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India – By giving students 95%, we’re failing them for life

Such results may not be reflective of the true ability and potential of a student.


The CBSE class 12 results have been declared, and the number of students with over 90 per cent marks entering the admission market have been quite high this year too. Nearly 89,000 students have been awarded more than 90 per cent in these exams. This is becoming problematic because these high achievers are failing to secure admissions in their desired fields of higher studies.

Students who opt for engineering and medical degree courses fight a different battle in the JEE and PMT. However, those who opt to go for conventional courses in India’s premier colleges have their task cut out.

If we go by the results, it can safely be assumed that the country today has a pool of talented young people ready to storm the job market. And this has been happening for quite some time. However, when the same bunch rolls out after graduation, they are termed unemployable by most corporate headhunters. This ironic situation needs deep research to fully understand why it has been happening.

What does this trend signify? (Pic: Delhi University)

Roughly 20 years ago, scoring a first division would invariably enhance the reputation of a family. Today a 95 per cent score has a similar impact. Well, almost.

Securing 95 per cent no longer gives an assurance that a student can pursue a certain degree in a good college in Delhi. The joy of scoring high marks is quick to dissipate when one is made to stand in the sweltering heat when the admission process starts at the Delhi University.

I have had the misfortune to watch a close friend’s son scoring more than 95 per cent in commerce last year, topping his school, and yet struggling to get into a DU college with hostel facility.

He and his father had to shuttle back and forth between Delhi and Bhopal only to settle in the end for a new college in south Delhi with no hostel. It was desperation at its worst.

The story repeats itself for hundreds of such students every year now. And to top it all, we see discussions in media where heads of education institutions boast of high cut-offs in colleges.

What does this trend signify? Does it bode well for a nation as young as ours?

The youth of the country need a strong educational foundation to stand tall and face the future. For a society like ours, there has to be a seamless transition from schooling to higher education to the job market.

The genesis of the problem starts with how the curriculum at the school level is structured, not to forget the exam pattern and the evaluation standards. Without undermining the achievements of students, if we had a strong syllabus, which is purely factual, followed by a largely objective nature of questioning and liberal evaluation, we would have students whose merit won’t be marked only by their ability to memorise facts.

The lack of analytical questioning and relative evaluation is leading to a churning, where scoring 95 per cent is easily achievable. Such results may not be reflective of the true ability and potential of a student.

There is a dire need to introspect the entire structure of primary and secondary education. We need to structure our evaluation system and ensure it is in sync with the true potential of a student.

Distributing marks liberally does no good to the students, parents or the society in general.

Instead, it creates an illusionary world for a child. It gives a false sense of achievement, raising the student on high hopes and expectations. Most students we talk to now are surprised at their performance themselves.

At the same time, there is also need to broaden the quality education institutions. The mad scramble for DU and other islands of excellence in other cities must not be limited. Expansion of quality engineering, medical and other technical institutions will ease the stress among a large number of students.

We need a national debate on the issue rather than relying on changes in chapters of textbooks. The participation of parents, students and educators will help ensure a true reflection of students’ capacities in their results. That coupled with larger avenues for pursuing higher studies at decentralised institutions will create a better environment to nurture the talented young people of an aspiring nation.

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