The 100 percent cut-off announced by Sri Ram College of Commerce, Delhi University, has sparked off a new debate. However, the cut-off list of reputed colleges has been around 90 percent for the last 7-8 years, but the 100 percent cut-off announced by this college has exposed shortcomings of education system and also highlighted the apathy of the government towards it. Undoubtedly, only the intelligent students get enrolled in the reputed colleges of the country and if any college pegs at 100 percent cut-off, it gives a clear message that only those who are brilliant should come for admission, but the moot point remains about those who have secured 70-80 percent will not be considered in the said category. Nearly two decades ago, the students who secured 70-80 percent marks were not only touted as brilliant rather they managed to enroll in the reputed colleges. How does it start happening all of a sudden that scores of students of CBSE and other boards of secondary education secure 90 percent or above in the examinations?   

Now the situation is that the parents of those students who get below 95 percent are not happy, because they know their wards will face difficulty in getting admission in reputed colleges. Why is this situation? Have children become brilliant suddenly? Or, has CBSE changed the pattern of its examination? There must be a truth in it, as there has been a cut-throat competition to achieve more than 90 percent since the pattern of the examination changed. Almost all students try to secure 100 percent marks with the help of coaching. There is no dearth of such coaching institutes which train students to get 100 percent marks. CBSE is trying to make students secure good marks. Is there any political intervention to motivate CBSE for it? This point is valid, as now the questions of an examination have been made simple and examiners have been advised to remain generous while going through test papers. Perhaps this is the reason that in 2007 there were 8,000 students who secured more than 90 percent marks, while number of such students have gone beyond 20,000 this year.    

Now-a-days students pay attention to merely score more marks. The possibility of complete intellectual growth is declining under such method of education because they confine themselves only to learn the answers of questions. The crux of the problem is that students encounter similar questions in many examinations which were asked a couple of years ago. It is difficult to measure intellectual quotient during solving such questions. Nevertheless, no one is ready to think over it that the students who are blindly running after high scores will jeopardize their future. Could it be said that the students being in cut-throat competition to score high in the examination will also succeed to reach the sublime in their lives. Will they be able to solve the complex problems of their lives? At present, least attention is being paid to overall development of the personality. Until proper education system is evolved to develop intellectual quotient of students, the grooming of new generation who will secure the future of the country is not possible. It is an irony that today students, teachers and schools have focused on getting more marks in the examinations, because it is related with their prestige.

The high cut-off of reputed colleges indicates that such colleges or universities are few in number where there is a fight over for enrollment. Such educational institutes are confined to few big cities and seats are also limited. In small cities such colleges are very scant to attract students. There is a huge gap between the teaching of reputed colleges and general colleges. No attention is paid to the teaching in most of the universities. Neither do students pay attention to their studies nor do teachers take keen interest in teaching. Some time students go on strike, some time teachers do. Besides, there is a substandard syllabus. Consequently, a massive number of students are coming out with degrees from these universities who do not prove constructive for the country.

As there is a dearth of colleges and universities imparting quality education in our country, it is natural that cut-off is going much higher. This is the reason that the morale of the students securing 60-70 or 70-80 percent is going down. The intellectual level of those students getting 90 and 80 percent is more or less the same, but now those who have secured 80 percent are not able to get admission in a reputed college. The government should make such an arrangement that reputed colleges conduct test for admission on the pattern of medical and engineering institutes. It will provide opportunity for admission to those with less marks with the ones having more than 90 percent marks in reputed colleges. But this will not serve the purpose. Today it is required that the reputed colleges like Shri Ram College of Commerce, St Stephens of DU should be given the status of a university. They should be given responsibility to improve the education in other colleges as well. There are many suggestions on these lines to better the nation’s education system, but Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal does not appear keen on improving the prevalent system. The apathy towards education is a big hurdle in the development of India. Our policy makers must know that they are playing with the future of the country by ignoring necessary reforms in the education system.

(An original copy of the article published in Hindi on June19, 2011 translated by the English Editorial. The author is Group Editor of Dainik Jagran)