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When eliminations masquerade as examinations!

Updated: Jan 25, 2021

India is soon poised to be the most populous country in the world. According to the World Population Prospects Report 2019, India will surpass China in 2027 in terms of population. Further, it is projected by the same report that India will add another 273 million (27 crores!) more people between 2019-2050.

Don’t be misled into thinking that the title and the opening paragraph have no co-relation. The opening paragraph contextualises the entire examination regime of India. It is a typical case of a glaring Demand-Supply mismatch. Population growing in crores and jobs opportunities mostly lakhs, sometimes thousands, in a number of cases hundreds and in a few cases in double or single digits highly skew the opportunity scenario in the country.

The basic conundrum then which the government faces is how to pacify the animal spirits of a raging youth? A youth vying for constructive job and empowerment opportunities in the face of the bleak employment scenario. This is where the examinations come in handy.

Examinations are nothing but a method of elimination. A carefully crafted tool which cloaks the inefficiencies and incompetence of our government. It builds a false narrative of merit taking precedence over every other conceivable consideration. But, it is nothing more than a glorified system of legitimisation of injustice.

The government and the private sector is well aware that they cannot possibly create opportunities for everyone. Perhaps, they want to do that but aren’t able to. But, what they have done successfully is building up a system where marks reign supreme. It’s a mad rush for marks. Marks in 10th, marks in 12th, marks in entrance examinations for graduation, marks in graduation, then marks in competitive examinations, so on and so forth.

The students as well as the parents go on chasing this mirage. The entire energies of Indian families go on not questioning this ridiculous system but on the contrary, trying every possible way to be a part of this unequal and unjust system.

Young children joining coaching institutes en-masse for IIT-JEE or NEET training, or youth turning in hoards for UPSC preparation vindicates the acceptance of both the parents as well as the children to feel the oppression of an unsymmetrical system. No one questions the oppression as long as they can be part of the winners. The irony is that there are a few winners and a large swathe of losers. Losers in a system which is meticulously designed for the same.

Most of you would think that examinations in India serve the utility of promoting merit. It sure does. But, what we don’t contemplate is the merit, these examinations ignore. Consider for instance the people who miss their “cut-offs” by a whisker. Perhaps one silly mistake can put a question mark on the real merit of such unfortunate people.

This whole saga of “marks” and “cut-offs” has been so internalised by our societies that it just appears natural. No one in India makes a free choice, everyone has to select from a set of preordained choices. Perhaps, it’s a sad joke that in India we first become doctors or engineers and then decide what to do with our careers.

A few IIT-ians turning in annual packages in millions or a few hundred making it into the elite of elites through government employment generate such attraction for the system, that life becomes nothing but a chase. A chase for a dream. A few dreams do come true which further strengthen this mad rush. But the sad part is that there are a million broken hearts, a million broken dreams.

According to NCRB 2015 data 1 student commits suicide every hour in our country. 8934 suicides per year. This is the real achievement of our education system. A system which harasses, takes away dignity and ultimately kills.

So next time we romanticise a successful endeavour of a fortunate one, we must have a true understanding of the dark side of the promised heaven too.

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