What is happening in the education field in Bihar and UP? First it was reported that the toppers in Bihar board examinations could not answer simple questions relating to subjects they topped in. Then, after a retest, Ruby Rai, one of the toppers, was arrested. Then, Harihar Nath Jha, the former Bihar School Examination Board (BSEB) secretary, was arrested. Now, it has come to light that some teachers in Indiaâs largest state, Uttar Pradesh, do not know answers to simple questions related to their subjects. They were even found wanting in general knowledge. All this after the Vyapam scam in Madhya Pradesh shows that many things are seriously wrong with the way the education system functions in large parts of the country.
Ruby Rai is reported to have told reporters that she just asked her father to get her passed, but he made her a topper instead. This points to the fact that not only are papers leaked, large scale copying takes place and sometimes proxies sit for the exam instead of the real candidate, even marks are scaled up while evaluating answer sheets to pass candidates. There is a thriving parallel economy for all this and coaching centres are fronting as pimps for board officials in striking neat arrangements with candidates and their parents.
What kind of next generation are we breeding when college seats are being auctioned to the highest bidder, mark sheets are tweaked, papers are leaked, copying is not seriously frowned upon and prevented, proxies gain access to test centres and teachers are not properly, and periodically thereafter, evaluated to see if they are fit to teach?
Just pouring in billions of rupees of taxpayer money into the education system to fulfill or even dress up social indicators is not going to do. Since our system is full of corruption, it breeds incompetent teachers who in turn produce stupid students. People who get into the parallel system of education â read coaching centres â make huge sums of money, while the net result is that the country is saddled with people who are supposedly graduates in some stream of study but are knowledge-less nevertheless.
PM Modi has identified this problem and has given focus on skill development to make the youth employable. But even there, one is not sure what kind of skill, and to what level, is being imparted by the so-called skill development centres mushrooming in every nook and corner of the country. One is skeptical that how we suddenly got so may trained teachers to teach such skills to novices. It may turn out to be another scam to corner the subsidies being handed out by the government to skill the youth. Unless a proper evaluation audit is done to certify centres, skill development will have no meaning.
The government should analyze the problem deeply. Both the degree courses and the skill development courses should be subjected to proper audit. Examination and evaluation of candidates needs better parameters and standards. If we recognize that it is learning more than passing examinations that is the basis of education, then we should teach rather than coach. A student who has knowledge will never be afraid of taking examinations. It is only those who do not learn but prefer to be coached that suffer from the so-called examophobia. In this, the society is also to be blamed. If, as Ruby Rai said, fathers can get their wards passed in examinations by paying people in the proper channel, and if wards know this, why will they learn or even want to be coached?