Day 26 – Q 3. The undergraduate admission season is close. Lakhs of students will apply to different colleges and universities. Do you think, too much emphasis on marks as the entry criteria creates mediocrity and stifles talent? Comment.

  • IASbaba
  • July 9, 2020
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Governance, GS 2, TLP-UPSC Mains Answer Writing
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3. The undergraduate admission season is close. Lakhs of students will apply to different colleges and universities. Do you think, too much emphasis on marks as the entry criteria creates mediocrity and stifles talent? Comment. 

स्नातक प्रवेश का समय करीब है। विभिन्न कॉलेजों और विश्वविद्यालयों में लाखों छात्र आवेदन करेंगे। क्या आपको लगता है, प्रवेश के लिए अंकों पर बहुत अधिक जोर देने से मध्यमता उत्पन्न होती है तथा असली कौशल निखर नहीं पाता? टिप्पणी करें।

Demand of the question:

It expects students to express their views on whether marks should be the criteria or the talent for the assessment. It also expects students to analyse both aspects of whether having a mark based evaluation is good or talent based. 


Except the Primary school admissions, rest of the admission world over works on the system of marks/grades. Here, arises the Talent vs. Marks debate, where marks as admission criteria are questioned but answer stumbles on what should be the alternative.


In India the British introduced education systems to create clerks and civil servants. They now prepare to become engineers or doctors. We have not deviated much from that pattern till today.

  • To get admission in to higher educational institutes the set criteria is more the marks higher the chances to get admission.
  • Mostly, the society thinks that becoming an engineer or a medical professional, are the only reputed and well earning professions. Which leads to humongous competition for few hundreds of seats. 
  • Hence students do marks oriented study, This is one of the fundamental flaws of our education system.
  • The current system of examination assesses student on the set criteria and hence, too much focus is given to evaluation of student with respect to those criteria.

Here, the rat race begins to get more marks by sidelining and without realising the true potential of student.

Mediocrity and Stifling of talent:

  • When there is smoke there is fire! The fire we are concerned about is the unproductive, fruitless education being provided in educational institutes.
  • Students study only to score marks in exams, and sometimes to crack exams like IIT-JEE, AIIMS or CLAT and NEET.
  • Students learning in an environment where their marks define who they are and where do they stand in the crowd.
  • There is less focus on achieving excellence.  
  • Knowledge is largely forgotten after the semester exam is over. Still, year after year Indian students focus on cramming information. The best crammers are rewarded by the system.
  • But, there is one positive side of having a marks oriented approach of studying i.e. it promotes a healthy competition if not exaggerated so.

We should realise that getting higher marks is not the only criteria through which a person’s talent can be assessed. One such example of fine talent is the Sachin Tendulkar who was failed in 10th standard examination but still known as Master blaster in the history of cricket.

Way forward:

  • Giving a  sound career counselling to students especially to the parents. And generating a wide scale awareness in society are the primary steps.
  • A person is more valuable human resource because of its vivid qualities, skills and talents. Hence, giving justice to its skills, talents and knowledge should be the way. Which will eventually help the person to realise his/her true self.
  • Humanities, art, law, accountancy, music, drama etc. these streams also provide bright career options. e.g Shahrukh khan who is known as Baadshah of Bollywood Industry, opted out of  MBA to focus on career in acting.
  • Evaluation of students should not be centred around their marks in exams. Shifting to grading system based on classroom participation, project work, communication and leadership skills and extracurricular performance.
  • Sooner than later personalizing and customizing learning in our education system will be more better option.


As we know every human being is unique in its characteristic we should not adopt  One size fits all approach. Hence, adopting a more holistic approach to assess the true talent of student combined with marks will be the better way so that we can utilize our this large demographic dividend to taste the fruits of development. 

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