The Indian education system continues its attempt to manufacture robots.

After the crazy amount of exam tension during the months of March and April, sunny May brought a brief respite to the students in the form of summer vacations. But May is over now and June is basically the month of results. It has not been very long since the results were declared and the students have scored higher than ever. However, good or even great grades can no longer ensure a place in the college of your choice. The Indian education system’s admission procedure is not any less of a pressure test than the boards themselves.

The long and cumbersome admission process has begun. Every single person, right from parents, friends, teachers, long-lost relatives to even your regular grocer, has an opinion on which course you should pursue. At the junior college level, the options are still limited, either pick science or commerce because no one encourages arts students. But for the HSC pass-outs, it is a tricky twisting path. It is understood that most of this free advice stems from concern but this incomplete information sourced from small-talk does nothing more than pressurise the student further. The heartbreaking thing here is that no one bothers asking the student what he or she actually wants to do.

God bless those poor souls who dare to attempt to secure a seat in any of the top colleges under general quota.

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The situation does not get any easier once the student makes the choice. Regardless of the stream he/she picks, getting into a good college is an impossible task. Step one is to score well. Step two is to accept that these grades that the student has worked so hard for, mean nothing. Step three is when the form-filling and submission begins and this is where the actual stress starts building up. If the student belongs to a quota based on religion, caste or the mother-tongue, his/her life is a lot easier.

God bless those poor souls who dare to attempt to secure a seat in any of the top colleges under the general quota. It almost never works out unless you are already a college/school topper and even then your chances are pretty bleak. In colleges like St. Xaviers and Ruia, the cut-off list ends at 90% for BA and most arts students barely even score in the 80s. So unless you belong to a certain community with quotas, being a genius is of no use in the Indian education system.

The pursuit of education has been reduced to a mere way of making more money.

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Even barring the reservation and quotas, the admission process is so messed up. The students have to fill up the applications online, upload photographs and certificates, and then get printouts of all that, go to individual colleges and submit those. In the three stages of the admission process with three different lists, the students have to buy the prospectus and the brochure of every college they get into. Two of the three prospectuses bought won’t even be of any use once the next list is out.

These educational institutions first demand money for application forms, brochures and prospectuses. Still not satiated, they then demand lakhs of rupees for donation. Donation is nothing more than a legal cover for bribery and parents have to cough up such an exorbitant amount of money in exchange for a single seat. The parents who can’t afford this ‘donation’ have to give up on dreams of a good education for their children. The noble pursuit of education has been reduced to a mere money-making business

Amidst all this pressure and uncertainty, the students get more and more stressed and in some cases even depressed. Forget about fulfilling dreams, this entire process takes a toll on the self-esteem of students. At such times, parenting plays an important role. Parents can prove to be the best support systems or the best tormentors. With words of encouragement and the freedom to choose their own careers, they have the superpower to make this gruesome process a lot smoother. After all, it is parents who teach their children to dream and it is parents who can help them achieve these dreams.

 



Author: Maitreyee Mhatre

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