Marks do-not matter in life…

SRCC, my alma-mater once again hogged the national headlines but this time for an obnoxious reason: It released a cut-off for admission at 100%. I understand that only 1 student had the 100% in the required subject combination and to further clarify, it was based on a mathematical formula that required the cut-off for students from non-commerce background securing at-least 4% more than those from commerce stream. The cut-off for those from non-commerce stream was 96% and hence it set the cut-off at 100% for those from science background.

All this repulses me and suggests that the 70% (that I had) of 1987 is possibly equal to 96% of today. I do-not think that this can be accurate. Marks have become easier to get but there is more to the story than all this.

Its demand-supply equation that is driving up the cut-offs. Number of students seeking admission has increased though number of places at colleges have not. While the colleges are becoming air-conditioned and fully tech-savvy, they are not increasing capacity at all. Why? Is there a deliberate move to restrict the number of seats as the higher cut-offs also tend to be perceived as the sign of the quality of the institution. Somewhat, falsely. Imagine if SRCC doubled the number of places, which it can quite easily do so, it will make life easy for all without comprising on quality. The two floored building can be added with another two floors and thats it. The funds are always there. Just look around.

However the world today is indicating that “marks donot really matter beyond entry to the college…” . “Colleges do matter” and so can we say that colleges are giving too much importance to marks and hence not opening doors to those who are with right aptitude and right abilities. Too much reliance on marks will soon make all schools basically into factories. One of the first day-boarding “new age” schools in Kolkata has become more like a traditional school today as parents demand that children have access to studies, studies and studies and what matters is admission to colleges and hence marks, marks and marks. This is possibly happening in other locations too. The emerging business opportunity is in tutoring for marks. “All round education” is bound to take a back-seat.

Rich and Scholastic are bound to travel overseas in such a scenario. However the one who is neither here or there is the one who has a 90% and whose parents belong to the famed Indian middle-class.

Mark my words, marks-do-not-matter to the extent they are used. What matters in life are basically one skill: communication skills. This one skill can help package an average individual into a marketable and sought-after one. The lack of this one skill can turn a 97 percent-er into an unattractive book-worm. Unfortunately, those with high academic often possess poor communication skills and this can be due to limited exposure to other forms of education that we should receive at the schools.

There are other additional to the communication skills such as computer skills or soft skills but they all come under the umbrella of broad communication skills.

There may be some exceptions to this rule… A doctor has to be academically sound though some will argue that a good and successful doctor is one with good communication skills while one who is brilliant as a doctor may have a smaller demand if possessing poor communication skills. Similarly for almost all professions. Almost-all…

How do parents impart this to their young-ones is something they need to figure out themselves. I am still figuring out myself for my young-ones. Making headway but slower than what I desire.



  1. “All this repulses me and suggests that the 70% (that I had) of 1987 is possibly equal to 96% of today.” I couldn’t have put it better myself. I wonder what is the worth of the 60% that I scored from St. Joseph’s College, Bangalore, in 1974 when I graduated, is worth today!


  2. Our present education system is very unhealthy. If a child doesn’t do well in studies, should the child loose all the rights to feel worthy? Where this unhealthy-competition is leading us?
    Aren’t these trends turning our children into machines whose minds become nothing but a store of information after completion of their studies? Can anyone see a humanist viewpoint from the breed of such system?

    If we keep on following the current trend of Rote Learning and Competition, what will be the shape of our society who is already in an ugly phase?


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