The high cut off marks of the University of Delhi has once again become a key discussion across the country, both in the news and within households. With each passing year, as more and more students pass out their 12th board examinations with the hopes of getting admitted to Delhi University, they are forced to encounter skyrocketing percentages which not only induce anxiety but also reflect the deep-rooted societal divisions when it comes to privilege in the education sector. This year too like earlier, the first cut-off list announced on the 10th of October sparked debate and discussion across several platforms. These cut-off rates which went on to reach the 100% ceiling this year, depict the absence in the democratization of resources.
Lady Shri Ram College for Women, which is considered to be one of the most recognized colleges of the University has set its cut-offs at 100% for three subjects, Political Science, Economics, and Sociology this year. Along with LSR, one can observe the increase in cut-off across the most sought-after colleges such as Hindu, Miranda House, and Shri Ram College for Commerce among others. Aspirants of Delhi University, and as well as present students and alumni have referred to such high cut-offs as an absurdity. However, while much goes into discussing these skyrocketing cut-offs as a ludicrous act of the University, what often remains distant or fades away from the limelight of discussion is the underlying unfairness of this entire process. Despite these high requisites, every year, more than 20 thousand students take admission in the university in the first cut off itself, a number which seems to keep increasing as the years go by. This indicates that a large number of students attain the requisite marks for admission. In the results of the Central Board of Secondary Education-conducted exams, this year 1,57,934 students scored over 90% marks, while 38,686 got more than 95% marks and as many as 5,500 students who applied in the university have a 100% aggregate. These high scores that remain a dream for many, generally the aspirants of the University of Delhi, raise the imperative question of the discrepancy in the evaluation process of the Class 12 marks across different educational boards and thus the consequent problem of equal access to education.
It is a well-known fact that a large section of the students that seek admission to the University of Delhi, come largely from CBSE Schools. In recent years, it has been observed that the different state-based education boards have also begun to give high marks to its students, more often than not, to be able to confer upon them the ability to compete amongst the skyrocketing marks that students in CBSE score. However, what remains a question is that, do these marks reflect the understanding and knowledge of the students. Moreover, an immediate problem is the inconsistency of the evaluation system across different states that restrains students from playing in a level field. While there are many universities coming up in the country, a large number of them are inaccessible to the students from middle and lower middle-class families because of the financial restrictions. In such a situation a considerable number of students who are attracted to Delhi due to its academic and physical infrastructure, extra-curricular activities, and scholarships; the opportunity to interact with a diverse student population; and eventually access better job opportunities choose to pursue their education in Delhi University. These students come from several states across the country, from the northeastern states to that of Rajasthan, Bihar, and even Tamil Nadu in the south. Therefore, it is essential that all students are given a fair chance in the admission procedure of the college or university of their choice in terms of marks. In addition to upgrading the evaluation process, there is also the requirement for increasing investments in the public education system of the country, not only in the national capital but across all states keeping in mind the demography of our country.
- Anandita Pathak, a volunteer at EdJustice People's Campaign. She is a third-year student at Delhi University pursuing History honors.