Admission process for India’s frightening college has started on 29 May 2017, stressing all those who scored less than 95% that “Life is a race and you’re far behind in this race”. The Ace University in the national capital of India, Delhi, Delhi University (DU) has asked to those who scored more than 95% to wait for special orientation classes. And the rest who attained less than 95% were told by the lecturers and counselors that why it is important to look somewhere else if your marks are below 95%, something no student wants to hear.
Students are told again and again about the importance of high cut-off marks, base grade or fill forms for all the courses. Many of the students have left their hopes for admission already as they knew their marks are not enough for this so called Top-class University. A counselor screamed, “Fill, fill, fill up the forms for all courses, you do not know what you will eventually get. Whatever comes is a bonus.” Preeti Singh, daughter of a farmer and a student from Delhi Public School, scored a little less than 89 percent said, “I want to be an economist, know the marks will lead me nowhere. But I still came, hoping some colleges would have lowered the bar this year.” In the college she wants to pursue her further studies is one of India’s high-status, Shri Ram College of Commerce (SRCC), which had 100 percent as cut-offs in the first list last year for honours courses in commerce and humanities and closed the list in the first shot unlike other colleges that had the second round for admissions and even a third round sometimes.
There are chances unluckily that the campus colleges will have high cut-offs this year for all the courses as the number of students across India who scored 95% and above in the CBSE Class XII has increased to gigantic 8 percent. The SRCC’s officiating principal RP Rastogi said, “The cut-off marks will increase, we get applications from all over the country.” The principal of SGTB Khalsa College Jaswinder Singh said, “There will be no let down this year, it will be exactly like last year, perhaps a little worse.” This time the students of Delhi will also face a stiff competition as the number of students who scored above 95% has gone down to 2,326 from last year’s 2,927. On the other hand, the number of students scoring above 95% has gone up by 740 this year. The DU has more than 56,000 seats in the various undergraduate courses this year, which are also 2,000 more than the last year. However, the applicants are more than four times of the seat quantity. According to the estimation, approximately 350,000 students will apply for the seats this year.
The interesting thing is 85% of the applications received by the Delhi University are from CBSE students. The principal of Bluebells School in Delhi Suman Kumar said, “It’s a pity that the students have to suffer so much and it’s high time the CBSE rethinks evaluation norms, and students must look for alternate options, pursue second or third choices and not get frustrated. But it’s easier said than done.” She also said that as a principal, she’s also the part of this terrifying process and knows what students go through a system that’s not taking the name of changing. Another student Preeti Singh says that the doors to the big university are closed for her from the very first day and she has no other option than taking admission into a private college where the fees range between Rs 3,50,000 to 4,50,000 for an undergraduate course. “My parents, who almost bled for more than a decade to educate me, will now have to pledge family jewelry or insurance certificates to take a loan to get me into a private college,” she confessed.
The loan book on India’s education stands currently at Rs 15,000 crore, and it’s most likely to cross Rs 17,000 crore this year, which is going to witness a big increase when many of parents would seek cash for further studies for their children in various private colleges. The India’s largest Bank, State Bank of India (SBI), has a 23% loan share in the education loan market. For domestic colleges, the average size of education loan is Rs 4,00,000 whereas, in overseas education, it goes between Rs 50-60 lakh. The educators in India say the students study under a constant state of anxiety, unable to concentrate, study, remember, sleep or eat because they feel guilty that their parents have spent so much money on them and have huge expectations as well. A seasoned counselor who has the experience of dealing with the similar situations, Swati Sodhi said, “Parents often impose their own unfulfilled ambitions on their children. We are not talking about 95 percent plus here, we are talking about parents pushing their children to 98 to 99 percent so that they get the right course.”
“Everyone says it’s unfortunate, but proudly displays their big numbers on the Facebook and WhatsApp groups. Marks of children are a great pride for parents in India. It appears racist, those with big marks are segregated, like the rich, and the rest, like poor, huddled together,” she added. Due to parent’s unrealistic ambitions, poor teaching quality in schools and highly competitive race for marks in the Indian Education system, many of the studies has shown that the Indian students are on edge all the time. An engineer turned filmmaker Saurabh Kumar said, “In India, students’ aspirations are total, totally, misaligned with the country’s job markets and yet you have a Rs 28,00o crore test-preparatory market flourishing, especially in cities like Kota. Isn’t it sheer nonsense for 1.5 million to take an entrance for medical and engineering colleges when only 10,000 will get through?” Kumar also said that it has become a pressure in India that increases because of the parent’s message to their children in their school that Comes first or left behind. “Every year, students read in magazines about top colleges, wish there was a list of alternate courses, even worst colleges. But who will bell the cat, the market is big and rich?” Kumar added.
According to the studies by MM Advisory services, an estimated 300,000 Indian students go abroad for higher studies and one-third of them promise homes to raise cash. This number is increasing 15-20 percent every year. The veteran journalist Arindam Mukherjee who has been seeking educational trends in the country since two decades said that the admission process remains fully complicated and the top colleges have no seats available whereas most of the private colleges charge high fees but lack quality faculty. She gave a perfect example through comparing two colleges, the JIPMER medical college in Puducherry, which is also considered among the best in India is charging Rs 20,000 per annum for a five-year MBBS course and on the other hand, the Amrita School of Medicine in Kochi charges Rs 35,00,000 for the same course. “So, the 95 percent plus marks becomes very, very important. It’s your perfect stepping stone to get into the good colleges which will charge low fees, else you burn cash on private colleges, says Mukherjee.
The famous, controversial, author and columnist Shobhaa De said that she feels the same about this nightmarish process around this time every year. She is also writing an article, why the Indian education system in India needs a drastic change, especially the admission process. “I, for some strange reasons, continue to get nightmares around the time when admissions take place. What kind of marks are these? Can a college realistically have a 100 percent cut off the mark?” Questions De.