The inter-ministerial committee constituted to ascertain whether the question papers of the Secondary School Certificate (SSC) examinations got leaked or not has come up with its findings. It has tacitly admitted that question papers of a few subjects were circulated moments before the beginning of exams among close groups on social media. The committee found no proof of widespread leak all across the country. It then argues that since the number of close groups of examinees is small, there is no question of recommending cancellation of any examination. Also, the committee thinks if examinations are cancelled and held once again, about 2.0 million examinees will be compelled to go through further ordeals. Above everything else, leak of question papers on which the re-examination will be held cannot be ruled out.
The last two reasons cited by the committee are incontestable. Indeed, cancellation of a public examination of the order of the SSC or HSC examination and its fresh arrangement are a gargantuan job. Even if it is held once again, the overwhelming majority of the examinees and their parents will be put under severe stress. For many the economic burden can be too great to be borne. Some examinees may be compelled not to appear at the examinations for the unforeseen extra financial expenses.
As for the possibility of further leak out of question papers in case of re-examination, the chance is cent per cent. The administration has exposed its utter helplessness before the challenge thrown by the masterminds behind the question paper leaks -whether limited or on a large scale. Even not a single techno wizard in the country came forward with any remedy to this scourge of repeated question paper leaks. No apps could be developed to counter or render inactive the process of circulation of question papers on social sites. So, there is every chance of leaks of question papers to be set for re-examination.
Now it is in this context, the issue of leaks and the recommendations made needs to be analysed to have an idea of the possible fallouts of the quagmire the SSC examination and by extension the country's education find in. The committee has tried to find an easy way out because the entire administration is powerless before a crime that is being committed with prior announcement. Never before has the administration so capitulated to a challenge thrown by an organised gang making the most of advanced technology.
By trying to minimise the range and scope of question paper leaks, the committee has trivialised the gravity of the crime. It is no great discovery that only close groups involved in circulating question papers on social sites were limited in number. The tacit admission finds its echo in the repeated denial of question paper leaks of various examinations before that of the SSC. Surely, it is not going to help the cause. The attempt of reversing the proverb of making a mountain out of a molehill is most likely to backfire.
Already, the authorities have given a knee-jerk reaction to the developments. They are contemplating to do away with the structure of the multiple choice questions (MCQs). True, MCQs hardly justify the depth of knowledge of a student. Rather, they are used as a means to carrying higher marks for a student. The craze for grade point average (GPA) 5 or A+ was taken to an abrupt summit, courtesy of the MCQs. The greater the number of GPA 5 achievers is the greater the credit of the education boards and the education ministry. Suddenly, the country had a surfeit of GPA 5 scorers after the initial hiccup in the first couple of years. As if a surge of merit flooded the country.
The fact is education in this country has been made a casualty by subjecting it to repeated and unnecessary experiments. The rush for GPA 5 was no less than gold rush and it ensnared both students and their parents or guardians into the vortex. Now secondary education must get prepared for yet another phase of broken hearts. With the withdrawal of the MCQs, examinees, except a small number, from the next academic year will definitely fail to achieve the GPA 5 and the collective reaction to this will be no less than a social commotion.
Will it help the authorities? Although for sometimes the rhetoric has been shifted in favour of quality rather than quantity, no ground work has been done to that effect. The commercial coaching business could not be made redundant by making classroom lesson substantial. If teachers and students are made to expend their energy before and after school to teach and learn lessons respectively, the system of schooling is made redundant. This has to be reversed in the first place. Then, students must be encouraged to pursue their extra-curricular activities after school. They are getting detached from Nature and society including parents. They are not developing into normal human beings.
Even if the army of students do well in examinations and become successful in a materialistic sense, they are unlikely to develop love for the country and fellow human beings. True education not only makes a person educated and enlightened but also a fine specimen of humans. That students and parents look for leaked question papers is a proof that society has become rotten. Education needs to be radically redefined where students can resist the temptation of obtaining leaked question papers when offered and are convinced of their preparation for exams.
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