges for soaring cut-offs every year. It is time we reflect on the Indian education system and its ethos. With state and national boards becoming increasingly lax in correction patterns with each passing year, and with a curriculum that encourages rote learning, it is hard to imagine a bright future for the education system if it continues functioning this way.

Hacking into the Indian education system’ by Debarghya Das, highlights the adulteration in ISC marking pattern. A statistical representation of the marks scored by the 65,000 students who appeared for the examination shows that the exact same numbers were missing from everybody’s results in all the subjects. Sure it is a shocking revelation, but it is not that we were completely unaware of the unreliable marking patterns.

But this is not all, adding to the plight of the prospective students is the much criticized reservation system. While it makes sense to reserve seats for those belonging to economically underprivileged backgrounds, but assuming that all the members of those reserved categories would be unable to finance their education is nothing but a flawed generalization. Moreover, certain top colleges reserve 50% seats for students belonging to particular religious backgrounds, even if their score is as low as their share of seats, while their counterparts deal with a very difficult admission process.

Reservation based on religion/caste is not justified and completely unacceptable. For a secular country like India, such a system is hypocritical. For on one hand we incorporate virtues of equality in our constitution and then subject our students to a completely incongruous system.

The need of the hour is more and better educational institutions, both for secondary and higher studies. An organized education system which complements the aim of wholesome education and all round development of the students, contrary to the one which promotes rote learning.

It is therefore, imperative to work on the contents of our education system first. Once it is done, an appropriate structure wouldn’t be very far away from falling in place. As of now, Admission 2013 is quite literally a mission.

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  1. An Indian

    I agree with each and every word of this article. Well, it is not just DU, many other institutions that are hyped . It's true that the cut-offs are insanely high and high cutoffs ensures only the best minds enter these coveted institutions – utter NONSENSE ! “The adulteration of ISC board exam results…” , not just ISC, even CBSE and many other board results clearly indicate that the marking is very lax.

    I can vouch for the fact that the ones who enter these reputed institutions are not necessarily the best ones, because the education system (not blaming the govt alone) is seriously going down the drains (keeping in mind several other happenings which we people just crib about and obviously, cannot do anything )

    I am studying abroad, and now I realise why people are so mad about studying in countries like US and UK. They may be a bit easier to enter, but every penny spent is worth it, in terms of faculty involvement and services.

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Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

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A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

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A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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