India Insight

Could Delhi University’s perfect 100 pct demand drive students abroad?

By Annie Banerji

Students across India did a double take this week when one of India’s most sought after commerce colleges declared that 100 percent marks in school-leaving examinations would be the eligibility criteria for admission to a bachelor’s degree course.

Delhi University, which attracts several thousand aspirants from all over the country annually, on Wednesday published its first list of admission criteria that had spiralling percentages in the late nineties and even a perfect 100 marks out of 100.

India's Human Resources and Development Minister Kapil Sibal gestures during a news conference in New Delhi April 11, 2011. Sibal has said the education system needs reforming in light of one University demanding students score 100% on an entry examination.Terming the perfect score demands “unfortunate” and “irrational”, the human resources and development (HRD) minister Kapil Sibal told CNN-IBN that the education system needs reformation.

“Is a student with 97 or 98 percent incapable of studying Commerce compared to a student with 100 percent? Only one student in this entire list has 100 percent marks in the Science stream and he may never take Commerce,” he said.

In an attempt to reassure students, Professor Dinesh Singh, vice-chancellor of Delhi University, replied: “Cut-offs will fall in the four more lists which are still to come. The high cut-offs are owing to the excellent performance of students in the school-leaving examinations. Colleges are being a little cautious in the first list to avoid being over-flooded by students.”

Hoping for an Oxford degree in India

Now that the proverbial Left monkey is off the government’s back, the country’s education system will be among the sectors on the radar of the administration in its push for reforms.

With more than half of the billion-plus population aged 25 or below and foreign players eager to have a share of the lucrative industry by setting up branches in India, the education sector can potentially bring in a huge amount of foreign investment.

school.jpgAnd for many students who would otherwise be squeezed out of the few elite colleges or would have to study abroad, opening up the system could make world-class education available to them without having to leave the country.