This is the season, months of May and June, when various Central and State Education Boards are coming out with the Intermediate and High school results one after another. Last years’ debacles of Bihar education might still be alive in the memory and psyche of the conscientious people. This year’s Bihar School Examination Board (BSEB) results for the 12th Standard out last week showed nearly 70% students of Science stream failed, with a combined failure of science, Arts and Commerce around 65%, a pathetic situation largely thanks to strict measures against cheating taken by the authorities this year.
While results were under scrutiny, debate and discussion, another depressing news was out. The initial report was that the topper student in Bihar examination is aged 24 as against the usual age of 17-18 years of the most students. Following day, we came to know through media that his result has been cancelled by the BSEB and the topper’s actual age is 42 years besides he is already a father of two children.
The larger issue is the current state of education at High School and Intermediate level in the country. These standards are important because they by and large determine entry to the course of higher and technical education in various institutions. Another larger issue whether this education rot is only limited to Bihar or some other states also fall in the same category. Clearly, it will be unfair to single out Bihar based on these results. As a matter of fact this rot is deep rooted in the form of cheating and other unfair practices in other states too. For instance, in the past there have been arge scale cheating in examination with the connivance of teachers and authorities in Uttar Pradesh and the previous Samajwadi Party seldom took any corrective measures. There have been occasional reports and scandals from other states too, though not of this scale.
I recall even about four decades back, many private institutions in southern states were admitting students with little merit for medical and technical education on the basis of large donations, now a widespread phenomenon even in northern states. The unfortunate part is that this rot is growing and prospering with indifferent or willy-nilly support of state governments due to many vested interests.
A healthy and fair education is necessary not only for securing employment but also for developing a society of just and fair citizens. Those who score high marks through unfair means may be able to secure better employment in future but for sure they will prove incompetent and inefficient in their professional arena as also unethical and dishonest in their personal and social life. Besides, it is grossly unfair putting at disadvantage those students who do not resort to unfair means and believe in sincere study and hard work.
Largely, it is the primary responsibility of teachers, education authorities and parents to ensure that their students and wards are not allowed to use unfair means in examinations. Where they are failing in this duty, the state should take cognizance to ensure that unfair practices are checked, rather eliminated, by taking necessary preventive and punitive measures.