[Editorial Analysis] 100 percent failure

Mains Paper 2: Education
Prelims level: Not much
Mains level: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Education

Context:

• What can be said about an education system in which a prestigious Delhi University college sets 100 per cent marks as a cut-off for entry to undergraduate courses?

• That it is broken, perhaps irreparably. That it rewards a laughable idea of perfection, rather than intelligence and inquiry.

• That an outdated system of evaluating a student’s “merit” and “ability” has, in a frenzied race to the bottom, run out of relevance and value.

• The Indian education system has long set itself up for such a fall.

Obsession for grades:

• It is an open secret that the majority of the country’s schools fail in nudging children towards inquiry, curiosity or learning.

• The tyranny of marks has long crushed the spirit of many Indian students, but, at least, it had a limited use for higher education institutions in assessing their capacity for a degree.

• As school boards have out-competed each other in an insane “grade inflation” over the years, however, it has made those very grades increasingly meaningless.

• An analysis of CBSE Class XII results revealed, for example, that a 95 percent aggregate in 2017 was 21 times as prevalent as it was in 2004.

• The marking system is dead, long live marks. But the cut-off crisis in DU spotlights more cracks in the edifice.

• The obsession with the elite college itself is a sign of a massive skew and supply gap in Indian education.

• Around 3.5 lakh students applied for 70,000 seats in DU colleges this year, setting thousands of students up for failure and anxiety.

• Beyond these shiny icons of “excellence” scattered in Delhi and some state capitals, lies the vast, un-lit wasteland of higher education, both private and government, which doles out a half-baked learning experience to the majority of Indians.

• For those hobbled by inequalities of caste, gender and class, such bad colleges push them further into a cycle of deprivation.

• The National Education Policy has suggested a common entrance system for university admissions as a way out of this crisis.

• Such a system will also call upon colleges to have the freedom and resources to engage with applications on an individual level — and not just reduce a student to her marksheet.

Conclusion:

• The government must find ways to push school boards to inject a dose of sanity to its marking system.

• But, even so, only a reimagination of education and a greater inclusivity of opportunity can rescue it from the obscenity of the 100 percent cutoff.

• The marking system is dead, long live marks. Delhi University’s cut-off crisis speaks of a broken education system.

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Prelims Questions:

Q.1) With reference to the Supersonic Missile Assisted Release of Torpedo (SMART), consider the following statements:

1. SMART is a missile assisted release of lightweight Anti-Submarine Torpedo System for Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) operations far beyond Torpedo range.

2. It has been successfully flight tested from Wheeler Island off the coast of Odisha.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
(a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) Both 1 and 2
(d) Neither 1 nor 2

Answer: C

Mains Questions:

Q.1) By going 100 per cent marks as a cut-off for entry to undergraduate courses does Higher education sector in India needs reforms? What are the problems? Conclude.

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