Punished for Knowing English

This pertains to the widespread disenchantment with the dealings of CBSE with regards to the English marks of Class XII students of Delhi. I believe that there are thousands of middle class parents who aspire for their children to become responsible, well earning members of the society. One works very hard to realize such a future for the kids – juggling parental roles, work and relationships.

But all this comes to a naught when one has to face the insensitive examination system devised by CBSE. Obviously bright students (as is evidenced by scores in other exams and foreign assessments) land up with pathetic English scores. What is this, a mark of fate or something done by design?

English as a subject is more about communicating than about literary rote and grammar. As a medium of communication, English is anyway being tested in all other subjects. The logic of scoring pathetic marks in English for a child, who has scored brilliantly in other subjects, as has been the case with many this time, raises a lot of questions. Clearly, there has been a system failure – of the CBSE Examination System. Or as Mr. Ganguly (Chairman CBSE) has already admitted, a ‘gross error’ has occurred.

Private Delhi schools are amongst the best in the country in terms of education and results alike. Then, how is it that they alone have been singled out with such poor scores in English? English is a decisive subject for admission into Delhi University. But this English paper massacre has resulted in a pandemonium, where thousands of very deserving Delhi students will be deprived of admission into these colleges. They have been punished for studying in ‘private schools’ and for ‘working hard’. Thousands of parents have come out in protest against this injustice and held meetings with Mr. Ganguly and the Vice Chancellor of DU. Solutions like expunging English from the DU admission criteria have been proposed. The English subject, where scores depend upon the examiner’s temperament and knowledge of the language, which is an intangible matter entirely; should cease to be the sole criterion for anybody’s future. Why not accord a higher weightage to Delhi students to bring them at par with the ones migrating to DU from all over the country. With Raj Thakeray’s Maharashtrian jingoism making Pune and Mumbai a despised destination for higher education and with this CBSE English fiasco resulting in DU denying admissions, where will the students study? It is high time that this issue be highlighted by the media too. I implore that some steps be taken to undo this fiasco, which may prematurely seal the careers of thousands of good students of Delhi.

We need to sensitize the authorities, the public with this issue with the medium of our paper. This issue may lack the glam element of IPL but will make a difference to thousands of students. Let us not fail them. Let them not become victims of a vindictive, inefficient system for they are the future of this nation.

Kanika Bahadur

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