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NEP 2020: Undergrad College Admissions Will No Longer Remain At The Mercy Of Cut-Offs

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Under the purview of New Education Policy 2020, a seven-member committee that has been set up by the UGC will shortly come up with certain recommendations, needed steps and modalities for implementing the conduct of a common aptitude test for commerce and arts students who are currently pursuing their higher/senior secondary education i.e. Class 12th.

This landmark decision, which will be implemented from the 2021-22 session, puts a big question mark over the relevance of toiling hard for scoring high marks in board examinations as students are no longer required to make their way through skyrocketing cut-offs of leading central universities including DU, BHU, JNU, etc.

The Harsh Reality And Social Prestige Attached To Boards

Since the beginning of our lives, our parents, teachers, elder siblings and relatives preached the importance of Class 12th board examinations. They are believed to be one of the most crucial exams that a student in India appears for as they are supposed to be the foremost stepping stone, deciding one’s future prospects and career trajectory.

They have become a key determinant of one’s self-worth, as the mere parameter for the same is based on success or failure in these exams. However, what one does not realise is the fact that it is more important to develop a mind that questions and analytically perceives rather one which just consumes facts and figures by overloading one’s mind and then vomit it all on the answer sheet on the final day of exams.

Unfortunately, learning and studying are now merely undertaken to produce certain results. They are just considered a means to reach institutes of higher education, so much so that students have forgotten to enjoy the process of getting exposed to undiscovered multi-layered nuances of their subject.

The Plight Of Every Class 12 Student And Their Relationship With An Apparent Omnipotent Anthropoid Mr Marx

Having witnessed their seniors from commerce and arts streams — who scored a meager score to get through skyrocketing cut-offs of esteemed central universities and undergo a myriad number of problems to reach top-notch institutes and colleges — students naturally/instinctively become minions at the hands of an imaginary anthropoid named Mr Marx (mere marks; not quantifiable enough to measure a student’s capabilities) who ultimately decides a student’s destiny.

Since Mr Marx has been put on a higher pedestal by Indian society, he influences students to such a degree that they fall prey to a vicious cycle, which, in due course, inhibits their rational thinking and poses a great threat to their physical and mental well-being. They attend their school lectures, take up extra classes at coaching institutes and prepare for multiple entrances simultaneously to ensure a good score in at least the entrance exams of higher education institutes, even if they end up screwing their boards.

Back home, they complete assignments, apply rote learning techniques and mindlessly cram their study material. Juggling between so many things on a daily basis makes them lose interest in diving into the world of erudition. Eventually, they become homogenous sub-standard products, manufactured and packaged in a factory, owned by Mr Marx.

NEP 2020

At a time when the Covid-19 pandemic was hovering over the Indian economy, there came a bright streak of light at the end of the dim-lit tunnel of the Indian Education System for the upcoming batches of Class 12 in the form of New Education Policy (NEP), which came into existence on July 29, 2020. It has finally come up with a momentous decision, espousing that commerce and arts students will no more be driven by the tyranny of cut-off-based system for admission into undergraduate courses. It is no more a distant dream that the admission process of all central universities is the same and students are no more required to muddle through preparations for multiple entrances.

For commerce, arts and science students, particularly those who wish to pursue B.Sc. will no longer be admitted for central universities on the basis of merit or their own entrance examinations. Instead, admission will be given on the basis of a single entrance examination (comprising verbal, quantitative ability and logical reasoning) followed by subject-specific tests, which will be chosen by the students themselves. Each university will then be able to see every student’s individual subject portfolio and admit students into the programme based on individual interests and talents.

Representational image.

A crucial point to be noted is that board examinations won’t be scrapped and students needn’t completely neglect them because there may still be some other universities and colleges that will give more weightage to their board exam score.

How Is It Helpful?

Where earlier, any candidate from the unreserved category with even 90% in the ‘best of four’ Class XII board papers couldn’t secure a seat in the commerce stream in most of the colleges affiliated to Delhi University, now even a candidate with 60% i.e. the least score required in board exams to sit for the common entrance, will possibly be able to qualify for admissions to the best Indian colleges, overcoming the stumbling block of difference in curriculum, evaluation schemes, setting of question papers, etc. of various central and state education boards across the country.

Before standing at the threshold of pursuing higher education, the majority of students will get an exposure to appear for a competitive exam that would test them on their conceptual understanding, logical reasoning and analytical skills along with an evaluation of their quantitative and verbal prowess. Here, we would be done away with most of the cramming exercise as now, the students are expected to rationally apply the knowledge and fundamentals learned.

This will provide them with first-hand experience of appearing for different entrances in multitudinous fields including management, banking, civil services, law, insurance, teaching, etc. and after the completion of their graduation, the familiarity of an environment associated with giving competitive exams may not be as overwhelming or alarming if they were a novice.

These exams are more about strategising one’s preparation and honing the ability to distinguish important from relevant. The ability to decide and choose which questions to attempt and which to not within a stipulated time period will aid in improving a student’s decision-making skills, unlike in the CBSE board exams, in which all questions are required to be compulsorily answered, though they do offer a few internal choices. Thus, it will give a boost to the development of a rational mindset before standing at the threshold of pursuing higher education.

Overall, the decision is worth appreciating but a lot depends on its execution and further recommendations by the committee on the very nuances of the conduction of the common aptitude test and its evaluation policy or guidelines.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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