THE GIST of Editorial for UPSC Exams : 15 October 2020 100 per cent failure (Indian Express)

100 per cent failure (Indian Express)

Mains Paper 2: Education 
Prelims level: Not much 
Mains level: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Education


  • What can be said about an education system in which a prestigious Delhi University college sets 100 per cent marks as a cut-off for entry to undergraduate courses?
  • That it is broken, perhaps irreparably. That it rewards a laughable idea of perfection, rather than intelligence and inquiry.
  • That an outdated system of evaluating a student’s “merit” and “ability” has, in a frenziedrace to the bottom, run out of relevance and value.
  • The Indian education system has long set itself up for such a fall.

 Obsession for grades:

  • It is an open secret that the majority of the country’s schools fail in nudging children towards inquiry, curiosity or learning.
  • The tyrannyof marks has long crushed the spirit of many Indian students, but, at least, it had a limited use for higher education institutions in assessing their capacity for a degree.
  • As school boards have out-competed each other in an insane “grade inflation” over the years, however, it has made those very grades increasingly meaningless.
  • An analysis of CBSE Class XII results revealed, for example, that a 95 per cent aggregate in 2017 was 21 times as prevalent as it was in 2004.
  • The marking system is dead, long live marks. But the cut-off crisis in DU spotlights more cracks in the edifice.
  • The obsession with the elite college itself is a sign of a massive skew and supply gap in Indian education.
  • Around 3.5 lakh students applied for 70,000 seats in DU colleges this year, setting thousands of students up for failure and anxiety.
  • Beyond these shiny icons of “excellence” scattered in Delhi and some state capitals, lies the vast, un-lit wasteland of higher education, both private and government, which doles out a half-baked learning experience to the majority of Indians.
  • For those hobbled by inequalities of caste, gender and class, such bad colleges push them further into a cycle of deprivation.
  • The National Education Policy has suggested a common entrance system for university admissions as a way out of this crisis.
  • Such a system will also call upon colleges to have the freedom and resources to engage with applications on an individual level — and not just reduce a student to her marksheet.


  • The government must find ways to push school boards to inject a dose of sanity to its marking system.
  • But, even so, only a reimagination of education and a greater inclusivity of opportunity can rescue it from the obscenityof the 100 per cent cutoff.
  • The marking system is dead, long live marks. Delhi University’s cut-off crisis speaks of a broken education system.

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Prelims Questions:

Q.1) With reference to the Supersonic Missile Assisted Release of Torpedo (SMART), consider the following statements:
1. SMART is a missile assisted release of lightweight Anti-Submarine Torpedo System for Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) operations far beyond Torpedo range.
2. It has been successfully flight tested from Wheeler Island off the coast of Odisha.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
(a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) Both 1 and 2
(d) Neither 1 nor 2

Answer: C

Mains Questions:

Q.1)By going 100 per cent marks as a cut-off for entry to undergraduate courses does Higher education sector in India needs reforms?What are the problems? Conclude.