The New Education Policy and High Cut Offs... Where are we headed?


The University of Delhi needs no introduction. It is India’s premier university, the brain and intellect house of the nation. Not only does it cater to the country’s most meritorious students, it also attracts India’s greatest brains and eminent scholars to its faculty. In the India of 21st Century, there isn’t a single field or Industry where the ‘DU’ students have not excelled and proved their worth. Hence, be it Political top-guns like PM Narendra Modi, Arun Jaitley and Rahul Gandhi, Bollywood’s face and pride- artists like Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan and Anurag Kashyap, well known journalists like Barkha Dutt and Arnab Goswami, or Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi, they all have one thing in common- all of them are ex-Delhi University students.

The University of Delhi, which now boasts of two sprawling campuses, 14 faculties, 86 academic departments and 79 colleges spread all over Delhi, with 132,435 regular students and 261,169 students in non-formal education programmes, had modest beginnings. At a time when there were only three colleges in Delhi, namely, St. Stephen’s College, Hindu College and Ramjas College, the University of Delhi was founded in 1922. Hence, the University of Delhi started with three colleges, two faculties (Arts and Science) and about 750 students.

The story of the University of Delhi is a fascinating one. From 3 to 77 colleges, from 2 to 14 faculties from 750 to almost 5 lakh students, the University of Delhi has surely come a very long way. It has redefined and uplifted the standards of ‘Quality Education for All’, time and again. It has not only fulfilled the dreams of millions of students, but has also given a million others a hope that their dreams can be fulfilled. It has provided this country with many a heroes, all of whom have made India proud. It would not be wrong to say that the University of Delhi is currently the biggest and the best university of India. Not that I am over-praising the University, it has truly earned it.

Every year, thousands of Delhi University aspirants come to the national capital, in a hope to get admission in the prestigious university. Only a few succeed, though.  The Outstation Students  data say that there are maximum takers from Bihar , Haryana , Rajasthan , Kerala and UP and the least takers from the North Eastern states. University of Delhi undoubtedly has the best faculty and resources to enhance its intellectual property but it lacks in infrastructure. Something as essential as hostels for students are insufficient in number to house the outstation students. The safety of N.E students is another big challenge.

Each year, soon after the various national and state boards start declaring the results for 12th class students, thousands of outstation students, alongwith their guardians, start pouring in the national capital. Aspirants from every nook and corner of India come to Delhi with a hope to get into DU. Despite the recent sky - high admission cutoffs and a perennial shortage of accommodation facilities for the outstation students, it's a surprising fact that the number of admission applications received from the students not belonging to Delhi, rises by 7 to 9% every year. Not just that, the figures of those outstation students who get an admission in the university have also shown a consistent increase in the recent years.

According to the data available with DU’s Foreign Student Registration Office (FSRO), 1,007 foreign students had enrolled in various courses in the 2012-13 session, the number went up to 1,184 in 2014-15. In 2011-12, 952 foreign students had enrolled in DU. The number of women students increased to 546 in the last academic session from 492. The number of women students in 2011-12 was 434.These figures are a clear indicator that the University of Delhi is the most desired university amongst students. Also, it indicates that despite perceptions about Delhi being unsafe for women, many consider it a safe destination for pursuing higher education.

But the real problem that the university faces every year is that of accommodation. Because of the acute shortage of hostels in the university, many students are forced to rent a flat or a PG near their colleges. The high rent-rates of these PGs and flats burns a hole in the pockets of the students' guardians, to say the least. Because of the costly accommodation options, many students are not able to afford studying in the Delhi University. Ofcourse, there are many student related issues that the University needs to deal with.

As the Narendra Modi government finishes one year in office education has remained its pièce de résistance as well as foible. The one year of Modi government has considerably reshaped India’s  existing system of education and learning. Narendra Modi’s  pet project “Make In India” has pioneered a new chapter in learning as “Make IN India” is set to boost higher learning in near future. On other hand it has landed itself in trouble over alleged saffronisation of the education system.

The government is ardent about education but the question remains Is Our Education System Creating Well Trained Photocopying Robots? The Modi Sarkar has wiped off UPA's plan to allow foreign universities to set up campuses in India. But the government is now keen to resuscitate this bill which allows foreign universities to set up institutions in India and boost the pet project “Make & Innovate” in India. Overseas universities beside with superior quality indigenous institutions will hypnotize students and stimulate India as a fulcrum for standard quality education and consequently intensify India's export of educational services adding to the triumph of contemporary education policy of the industrious Modi government.

The governments focus on HRD budget is reasonable and perceptible and one must welcome the initiative. What incapacitate Is the politicization of the education system at rulers fancy and whims. President Pranab Mukherjee's address to a joint session of parliament  signalled that HRD  will be a primacy over the next five years tenure.

Mahatma Gandhi wanted an education system which upheld the age old cultural values of the country. If western teaching is imputed for headway, peace and prosperity, Gandhian bequest and thought were not celebrated properly by those in power they simply politicised it for the own vested interest. The people who enjoyed power were so fascinated by the western education that even after they acquired sovereignty they did not feel the need to change the colonial ornamentation for education.

They believed that western education was the only available option to transform a ‘backward and illiterate’ India into a modern and progressive nation which is not less than imagery and motivated. “Indianisation of teaching  is often neutralised with insinuation of ‘saffronisation’, even without understanding the complacent and conformation of such edification.

Government proposes to formulate a new Education Policy aimed at meeting the challenges posed by lack of quality, research and innovation in educational institution. It seeks to address some key aspects like, making education affordable for all, making education free for girls, flexible education which serves a student’s need, need of holistic education which ensures literacy, life skills and employability, strengthen higher education, develop world class skilled-workforce, abundance of fund for educational schemes and policies.

The foreword of all NCERT book carries the objectives of the much hyped National Curriculum Framework, 2005. “(the NCF) recommends that children’s life at school must be linked to their life outside school. The principle marks a departure from the legacy of bookish learning which continues to shape our system and causes a gap between the school, home and community. The syllabi and textbook.. attempt to discourage rote learning and the maintenance of sharp boundaries between subject areas”.

Regardless of whatever the NCF states, our education system forces us to rote learn right from primary classes – learn the tables by heart, learn the poems by heart – and the amount of rote learning required keeps on increasing as we move up. From short poems to descriptive answers, from dates to confusing formulas. Our education system talks of moving away from rote and bookish learning on paper but what has it really achieved? A student enters class 11th-12th and is burdened with the expectations of getting marks. Had our education system achieved what it preaches on paper, we would have changed this ‘marks-centric’ mindset.

We are in the 67th year of independence and we must ask ourselves- Are our schools making robots or citizens who’ll shape the future of our nation? Why is that a student’s ‘secured future’is associated with the marks they score in boards? Isn’t it only a reflection of how much they were able to ‘retain’ on only those 5 examination days? We also must acknowledge the fact that both the system and the society’s mindset needs to be blamed for the ‘robots’ we are making out of our students. Parents must realize that it’s not all about marks and getting degrees.

Our relatives need to realize that the ‘result day’ isn’t the only day you should be remembering us. We need to move beyond the result-centric system and focus on real human resource development. It’s high time we overhaul our fractured education system to achieve this goal. It is time we give more importance to application of knowledge than retention of knowledge and encourage students’ participation in co-curricular activities which opens their mind. Gone are the days of “kheloge koodoge to banoge kharab, padhoge likhoge to banoge nawab”.

It’s certitude that University of Delhi is India’s number one university and has been consistently stationed at the number one rank for many consecutive years. It is nightmare for more than lakhs of students to get a seat in the illustrious University of Delhi but what impede them is the sky high cut-offs. The contemporary challenge to overcome is the sky high cut cut-off’s and clamour for radical changes.

In 2011, when the University of Delhi sky high cut-off percentage reached 100%, the then tensed Jammu & Kashmir(J&K) chief minister Jenab Omar Abdullah tweeted that he is tensed over the sky high cut offs required . "Worry? I'm terrified for my sons because in five years, when Zamir  moves to college, the cut-offs will be even more insane," he tweeted.

"With these kinds of cut-off marks, I'd have been doing a correspondence course because I wouldn't have even gotten a 'pass course' admission," he said. Jenab Omar Abdullah is no longer the chief minister of J&K and his son will be going to a college next year. It’s quite odious that India’s number one University doesn’t even have a uniform system of admission (USA) hence leading to a scads of scepticism and fallacy with account to reckoning of cut-off marks, especially via-a-vis students from other local and state boards. Again in 2015 ,sky high cut-offs kept students away from the illustrious University of Delhi. The sky high cut offs left numerous fresher’s dispirited at not being able to make the college of their choice in the first list of the colleges cut offs. As a result, not many turned up on the first day of admission at illustrious Delhi University.

Surprisingly, The High Court of Delhi recently asked Delhi University (DU) whether the circular regarding calculation of cut-offs was “mandatorily” followed by all colleges. The observations were made by Justice R S Endlaw during hearing on a bunch of petitions filed by students who studied from  Haryana, Punjab, Kerala and Rajasthan and other local / state boards and, as a result, faced a deduction of 10 % in their best-of-four marks at the time of calculating cut-offs. The students some of whom could not get admission in the colleges of their choice and others whose admissions were cancelled  have sought a uniform system of admission which the University of Delhi must come up with from the next academic session.

As the admission  season each year approaches, most of the institution experience a paramount rush. Earlier, there was a whisk only for the science courses, but nowadays all the streams experience equal and prodigious whisk. The rising tally of requisition and applications are the main reason for the sky high cut offs .It assists to control the admissions on other hand mounting high cut off marks can unnerve the median students. The Institute should understand that not every pupil is equally brilliant. It is not reasonable on part of the institution jurisdiction to keep a 100% like sky high cut off marks. Rather than just focusing on the academics, the University should also deport interviews wherein the student can prove his mental and extra-curricular ability level too. The response remains silent to the vital question: Is our System Creating Well Trained Photocopying Robots?

 I leave you with this lovely quote of Newton- “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

What They Said Exclusively to Us….

“Such insanely high cut offs are eminently avoidable, and are a cruel insult to the aspirations of the youth of this country, who deserve better treatment.” Says , Revd. Dr. Valson Thampu , Principal , St. Stephens College, University of Delhi

"Sky high cut offs at DU are symptoms of the disease of the modern education system and it demolishes the level playing field" says Akhilesh Sharma , Senior Journalist

“My take is more or less same..if this is the case then there shall be a separate  college for students who score above 90 why the topper and mediocre be in the same League one is good in one thing may be there are other things the less scorer is good in vocational courses still lag behind” says Aditi Yadav , Senior Journalist and Producer.

"With around 2 lakh students passing out their class XII examinations from Delhi every year and another lakh plus students applying for admission in various undergraduate courses in Delhi colleges , the opportunities for affordable higher education for students in the Capital are getting far less and fewer " says Amitabh Chiranjeev ,Senior Journalist

 “In my opinion it doesn’t do justice to the students .As percentage shoudn’t be the only criteria for admissions in country's best colleges” says Jigyasha Prasad

"The Centre should Intervene in this matter and respect the sentiments of lakhs of aspirants by at-least doubling the seats twice in the colleges they should set up a committee to view the  demand for Increase in UG Seats in DU & Revamp Policy and the recommendations of the committee should be implemented in a time bound manner " says Krishna , DU aspirant.

Written by Himadrish Suwan and Harsh Pratap

Himadrish Suwan is a student at University of Delhi, Columnist, Blogger, Poet, Philanthropist, Activist and the  recipient of the International Association of Educators for World Peace Global Award for Media and Information Activism 2014.

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Indian Exponent: The New Education Policy and High Cut Offs... Where are we headed?
The New Education Policy and High Cut Offs... Where are we headed?
Indian Exponent
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