This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Aanchal Khulbe. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

The Myth Of Merit: How The Grading System Is Discriminatory And Hinders Inclusive Education

More from Aanchal Khulbe

By Aanchal Khulbe:

There has been a ubiquitous unidirectional mentality which triggers a uni-directional pedagogy and vice versa. A person comes out to be how the child was educationally structured, and when this structuring is pushing them to fatal extremes to solve one question paper, or being clay-moulded into believing what they are told, or a single-minded income-based approach to education, how can this structuring amount to any kind of quality education? Does this groom you, evolve you, or does this make you another follower in the age-old line?

grading system

Grades have an inevitable moral code attached to them. Imagine you have guests at home; the second thing they want to know about you when you are introduced to them, only after perhaps your name, is the percentage you acquired or your rank in class. You reply with a complete cognizance of a tag that is now going to be attached against your name. Studious means principled. Failure means worthless. This is what the society has finally converged into – an entity weighing and judging worth by its over-valued, discriminatory and biased method of grading.

Now the question is, why do the majority chose the chase? However debilitating and baseless, this is still the short-cut. The safer way. The escape. The ready-to-solve questions make it appear as the safer way of education – mug it up, vomit, forget.

Grades divide the society into classes, a social structure, similar to distinctions based on caste. A hierarchy is formed among students and they are divided between class stratas, on the basis of academic performance. This discrimination has resulted into an immense amount of pressure from a very young age. There are swords hanging  upon a child to score high, and then there is cut throat competition, the fear of which culminates into hard work, and not the curiosity to attain knowledge. It is not the thrill for the type of knowledge you want to attain during the process that drives you to make lifetime decisions, but the output, i.e., the alluring fascination of the bragging amount in currency that can be converted out of the degree you are holding today.

This system introduces comparison and competition at a very young age. Talent and curiosity are sought to be crushed at every level. There is no space for personal growth. If an academician wants to go into the area of research, one has to be prepared for a future of limited means. India does not value experimentation, debates or new discoveries, because such works are for the spare pieces, the dregs of the society. This process begins at the very base-level. Parents have a general tendency to condemn anything off-academic. This is because the Indian parents believe in visible results. Also, there is a blatant parent hierarchy that they need to manage. There is also a parallel pressure with the pressure of grades. It is that of living up to expectations. One is made to realize the need to study and bring home money because one has been invested upon.

The sanctity of merit and the myth of the hierarchical student pyramid shoots from the walled mentality of the Indian society. The structure of the mindset of the society dictates the structure of education provided by it. Merit is no basis of judgement and the only area that can be worked upon is the stubborn, unchanging, unyielding and baseless institution called mentality.

You must be to comment.
  1. Adishi

    The education system in India is faultering at this front, the most. The need for high grades, despite any kind of increase in the knowledge gained. The school I went to for fourteen years had a heinous system of dividing sections in the ninth and tenth standards on the basis of the results of the preceding class, and subsequently formed a section called “Ability Section”. The moral and confidence degradation of other student because of this was almost ignored. I hope schools with such systems start acting rationally and strive to shape better learned individuals than just better scoring individuals. It was a really nice read. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Aanchal Khulbe

      The Ability Section- yes, that is one very common phenomenon. So you cherry pick the ones who can bring recognition to the school. Because the school, the home and everything in between, is the part of the mentality.
      And they have no regard for the ‘could-not-score’s, because they do not seem to fulfill the basic motive. This is how pathetic things are!

  2. Anubhav Shankar

    Very succinctly put and it just goes to show the prevalent narrow-mindedness in both our society and educational pedagogy.

  3. Aditya

    An entire generation has been brought up in this disastrous fashion. It is the only cause of a stagnant society with vast multitudes caught in the same vicious cycle. A lot of people will identify with this and thank you for expressing it. Great work! 🙂

    1. Aanchal Khulbe

      Thank you Aditya. I want people to more than just identify with my views here. I want them to think for themselves. The majority might keep nodding through the text but so what? Until there is no one who decides to refuse to the brainwash and think for themselves, under the full realization that its just one life, that shall end very soon, and that it should not be wasted by a perpetual habit of mere obedience, or that the only source of the drive to study is the 20-year later amount in your bank account, its still a waste! Education is one of the first things that need a revolution!

    2. Anubhav

      I really feel that we are still living in post-industrial revolution Charles Dickens era where free thinking and creative aptitude are suppressed with overzealous admiration and promotion of the “meritorious” crammers. Once again an excellent article.

  4. Vini Bhati

    I think your article has raised one of the most significant issue which has contributed in upholding the stagnating education system since ages; which is the “rigid mentality” that has embedded itself strongly in the society, thereby curbing creativity and distinctiveness.
    This seems to be a malady which is degenerating the quality of education imparted due to the “single minded income based approach”as you correctly pointed out.
    What I would like to convey through this comment is that its time now for a change. We, the new generation filled with infinite zest ,should liberate ourselves from the confines of the system and explore our abilities to accomplish the unthinkable, setting an example for everyone because in the end, it is iron resolution and “will power” that can overpower anything.

  5. arpan

    I will deal with the cause.. if not any dumb one would.. sometimes i wonder how can so many million people be so dumb and blind.. not to raise their voice!! i have suffered away my entire childhood that was studded with talented outbursts of my TRUE soul crying for a wink of freedom.. i have been a prisoner at my own home.. under my own parents.. from the buls*** pressure and now i stand unemployed,unhealthy,suffering from chronic diseases and hated at home.. i feel like a f***** piece of failed body lacking respect from my peers who are tagged successful as they hv become successful slaves to some stupid companies working fr this bl**** system…… im being laughed at by this cheap sold out ignorant society outside.. begging inside everyday on my knees…. i have been a throughout slave for this system and thus my good parents thinking everyday in so much pain and hurt that it would do us good.. i hv lost all patience since years shouting and blaming them for comparing me with my own friends and relatives against whom i retaliated and thus feel so guilty….i abusively shout out my hatred towards them who has brought me up by hard work.. just for the sake of return of grades from me.. NOT because they loved me for who i am & what i love doing..! just answer me which system kills the innocence of that child inside of you? i give you all a word..i will reply this system with the last RBC of my body.. they will be hanged upside down.. then they will be whipped out drops of blood every minute until they speak for the reason behind so many brilliant young souls hanging themselves every year.. which i hv to be an exception to.. to get back at these spineless bastards.. licking foreign sh** unable to bring a change even after so many years of our (FAKE) independence.. so many little innocent ones had to succumb due to this pressure from this b***y brutal merciless exam system not knowledge system.. wait .. & watch.. brothers.. many of my brothers and sisters are dead.. i hv taken an oath from their divine names.. & God is with me n’ will be with you as well trust me.. anyone who is willing to join hands with me contact me over email.. we must make initiations for a community .. this is a time for PROMPT action( not blogging .. debating .. or writing comments or opinions.. or pressing like buttons anymore.. be real..) against this money making system in the name of knowledge.. remember every second we waste thousands of brothers and sisters are hanging themselves.. losing all their good selves & talents along with their bodies.. from this demonic system that was given to us to kill the creative force from our nation.. by these foreigners..watch these to see the proof yourself.. https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=rajiv+dixit+indian+education “RISE EVERYONE.. START SAVING TIME AND ENERGY FROM THIS DAY TO BREAK THIS SYSTEM.. LEST THIS BREAKS YOUR OWN CHILDREN AND YOUR LOVE TOWARDS THEM ONE DAY.. WE CANNOT AFFORD AT ANY COST TO LET THIS MADNESS AND SICKNESS CARRY FORTH TO THE FORTHCOMING GENERATIONS! SEARCH FOR LATE AMAR SAHEED SHRI RAJIV DIXIT JI’S LECTURES ON YOUTUBE.. FORWARD THEM TO EVERYONE AROUND YOU..TO SET FORTH A CLIMATE OF CHANGE IN THIS SOCIETY.. JAI HIND! VANDE MAA TARAM.. LONG LIVE REVOLUTION..TRUTH EVER TRIUMPHS”

More from Aanchal Khulbe

Similar Posts

By Siddharth Mohan Roy

By Kshitiz Siwakoti

By Ananya Anand

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

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.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

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.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

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.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

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.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below