Every year, social media users devote a day to hark back to their own experiences at school and of marks. And invariably, it is always the day CBSE announces the results for its Class XII board examinations. Yesterday, the results for the year 2019-20 were declared, with Divyanshi Jain, an 18-year old student from Lucknow, topping the board with a perfect 600/600 score. Read a detailed report about her achievement here. As expected, social media can talk about nothing else, and is having a gala time making memes out of her and trolling other toppers who scored well in the exams.

This is something we see happening every year – the topper is always rewarded with nasty comments and sarcasm on the internet, with people making fun of her/his abilities or nerdiness or competence. If Jain logs in online, she will see her face splattered everywhere, and not all of it will be in appreciation of her. How brutal that would be for a child – to see her hard work reduced to memes and nothing more?

It may be unheard of – securing a full score in subjects like English and History while grown experts still try to grapple with their theoretic concepts – but therein lies the precise problem. Trolling a student means pointing fingers in the wrong direction. The real culprit is the Indian education system. And it’s time to demand some answers out of it.

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Troll the System, Not the Student

Exams in India are notorious for their competitive spirit, which is anything but. And the Class XII board exams are a national-level celebration of this system. It’s all an eyewash – the checking is inconsistent, supervision during the exams is irregular, and frankly, it’s only a great, big memory game. Questions on the paper aim far from testing logic, they are only meant to gauge how good one is at rote learning. Just mug the textbook, retain it till the exam commences, and vomit on the answer sheet.

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No, Humanities is Not an Easy Stream

What’s worse is that Jain is having to face the brunt of both, her 100 percent marks as well as her Humanities subjects, which are considered to be easier than the Science and Commerce streams. It takes me back to the time my own class 12 board results came out. I had received a fairly good score of 98.75 percent in my Humanities subjects, and everyone had congratulated me, but several did so mockingly, “oh, how hard is it anyway to score on social science subjects?”

This perception around the arts stream enjoys a long legacy in India, so much so that graduates from this stream – writers, poets, artists, journalists, theorists, historians – fall miles below engineers and doctors on the pay scale. As a result of which most children in India are still conditioned to see arts as a “hobby” and the last resort as a career option.

Jain may have scored a perfect 600/600 in CBSE, but her board marks will only get her as far as college admissions. Thereon, she’ll have only her talents and interests to rely on.

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Divyanshi Jain Must be Lauded for Her Efforts

So why are we hating on a young girl? Yes, our education system is flawed, but students still have to prove their mettle with hard work and dedication, even if it means proving it within the uneven and absurd boundaries of the system. People who are questioning the girl for getting a perfect score must direct their disbelief at the system that encourages students to adapt to their lazy education patterns.

After all, how are school students, crushed under the pressure of exams and the iron hand of the central system, supposed to raise their voices against the farce of education they have to compulsorily comply with? It is on us, those on the outside, to give those students a voice.

But for the moment, we need to let Jain have the moment she has earned. Let’s applaud for her persistent diligence in scoring the marks that she did, all with her own efforts. And after we are done doing that, let’s call for a change in the education system that is hell-bent on making robots out of students and factories out of schools.

Tanvi Akhauri is an intern with SheThePeople.TV. Views expressed are the author’s own. 

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