Admission Season

The Evergreen Couple: Cut-offs and CBSE

Delhi University (DU) has for a long time stuck to its cut-off admission system for a long time now. The 100% cutoffs of DU are infamous around the nation, but is it fair to blame DU alone for such high cut-offs? The simple answer is, not really. Read on to find out.

There used to be a time when a mere 75% marks were considered to be a reason for joy for not just the students but the whole community. Sweets were distributed and everyone congratulated the student on a ‘great’ performance. 

However, fast forward to this year, any child who gets somewhere around even 80% is provided with nothing but sympathy. The story wasn’t much different in the preceding half-a-decade. This has led to the ridiculously high cut-offs in our university and thus has made it impossible for some to even think about getting a DU college let alone a campus college. 

‘High’ on Marks

Our parents and the society at large have been very eminent on the fact that better marks mean better future. This obsession with numbers led to the culture of ‘lenient marking’. Whenever we as students faced difficult question papers, many parents, as well as schools, demand leniency in the marking. This leniency results in the blind allocation of marks just to up the score a bit. 

Such leniency results in sky-high scores and corresponding cutoffs. Just two to three years back, students in state and ICSE boards were at a ‘disadvantage’ when it came to scoring higher marks, even though these boards were able to ensure better education in several subjects. However, as children started migrating to CBSE just so they could get better marks, these boards also changed their marking scheme to be more marks oriented. 

The Vicious Cycle

Such leniency in marks results in nearly perfect scores in subjects like English and Psychology, whom at some point in history were thought to always have ‘an endless scope of improvement and creativity’.  

Don’t get me wrong here, students including me have invested countless hours in the preparations for these examinations and the ones who score so well have a lot of talent and potential by their side. But that is where the problems are, our whole class 12th session is just focused on getting better marks and not creating a better education environment. I’m pretty sure you must have heard about the ‘tips and tricks’ to score better in the boards or the saying ‘getting marks in boards is an art’. In short, we mostly don’t study in our final year of school but instead train to get as many marks as possible. 

All of this results in high marks and thus we are somewhere assured that we’ll get a ‘good’ college. However, after all the news reports stating that ‘the cutoffs will be lower this year’, the cutoffs just break another record and soar even higher. Then kicks in the stress and so does depression in many cases. As even 92% marks is not an assurance that you may get a college of your choice.

It has thus transformed into a vicious cycle, focus on marks makes the students work madly to get more marks, this results in more marks-oriented teaching and CBSE then has to be more or less lenient with all the papers as some section of the students always finds it difficult. Such leniency leads to nearly perfect marks which ultimately results in sky-high cutoffs as the varsity has to ensure ‘quality’ of pupils, aap chronology samajhiye (understand the chronology here).

Conundrum called Cutoff 

The University actually can break from this vicious cycle. A comprehensive entrance test is the need of the hour. As right now the students are just selected on mostly their ability to mug up theories, as still CBSE exams rely heavily on objective rather subjective questions. DUET or Delhi University Entrance Examination does happen but is limited to some courses as of now. ECA or Extra-Curricular Activities was another area that let students showcase their talent but the pandemic has resulted in the curbing of that as well.

Students along with the whole higher education system need a new direction wherein the personality, creativity, rationality, objectivity and leadership ability not just marks, decide the future of a student. As such in the race to get more marks, we forget to nurture our creativity and therefore our universities also falter when it comes to quality research work as we students just have been taught to follow the herd most of their lives.  

Featured Image Credits: Indian Express

Aniket Singh Chauhan