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Memory over mind
If you fit the template, fine, otherwise you are at a disadvantage. Originality is not appreciated but penalised.
If you ask me whether a good academic record helps one later in life, my answer would be it is certainly not a handicap. The usefulness of a good academic record cannot be underestimated. However, it is certainly not the only ingredient. It is how much you learn and imbibe, and your ability for critical thinking, that really matters when you step into the professional field. As a chap put it at Oxford, it is your ability to separate the relevant from the rot which actually makes a difference later in life.
It is true that my academic record, and the institutions I have been to, have helped me in terms of my career. But that is only up to a point. I would say my academic record has helped me get a foot in. After that, it is how much you've imbibed at the institutions you've been to, and how well you can critically analyse, that makes much difference. After a point, people are not really interested in what you did in college and as time passes, college becomes far removed from reality.
Does a good academic record help outside the office? Do people I meet at social gatherings see me in a different light because of the educational institutions I've been to? Well, it depends on whether you decide to flaunt it! However, on a serious note, there are multiple factors that decide this, so it's difficult to say. I would think it is your overall personality that matters. I know people who have brilliant academic records but are socially remarkably inept!
I look at the high cut-offs at Shri Ram College of Commerce as another way of keeping away those who do not belong to a particular stream. It also underscores the tussle between the spread of education in this country and its quality. The problem with the Indian education system is also, I believe, that it lays more emphasis on memory, less on the mind. The school stage in this country is absurd. Grades are not a true indicator of intellectual acumen because memory still gets a disproportionate amount of importance. Academic assessment in India is based on a format - if you fit the template, fine, otherwise you are at a disadvantage. Originality is not appreciated but penalised. This happens right up to the Masters programme.
As told to Amardeep Banerjee.
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