Monday, July 4, 2016

What is a good enough percentage to get into college?

Courtesy Hindustan Times.

Pallavi. 50%. Wants to be a doctor. Refuses to do a B.A. 10 lakh donation needed to get into a medical college. Parents want her to get married off!

Seher. 92%. Wants to do Business Studies. Not got in to the first cut off list. Didn’t do well in the interview round. 7 lakh donation needed to get into college of choice. Middle class parents don’t know how to get that kind of money!

Akash. 85%. Wants to study History. Arts cut off is 87% first list. The college of choice is full. Parents need to find another college out of the city they’re living in.

Syed. 73%. Wants to do medicine. Can get through quota in certain colleges. Still needs to pay a donation.

How much does a pupil need to study in India to get into the college of his choice without paying any money?

College Admissions is every parent and student’s nightmare! The second list for most colleges is out on Wednesday 29th June. For most students their fates are sealed. Some are still hopeful for a third list and some are already getting lectures from their parents for not doing well enough.

The cut off percentage list for admission as per Times of India 28th June 28, 2016 was 82% for Arts and 87% for Science in only one college. The rest of the cut offs were higher than 90%. How much do students need to study to get into a college? Is out system so flawed that a teenager’s life is defined by studies? It is a number, a percentage and an admission that can make a parent happy. And even if he or she gets that number they might not even get admission because the education racket is corrupted with donations sky rocketing every year.

When I was giving my 12th board exams, I studied every day only to receive approximately 75%. And thankfully I got into the college of my choice without giving any donations. But then again I didn’t want to do business studies or medicine and was happy with English Honours.

Today’s teenager is struggling with studies, pressure and distractions. To be extremely focussed and get marks above 85-90% when the competition and syllabus is so tough is an achievement. And as parents, a society and system we should be praising them for their hard work and effort.  Except that we berate them for not doing well enough. They still need to get into a college.

So if a teenager gets low marks they have two options. 1) To give the 12th board exams again and hope for a higher percentage that will allow them to pursue what they like. 2) Pay the donation and acquire your seat.

But most parents are scared that even after coughing up lakhs, will their child stick to the subject and find employment later?

The system is letting the students down. Many of them have got high percentages and don’t have the money for donations. They believed that by studying and doing your best, you can follow your dreams. But they are not able to get into the courses they want even in the second cut off list. 

Somewhere all students are learning to make a compromise, either with their education choice or their college. So most of them are becoming jaded and uninterested even before they begin the next phase of their lives.

If donations are the only way to go then most rich students give up even before they take the exams. They know they’ll get in any way. And colleges are reflecting a pattern of rich average students and extremely intelligent middle class ones.

The pressure builds up from class 8 itself. Most boards complete the 8th and 9th standard syllabus in one year while still doing a sports and annual day. This puts tremendous pressure on a young hormone filled 13-14 year old teenager who begins to rebel against the education system and parents who put pressure for marks. By 9th grade schools are teaching the 10th board syllabus and if the student has not picked up the 8th and 9th grade syllabus he would be lagging behind. And in 10th grade the schools revise the entire syllabus that will be coming for the board exams.

Why is the education system relying so heavily on marks? Arts students need to get 95% to get into prestigious colleges. And science streams are looking at a full 100%. Coaching institutes are thriving. 
And childhood has died.

Parents don’t encourage sports or music anymore unless the child is brilliant at it and can get in to college through that quota. And every parent is working, saving and struggling to keep their child happy if the donation is needed. As a parent, we lose touch with reality because of the competition. We stop seeing our children for who they are – intelligent, bright, talented individuals who can be defined by more than just a number.

Unfortunately when the system only depends on marks, all a student can do is work hard and pray for good luck. And maybe accept that whatever happens will be for the best and that their destiny will lead them to the correct path where there will be a pot of gold.

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