What do you do when a joke turns into reality. You get confused. When a friend scores highly in an exam, we tease him or her by saying you can only get a 100%. What will you do after that? . This is a problem now. 100% is no longer a joke. One of India’s famous colleges Sri Ram College of Commerce wants students coming from a non-commerce stream to have 100% marks to be eligible for a BCom course. This prompted the education minister Kapil Sibal(St. Stephens’, Harvard) to say how he would not have got admission in any good Indian college today. Lets not all start blaming SRCC. They are not the first.
The IITs have for a long time made a 6 hour entrance examination the universe-shaking moment for most of the under-20 youth in India. We Indians don’t want to studyÂ engineering. We only want to go to an IIT. Colleges like SRCC are equivalent to IITs and IIMs, so it shouldn’t be surprising that they also felt the need for something equally irrational.
In his famous TED talk in 2007, Sir Ken Robinson talked about academic inflation - how something that needed a masters degree at a time, now needs a PhD and something that needed a PhD now needs a double PhD. Sir Ken also says that the entire public education system is a protracted process of university entrance. I will like to add job entrance to that. When I was in middle school, there was so much talk of learning and understanding. They were the end-goals. Today, even if we learn and understand,Â it is not for the thrill of learning but for the task of scoring high in the next examination.
As the SRCC story played across the media, a huge number of Indian parents must have shaken their head in despair that their child is only getting a 96%. Darwin would be elated.