The last 2 years of schooling are often dubbed as the “Most Important Time of One’s Life.” If not all, many face the challenge of making some vital decisions that determine the course of their lives. Students are encouraged to invest every possible effort in this period to succeed in their endeavours and attain their goals. One would think this journey of a student’s life is well orchestrated and all efforts translate into fruits of labour; but is that really the case?
Recent trends in admissions to the prestigious Delhi University suggest a steady decline in the number of Delhi residents managing admission to its colleges and a corresponding rise in the Out-station student component. Media reports attribute this pattern to the mellowing stringency of invigilators of various State Board Examinations. In other words, invigilators evaluating the answer scripts in State Boards exhibit leniency in order to give mileage to students appearing in those exams over those who opt for the CBSE Board, with college admissions in mind. Even students of the ICSE board tend to fare as well or better than their CBSE contemporaries in spite of comparatively rigorous syllabi. Hence the Educational structure becomes an Inter-State political playground, tarnishing the sanctity of our educational system.
Moreover, subjective question papers invalidate possibility of uniform evaluation.
Is it fair to reduce the fate of hundreds of thousands of students every year to a mere factor of luck? Do students not deserve results in proportion to their input?
Engineering colleges throughout the country have dealt well with the flaws of an unreliable subjective examination by introducing Entrance Exams based on Multiple Choice Questions. Though the concept of Individual Entrances itself is under debate, the practice nonetheless reduces the “fortune” factor by realising a near-to foolproof system. But what about courses for the students of the Arts and the Commerce streams?
The numerous cases of students jumping from a Science background to popular Commerce and Arts courses such as B.Com or Economics itself are puzzling. Is it fair to allow such a dramatic and unwarranted shift? If students of commerce or humanities are ineligible for a Bachelor in Sciences or Engineering, why should science students receive equal consideration for Psychology or Law?
Foreign Universities present an interesting solution to University Admissions. To begin with, a large application fee deters one from applying to far too many universities. Thus, selecting a college of one’s choice is a calculated procedure.
A student’s application comprises of numerous components. These comprise Standardised Test Scores (such as the SAT), Recommendation Letters, Co-curricular record, essays, High-School transcripts and a personal interview. Seasoned functionaries are able to weed out exaggerated applications from the genuine ones. Personal contact between the Admissions Officers and the High School counselor for verifying application details is another aspect.
Reproducing the international system locally at present may be a far cry. Nonetheless, initiatives such as that by St. Stephen’s college to interview aspirant students is a step forward. Personal interaction enables selectors to question any anomalies in the aspirant’s profile. Introduction of a grading system could also serve as a solution to elimination of cutthroat competition created by absolute-marking system, which deems a student scoring half a mark more than another as more competent.
A sound education is an important factor that establishes an individual in society and determines the course of his life. If students are diligent and sincere, it is our duty to ensure that their efforts are rewarded and not subject to the wheel of fortune.