Friday, June 12, 2015

To College, and Beyond

The Board Exam results are out and a majority of the Sikkimese students passed with good numbers. But parents as well as students, especially +2 passed out, are worried about getting admission in colleges of their choice. Results for the CET exams conducted by the Human Resource Development Deparment are also out and counselling sessions for 25 [MBBS], 13 [BDS], 09 [B.V. Sc. & A.H], 23 [B. Sc. Forestry], 4 [B. Sc. Fisheries], 4 [B.Sc Home Science], 22 [B. Sc. Horticulture], 2 [B. Sc. Sericulture], 38 [B.Sc. Agriculture] and 1 B.Sc. Nutrition & Dietics] are going on in full swing. Among the thousands who sat for the CET exams only 141 students will get admissions on Government Scholarship in good colleges in the first phase of the counselling. Obviously, the lucky 141 are the toppers of the CET.
All the courses offered are for those who had passed +2 standard opting Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Biology and even English as their main subjects. These students could opt for PCM/PCB in Class XII because of their brilliant scores in Class X Board exams. Obviously, if not selected in other phases of CET, these students will definitely get admission anywhere because of their past track records.
It is, however, chaotic times ahead for parents of those who had Commerce, Arts, IT, vocational and other such streams in their +2 and could not score well. It is also a known fact that those who have scored brilliantly in these streams will not be able to study outside Sikkim even if they become eligible for Government Scholarship. Financial burdens even after availing the government scholarship will be unbearable for most middle class parents from urban as well as rural areas.
Here, I would like to say that discrimination against low scoring students begins from the time of attending his/her primary level education. It becomes worse when he/she passes out of Class X Board Exams. Dissatisfactory results mean they have to opt for “easier” streams that exclude Math and Science. Low scores in such streams mean even more discrimination.
Take the example of the Sikkim Government College. Although not an official procedure it is a regular practice that those with good percentage will get admission in Tadong Government College, which has full-fledged infrastructure as well as faculty. Those who fail to get admission in Tadong SGC have to take admission in Burtuk Government College which did not have a permanent Principal till the last academic session. It is amazing that those who cannot get admission in Burtuk College are further relegated to Rhenock SGC. Only the brilliant students of the West and South districts can come to Tadong SGC otherwise they have to settle for Kamrang SGC, Namchi.
The other day I was listening to the complaint of my daughter who is pursuing her +2 studies in IT, “Kasto stream diyo malai ta, Tadong college ma ta yo subject nai chaina rahicha” [What kind of stream was assigned to me, Tadong college does not have this subject]. Yes, she was interested in Science but even after scoring 65+ in Class X, she was not allowed science by her school because her score in Math and Science was not upto the mark. She was satisfied with her assigned subjects till last year but chatting with her friends and seniors she realized that she will not be able to pursue IT further in the Government Colleges of the state because none of the colleges offer a course in IT.
What can a helpless parent do in this situation? I assured her that the Government has announced a full-fledged IT college in West Sikkim and courses will definitely start by the time she passes out of Class 12.
To provide the best education to your child is one of the main objectives of life for all parents. But, the fact is that majority of them cannot afford reputed schools and colleges but have faith in Government schools and colleges. It is also a fact that earlier children of those who could afford good schools and colleges later got employment at good posts especially in Government establishments. However, the situation has changed. Even after parents invest lakhs in their child’s education, these children can be seen competing for lower rung posts in the government. Even if they get the job, I doubt if the parents or the child will truly be satisfied. I recently came to know of someone with an advanced post-graduate degree in engineering competing for a state-level competitive exam the qualifying degree for which was a “simple” BA-pass. I fail to understand how that makes sense.

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