Last week witnessed announcement of results of two public examinations written by nearly 15 lakh students in the State — Secondary School Leaving Certificate Examination (SSLC) and Pre-University Second Year Examination (II PUC). While the two days on which the results were published and subsequently proved an occasion of festivity for marks-driven merriment as it were in case of students crossing the bar with scores on the cusp of 100 per cent, those who could either scrape through or got stuck below the bar cursed their predicament, even as they deserved empathy from their teachers, parents and guardians. Old-timers, who have also faced public examinations in their times decades ago, are sure to bewildered by reading about students in large numbers being given 625 marks or close to that score out of a possible 625 in SSLC examination and 600 or close to that score out of possible 600 in II PUC examination. The teachers of the bygone era are remembered by the old-timers for their penchant of not to be liberal with marks as with their money.
Merriment driven by marks has moved by a few notches with the managements of privately run schools and junior colleges hastening to claim credit for 100 percent passes, in addition to distinctions and first classes. These features translate to jacking up the amount to be coughed up by parents at the time of admitting their wards to those institutions, mocking at the law prohibiting capitation.
Like the contestants in a 100 mts running race vying for the right to adorn the victory stand required to hit the winning tap in heats, semifinal and final, even the students who have achieved ranks by scoring high marks are required to continue with the rat-race of sorts by appearing in various competitive examinations such as JEE, CET and so on for securing seats in institutions offering medical, engineering, management, agriculture and other courses. Then begins their challenging times of landing jobs of their choice, particularly focussed on alluring pay packet to begin with and a steady progress in their chosen profession. The realisation dawns that while it is necessary to be competent in a world of competition, it is not sufficient. Competitiveness is the name of the game.
Having applauded the feat of scoring high marks by the teenagers in the two public examinations, the prospect of empowering the rest looms large. The mass of youth in this latter category, running to several millions and counting, can be transformed into human resources in a real sense, by imparting skills for blue-collared jobs, which may arrest the craze for white-collared jobs. Marks scored in examinations, like money, is not everything in life. Also, the just announced unemployed youth’s enrollment in Karnataka augurs well.