“Education Ministry has to take prompt and exemplary action to retain the faith of the budding students of Manipur”
By: Seram Neken
Gross leakage of question paper in the CBSE examinations in 2014 was a big issue in Manipur, thereby indicating the deteriorating educational atmosphere in the state. In its greatest expose then, one of the local newspapers in its website uploaded the leaked question paper of Physics one day ahead of the examination, which later on exactly resembled the questions circulated in the Examination hall. This writer in his article on the same day had termed the practice as ‘Educational Smuggling’(meaning – Smuggle in Education sector). Now, recent unfolding of marks tempering one after another in the HSLC Examinations by a Students Body has again created doubts whether education has become a commodity for the most profitable business for some conmen.
It is not only the illegal drugs business, for which Manipur earns the notoriety of other states. It is not only the AIDS menace that attracts the notice of the global community. It is not only the rapes and child trafficking which attract attention of the nation. It is not only the fake encounters designed by the security persons that terrorize people. To a number of conmen in Manipur, education has served as a commodity for the most profitable business. Merits of a number of students have been compromised in the process of educational smuggling perpetrated by some individuals involved in the Examination Procedure.
While a number of meritorious students are toiling sincerely in their study for the annual examinations, few others are apparently vying for malpractices to earn ranks. ‘Educational Smuggling’ (rather Smuggle in Education sector) has been a regular affair in Manipur during the last few years, may be one of the consequences of hectic competitions among students fueled by excessive involvement of parents, teachers and well-wishers. Naturally, parents wish that their wards emerge with flying colours in the school examinations. The enthusiasm is so high that even some parents vie for unfair ways to make their children shine among colleagues. As part of the effort, it has become a fashion to involve school teachers, private tutors, examiners or even the staff of Educational institutions or Boards to indulge in malpractices. Competition is encouraging, but over-enthusiasm in competition turns out destructive.
Marks tempering during examinations of various standards is not a new concept. It has prevailed for a long time in Manipur, particularly in the Class-X (HSLC) Examination. If we rely on the saying that ‘A thief is no thief, until it is caught’, such mark tempering or favoritism might have been committed every year. But now, when the misdeeds have been unfolded one by one by a particular Students’ organization, we are clear that ‘there is rampant smuggling in Education sector too’.
Some of the parents, particularly of some high ranking pupils, are so serious that they are ready to compromise everything only if their children top in the rankings. The mistake solely lies on the fact that our teaching-learning process is entirely examination-based, and our examination system is grossly based on marks. Over-emphasis on marks during examinations is no sign of improvement in education sector. As for instance, the Zenith Academy was widely acclaimed throughout India, when it produced the Class-XII topper of the country some years back. There were even controversies for delayed reach of cash awards to the school and its topper student. By that time, some officers of education department even faced the authority’s wrath to the extent of changing positions as penalty. However, the name of the most applauded institution has not been heard in the following years, as it probably fails to retainits reputation of producing high ranked students.
The nexus among the trio – ‘parents-tutors-examiners’ sometimes or even often results in malpractices in the examination process. The problem has been materialized by the corrupt officials and staff of the Board of Secondary Education, which is the apex body of conducting such an important examination.All officials involved in the process of HSLC Examination, right from the Examiners to the Chairman of the BoSEM should either resign or be suspended, to give way for a fair enquiry. The government, especially the Education Department should take up prompt and exemplary action to avoid repetition of such gross mistakes in future. The faith of the students and sanctity of the BoSEM cannot be saved, whenever the government machineries remain indulge in blame-game among themselves.
The education sector in Manipur which had long beenblamed forall kinds of irregularities and corruption,has in recent times witnessed certain developments in the form of cleansing with its energetic and learned Cabinet Minister doing the rounds. People now do hope that the incumbent Education Minister of Manipur would come forward with its prompt action to suspend all responsible officials and staff during the enquiry process. No doubt, the dynamic and committed leadership of the present education minister has spearheaded various innovative and reformative measures in the recent past. Still academic reformation in Manipur is in its bud as we have to go a long way to bring education at par with international standards. During such hectic endeavour of the state government as well as the academic community, some notorious elements are sabotaging the education sector by way of doing business in the academic institutions. It is high time the state government put a proper monitoring of the working of educational institutions particularly the conduct of examinations under the various boards. Otherwise, the much hyped quality education will remain at stake in the state.