Thursday, 23 June 2011

The Cut Off – Entry into College Education (after School in India)

Come the month of June, and all the students who have passed their class twelfth board enter into an important phase in their live-the Battle of the cut offs! It is only if they make it through the cut off that they will be able to get admission in a college with a course of their choice! While the powers that be, and the policy framers have made it easier for students to pass from lower classes to the class tenth level, (what with the removal of formal, traditional board exams at the secondary level), things become difficult when they try to get admission to a graduate course in a college in Delhi.

It is rather ironical that today a large number of students passing the twelfth boards are getting higher percentages and pass marks than before, and yet are not able to get admission in colleges because they haven’t scored the magical percentage of 96%! A large number of pass outs from school would, thus not be able to get admission in S.R.C.C., or L.S.R. or Hindu, or Stephens in the Economic Honours course because they don’t have 96 or 97% aggregate marks in their best four subjects at the class twelfth level! Recently, one of my students from Delhi called me up and told me that although he had scored 95% in his aggregate of best four subjects, he was not able to get admission to the Economic Course in a reputed college because he was short by 1% or so! It was surprising to know that even some of the lesser known colleges had upped the cut offs making it difficult for most students to get through!

The educational reforms introduced recently in education at the school level and the admission procedure at the college level seem to be rather diametrically opposed and conflicting! While the radical reforms at the primary and secondary levels in schools seem to do away with stress related to scoring of marks and competition with others, the admission procedure at the college level might be doing just the opposite! The largely inflated cut offs at the college entrance level seem to be making a mockery of the reforms introduced at school till class tenth! Students till class tenth are passed to the next class so liberally that they lose their competitive edge that comes through healthy competition! Perhaps excess leniency in awarding marks till class tenth might be raising the hopes of students to exaggerated levels making them unfit for competition at the college level and even for competition in real life!

That a large number of students graduating from school will not be able to get through regular college run by the Central  or State Universities makes it convenient for the entry of Private Colleges run by Private or Foreign Universities! Thus you have a mushrooming of a large number of B-Schools and private colleges many of which are unrecognised and nothing but Education Shops! Thus for a tidy sum of money the student can join a B.B.A. or M.B.A. programme run by a private institution affiliated to a Foreign University. What makes things even more depressing for the student is to choose an institution which is recognised by the Government, and future employers. often, after spending a huge sum of money and wasting valuable time. The mushrooming and  unrestrained of a large number of B-Schools has diluted the quality of M.B.A. and B.B.A. programmes in the country. A large number of M.B.As. and B.B.As. are gullible victims of fake, spurious, or unrecognised institutions. Some advertisements of these institutions are so misleading that they project the private institution as Ranked at The Top, and they even advertise issue of free laptops (Which are paid for by the Parent at the time of admission or  E.M.Is. spread over the duration of the course).

It all boils down to the extremely high Cut Offs posted by colleges, the fact that there has been a sudden surge in the number of students passing out from school with a higher percentage in the aggregate of best four subjects, and thus higher expectations. It is clear that something is amiss at the college level or graduate level  education as far as the admission procedure is concerned! Colleges today cannot provide education to most of the students passing out of school. Isn’t it ironical that while at the school level we are discouraging competition ( because it is stressful ) at the college entrance  level however we are doing the exact opposite! This antithesis between the system of selecting candidates for the graduate course and the system of stress free education at the school level is too great to be ignored!

The first cut off comes and goes, leaving most of the aspirants disheartened. The second cut off is announced leaving students disillusioned and further disappointed! Some opt for least popular courses offered by colleges,others go for the Distance Learning Programme,  and others opt for private institutions. In our greed for the perfect 100% have we not perhaps ignored a large workforce a valuable human resource of our country?

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