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The curious case of DU cutoffs

india Updated: Jun 23, 2011 13:40 IST
Rahul Roushan

News reports say you must have got “at least” 100% marks to get admission in SRCC (Sri Ram College of Commerce) of Delhi University. Well, technically it’s only for those who are changing their stream from Science to Commerce, but still, 100% as cutoff!? What next? 100% marks plus at least “excellent” in character certificate? Or is CBSE also going to award grades and marks for “subjects” like Handwriting, Cleanliness, Attendance, et al as they do in some schools?

While we don’t know what would happen in the future, we can surely take some time to look at what happened in the past that led us to this current situation where even 100% marks is not enough. In fact, the rate at which the cutoff limits have increased can only be matched to an extent by the rate of inflation, especially rise in petrol prices, and number of Twenty20 matches.

Guess they should add a chapter on correlation between inflation and DU cutoffs in the B.Com honors at SRCC and come up with some conclusions. Based on my little knowledge I have learned that inflation, especially rise is petrol prices, takes place due to the market forces of supply & demand and government control.

If we compare petrol and marks, there is no doubt that demand for marks (above 99%) is really high; but that makes “marks” a commodity like “petrol”, leading us to ask the question – what is the “price” equivalent for marks i.e. what is one “paying” to get those high marks? Ideally it should be “hard work” that should be increasing. No comments on that (but comments invited).

But I do propose further study to compare marks and petrol because there is another similarity – government control. Clearly the supply of marks was “highly regulated” and “controlled” in yesteryears. Boards, especially state boards, were not too happy doling out marks through public distribution systems like schools and exams. Our parents would just be happy to “pass” an examination and getting a “distinction” – which meant above 70% marks in a subject – was a matter of pride.

Today we are in the post-liberalization era. CBSE and other state boards have become quite “liberal” now in allotting marks. State control has decreased. In fact, Congress can take credit for these high marks as they take pride in Manmohan Singh starting the era of liberalization in India. They should show DU cutoffs in Bharat Navnirman ads on television news channels.

If marks are compared with Twenty20 matches, this parallel is also interesting. Number of Twenty20 matches is increasing as people believe it’s a batsman’s game and there is glamour and money involved in it.

Getting above 99% is surely glamorous, though I’m still looking for who are the cheerleaders here (comments invited). And are exams becoming a student’s game (more comments invited)?

(Rahul Roushan aka Pagal Patrakar is the editor of the leading Indian news satire website Faking News. You can connect with him on Twitter and on Facebook)

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