I was just going to step into the campus. “Do you study here?” I heard someone call out to me. The voice carried anxiety. The lady said her daughter had applied to the prestigious Delhi University college we were standing in front of. A few seconds later a frail looking girl stepped out of the shadows. After about half an hour of chatting with the two of them, I gathered these facts: the girl had aced her class 12 tests after gruelling 14-hour days for a whole year and losing more than 25 kg in the effort! Her only aim: gaining admission into the ‘best’ college.
Until then I had thought that such students were focused and knew what they wanted from life. But that girl made me realise that she had worked hard only to secure admission in a college that is deemed to be prestigious, with no idea about the exact course of study she could find fulfilling. This brought my attention to perhaps another less-talked-of flaw in our education system.
By giving some colleges a kind of brand value, we are exerting enormous pressure on our students. Since I study in one of the widely acclaimed colleges, I agree that there are certain facilities that may put us in a privileged position. But my objection is to how education has become something to be flaunted.
It is almost indisputable that education, in the right sense, gives us humility. It is ironic that students from the ‘best’ colleges are arrogant. This creates invisible barriers in the student community.
Once, in a debate competition a student from a less-sought-after DU college remarked that on the judges’ score sheet his college would start from a minus five whereas I would start from a plus five, thanks to the name of my college. Whether that was true or not, the fact is that a sort of segregation exists at least in our minds.
There are so many problems plaguing our education system which need immediate attention. In the beginning of a new academic year we have got to realise that we could do without creating more problems by fuelling our egos and nurturing false notions.
Published in: The Indian Express
Published on: 27 July, 2006