Question Leaks Elucidate Questionable Edn -Ifrith Islam
Once upon a time there was a young man named Hafiz Rabiul Islam, with an extraordinary brilliant mind, lived in small village of Jashore miles away from the Indian border. He used to tell his wards that he had to abandon his education to take responsibility of the new family he just had. His innocent children were yet to understand what cheating in exam is or what question leak mean, or how a section of prophet-like teachers can be education dodgers or how certificate without knowledge is possible. He engaged into a business in a very short period of time after his withdrawal from learning. It is quite mundane to truant from school or drop out of college for a backbencher but for a frontbencher like Rabiul to leave hating educational institutes must be unusual though he was studying on scholarship. But the man we are talking about was enraged by the mass cheating in the hall of public examinations copying from the examinees around soon after the emergence of the country.
He had a story to tell but he had to wait for years. Time ticked by, Rabiul married and was blessed with four children. Years went by when his eldest son grew old enough to understand some of the anomalies. Father told his son why he had to abandon his meritorious student life. ‘I could memorize anything just listening for once,’ father said. ‘My teacher used to recite a poem moments after entering the classroom and as the first boy of the class I had to recite the same on the instant’ he added. There was only one reason, but that was definitely not for Rabiul’s new responsibility unfortunately. It was rather for an education system of Bangladesh plagued by mass-cheating in public tests in early days and poor salaries for the teachers, question leak, cheating in the exam halls, lenient approach in scrutinizing answer scripts just for publicity stunt for the government etc in later days.
Well, what is the actual problem with the education today? It is hard to answer in short. The system is too much fraught with flaws to be fixed. The system seems to have quite a number of inherent weak points that are making and made it vulnerable in its very root, whereas the root should have been solid and unbreakable free from all sorts of wobbling and corruption.
The weaknesses seem to be prevailing strongly in Southeast Asian countries of the world. The other day the news of question leak in India forced the country to make an arrangement for the students to resit for exam. Nepalese were found to have cheating in IELTS examinations. So is in Pakistan where question papers leak and cheating take places. We, the Bangladeshis, are facing the most dangerous and complicated situation in the world because the system of education have got corrupt and devoid of research works. Education system does not help anyone to fly or overwhelm any enemy that stands in the way of an achievement when it could have been used as a powerful tool anywhere in the world job market.
Unfortunately, Rabiul’s educational life got curtailed egoistically when he decided to stop studying further due to the creeping up of corruption into education system. He started crusading against the corrupt trend, rather than going along with it. ‘My Life Well Off’ was a catchphrase he often said to his solace at any gathering with friends and families. But, was that helpful?
Then, what happened to the actual ‘well off’ life afterwards when his friends came to universities and became teachers, ministers and what not? Well, in a way it was an excellent decision for him at that time of abysmal learning conditions but how many people are out there to dare to completely stop their education? Was he a renegade or self-styled revolutionary? Did it make sense to escape from the culture of cheating?
It is a complex question to answer for the latest generation as 80% students are from under development countries, among them 40% studies with passion and the rest 60% says ‘don’t want to but doing because of family and peer pressure’.
What happened to the passion?
Ideally speaking when our education, a basic human right, could have strengthened our personal integrity and shaped the societies in which we live. Moreover, it acts as a major driver of our lives and helps to build the economic development from zero. Hence, the educational corruption stands in the way of quality education and better jobs.
People study to groom themselves up into educated human resources which are not always in need of sharpening on a regular basis though there is a need for continuing education. The inspiration of attending schools, colleges and universities is drying up leaving the new generations dispirited. Even if anyone completes his or her education there arises a question of getting job negotiating the quotas in place in the country. In a country of high population and large unemployment it is quite disheartening for the job-seekers to overwhelm so many hurdles in getting a good job with better perks and packages. When a person is not able to earn bread enough for himself regularly he is sure to become obsessed by the thought of looking for better jobs which will affect his performance in the office he is now working in. If he doesn’t get a good one he is sure to be corrupt.
The first incident of mass cheating in public examination halls happened soon after its independence but the incidents of question leak, according to Bangladesh government, in any public examination took place after eight years inside emergence. But the recent series of events is drawing more attention of the locals and foreigners. Therefore, people are more agitated about the corrupt education, because this education does not bring any bright future for Bangladesh. The reputation of hard earned education contains discipline, competition, exercises of understanding the world in advanced level. This situation is jeopardizing the education sector of Bangladesh in an epidemic form.
Education is the back bone of nation. Without education, no nation can prosper in this competitive and struggling world. Even though, Bangladesh has stepped on the stair of being a developing country shrugging off its Least Developed Country status, but it is still one of corrupt countries of the world. Therefore, the leak of question papers is just another head of corrupt political hydra because when a head of hydra is cut off a new head grows out. Although, the political rage hasn’t subsided but the newly grown head is seriously disturbing the guardians’ peace of mind, pupils’ propensity, austerity of education delivering mechanism, Bangladesh’s image across the world etc. Students are growing up with the notion that their country is them that is quite unfortunate. Amidst media reports on question, sexual assault on female students on the campuses, a section of teachers’ exploiting students sexually in exchange for good grades a generation is being groomed up with the ideas education abroad is good, jobs outside their country are lucrative and lifestyle in the foreign countries is well defined, prompting the brain drain. The trend by default is tantamount to leasing motherland out to ruling political goons, murderers and rapists and letting the country to be wasteland.
Out of 16 crore people of Bangladesh, we only got to know of one Rabiul Islam, but uncountable number of Rabiuls are out there, who rather are facing the reality, that is, standing up against the corruption, than are choosing to shy away or to go abroad. That means, without striking against corruption they are trying to go ahead with this so called digital education slash corrupt education.
Then, what is the actual meaning of education?
In respect of public competitive examinations in academic arena, the tests take place due to an assessment through which the knowledge, merit, skill and capability of a student is evaluated for the promotion in next stage of education. There are a certain number of people that directly involved in this corruption. Ever since the politics has gone overboard, the people are becoming uglier in character by showing their true colours.
Is it worth risk?
Apart from educational corruption, according to a World Bank study, monetary corruptions are becoming rampant in education sector. These underhand financial transactions in the sector do not have any limit because the unholy alliance, powered by political musclemen least care about authenticity.
These series of question leak is becoming unprecedented in recent days. These leaks are linked to suggestions at first to help the students so that they can understand the question prototype in advance. There has not been any exemplary punishment for such crime under the existing law despite the importance of such law. There are about 40 steps between the making and distribution of questions, which require a large number of people’s involvement and big time span that involve risks due to lack of proper monitoring and security arrangements at every level. The Observation Committee obscures the process and the person involved in the tendency of not disclosing the questions. Among the question setters and moderators, some of them are involved in coaching. Mainly, the changes in the education system leaves a huge impact on the teachers by making them inexperienced to this creative system, which is encouraging them to providing the leak questions to the students for better result. Moreover, the ranking system of the educational institutions inspires schools trying any measure to get into the top list even at the cost of quality of education, which often deriving them going for leaked questions.
People in power in education sector enjoy monetary gains. But if that gain was an exchange of questions, then that was a great threat to the back bone of our nation. Quite a number of educational institutions milk money from the students. A section of teachers are involved in coaching centres and compel students to do the same by promising them a better future. The same quarter concentrates more on collecting leaked questions rather than teaching. As a result, the less meritorious students the more the advantages accrue to this group. The greatest threat for the generation is that it has minimum ethical standard even though it is considered important human quality. In addition, the overall standard of education will become lower which is most likely to have negative impacts in the near future.
Therefore, it is high time we eradicated the nexus between question leakers and their collaborators. The existing loopholes in the distributing system must be weeded out. The authorities must oversee the whole process of question settings, printing and distributing the papers so that no unwanted situation arises to make it complicated and also it can help to stop the harassment toward the sector of students who are only the victim of a situation. By investigating the incidence of leakage of question papers, the perpetrators must be brought to justice immediately. It must realize that denial of the problem would only aggravate the situation.
Hence, the citizen of Bangladesh should become more vocal against such culprits who are putting the education at risk and helping to get certificate by an unethical person. The only solution for this degeneration is to put a stop to the question leaking spree. The investigation report related to the question leak must be made public. More than one question setting must be practiced in order to avoid any unexpected circumstances like Rabiuls’ dropping out from education system. Continuous moral training packaged with financial aid and offer can bail the Bangladesh out of these problems.