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

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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.

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  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 these to see the proof yourself.. “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”

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