The Policy of Merit-o-cracy

DU = Dread Us!

I am 23 years old. I was born in Delhi. I have done my schooling in Delhi, my under-graduation, my post-graduation, my internships all in Delhi. I have been to several cheap hill-station summer vacations like all Delhiites, men on bicycles have sung ‘classics’ of the 90s like ‘jab bhi koi ladki dekhu mera dil deewana bole, ole! ole!’ to me like to every other Delhi girl, I love street food, I have shopped till I dropped from Sarojini Nagar and still maintained my brand conscious image and I could go on bragging about the hard core Dehliite inside me so I’d stop and come to the point, that is , I get Delhi and everything about it. Except for one thing and that is DU!

The imperishable hype created around the Delhi University from the time of my father (and before) is a tad discomforting. Getting into DU is no less than winning a lottery and of the worst kind. Your reward for turning into an insomniac, an anorexic, a workaholic for an entire year is broken benches occupied by dogs and monkeys, canteens with less food and more rodents, teachers more on strikes and less in classes (and the hapless and distressed teachers get their full salaries irrespective of giving a minimum of 75% of lectures or not but the rewarded privileged students of DU will surely be debarred from exams if they fail to attend classes.)

The ones who do not get into DU are made to feel like bigger achievers (losers), thanks to the judgmental pouts and grins that one has to face starting from your parents to parents of those kids who won the DU lottery to those who reject your battered mark sheet in colleges to those who even just pass you by. I would know as I din’t manage to get into DU back then and I wonder if I went to DU today with my ‘best of four’ today P.C. Jain (SRCC’s Principal) would be forced to indulge in his first honour killing!

The guy’s (P.C.Jain) ego that seemed to be inflated by the 100% cut off of his eminent college announced yesterday morning, seemed to fuzz out by the evening after being lambasted on facebook, twitter and news channels for being 100% lunatic. Higher cut offs every year can be attributed to the systematic policy issue followed by all DU colleges every year which is worsened by the logic proposed by SRCC for declaring a 100% cut off for B.Com (Hons.). According to uncle Jain’s theory, they want specialists for a specialized course which is why the cut off is this high, but dear principal isn’t the purpose of a specialized course to train and produce specialists instead of giving them admission on the basis their percentage? Also if they follow their ‘systemtic policy’ next year, I wonder how many students will get admission with their cut-offs reaching a 104.23 something percent! But it would be rather juvenile to admonish and out-caste the SRCC for acting pricy, as there are other colleges with a 99% cut-off, which is no cake-walk as well. I mean I started feeling sorry for the old man when he went numb on a talk show after being publically bashed (especially by a 95 percenter)!

The real fault lies in the entire educational system starting from the 10th standard itself. In schools the syllabus has more or less remained unchanged for years now, the question papers for the board exams are apparently made by those who follow the tried and tested methods and have no creativity what so ever and thus can be easily predicted, the system of checking too is flawed and the criteria for giving marks, absurd. Board exams have become a joke as a student with less or no aptitude and great mugging skills can out do a one with some proficiency. The hype that is created around the CBSE board every year is merely to justify the seriousness attached to the highly incompetent and obsolete exams. If they turn it up a notch, the exams would become more competitive making it difficult for students to prance through the 90% bar, bringing down the cut-offs to a reasonable amount.

In reality though, we are far from the ideal. The cut-offs invariably increase every year with the most acclaimed colleges leading the way. This rat race has created ‘brands’ out of educational institutions and the bigger the brand the higher the cut-off! The more unattainable they are, the more desirable they become, thus even the chai-wala of SRCC shall be envied by a non-SRCC DU student. This not only creates brands out of colleges but also breeds out of students. So an SRCC dropout would also gloat at his/her achievement despite the homogeneity in syllabus, teachers and exam patterns.

Just look at the dismal state of students in the country today. With 33% of the seats reserved for SC, ST and OBC the preposterous cut-offs (and not just of SRCC) are making the students who by the way should be jumping with joy to score anything above a 90, dread being a step away from getting admission (instead of nearer). But it isn’t only the CBSE students who apply to DU. Students belonging to other boards like the Haryana Board and the ICSE board can never score a 100% owing to the checking patterns, moving them a step behind the CBSE students. The same goes for those who did not opt for commerce in their 11th standard. There is only one student in the entire list of the science stream who managed to get a 100%. Thus you might not only not get into a college of your choice, but also the stream of your choice this year.

It is mere hypocrisy on the government’s part to talk about brain-drain when they themselves force students to go abroad to study and condemn the increasing rate of illiteracy when each year they create further limitations and bars in the name of higher cut-offs. The only good coming out of this somber situation is that if nothing else people will finally start with family planning, getting tensed after seeing the 100% cut-offs!

Himanshi Chaudhary