The Indian Education system has constantly been receiving brickbats and critical commentary. While the bureaucrats and apparent educationists of our society defend our Education System with zest and make reassuring statements about how they will do ‘everything in their power to secure our futures’, the recent facts which have been emerging are honestly appalling. Although the point I am trying to make manifests itself at several levels, courses and universities of our country, I am specifically interested in highlighting the fallacies and more appropriately, the sheer injustice which can clearly be seen if one probes deeper into the case of the students who have appeared for the JEE exam in 2014 and aspire to be engineers.
I am aware that what I am about to write will probably make me sound biased and prejudiced, and may attract a lot of negative feedback from certain students, but I’ll put it very simply: No matter what you do, facts will remain facts. I shall make my intention very clear in the very beginning. I am writing this not as an article to merely sympathize with the CBSE students who are suffering because of ambiguous admission processes, but also to urge other students to understand the unnecessary complexities prevailing in our system and raise their voices, because we are in dire need of change. The JEE Mains Examination this year was held in the month of April, and students had the option of either appearing for it online or giving the written test. According to the admission guidelines, it was mentioned with resolute clarity on 4th March that fifty percent of the JEE marks and fifty percent of the Board marks will be taken into account while admitting students into various engineering colleges around the country. As it turns out, this initial proclamation has conveniently be altered to change ‘percentage’ into ‘percentile’, which doesn’t sound like a very major difference, but the repercussions have been enormous. This abrupt change from percentage to percentile was declared on 24th June. While percentage scores deals with the marks (out of an aggregated 100) that a student has secured in the examination, the percentile score indicates a student’s position relative to the other candidates who appeared for the examination. If my percentage is 98, my percentile can either be lower or higher – depending on the number of people I have outdone.
For most CBSE Class XII students, the differences in their percentage and percentile was hardly two percent. A student scoring 85% had a percentile score of 83. The strange thing which happened then is that all Maharashtra State Board students, who secured marks as low as 62-63%, were given a percentile of 86! This is pragmatically improbable because the State Board results have been glamorous, perhaps not as much as the CBSE results, but they most definitely haven’t been low enough to boost a student’s percentile so massively! I am nobody to pass subjective judgements, but anybody with a sound sense of rationality will get the drill here: There’s something unquestionably fishy. No, I am not anti-State Board students. But I am looking at this scenario from an unbiased point of view. This does not even affect me personally; I have studied Commerce and am now moving on to obtain my English Honours degree from LSR, New Delhi. But I feel for the student community who has to suffer unnecessarily and I am not in any corporate position to make decisions or pass judgements, but at least I can write and show my support.
PILs are being filed and students are drowned in incessant worry and agitation. While someday these young stars were hoping to make their country, school and families proud, all they can today is sit behind their computer and television screens hoping that the court passes a judgement in their favour. Is it fair that the future of so many students be thrown into angst and sheer jeopardy just because our admission committees cannot function effectively? Do students deserve to be subjected to this unfair admission process after years of single-minded focus and hard work? I think not, and we must stand up for them – because if we don’t, no one will. We aren’t asking for multimillion rupee scholarships here, we aren’t asking for new IITs and IIMs; All we are saying is be fair and give us what we truly deserve.
(Article idea inspired by Viraj Tambe)