Pavan Kumar Sah
Treasurer, NELTA Siraha
Exams have long been an inevitable phenomenon in schools, colleges and universalities. We assume that exams have the power of enhancing learning. Unfortunately, most exams in Nepal, particularly SLC exams have been most infamous due to slack administrability. In this write-up, however, I take into account of a different cause of notoriety in SLC exams and that is attitudes of people towards it.
S.L.C. (School Leaving Certificate) examination also known as the iron gate of school level education has concluded in the month of Chaitra. We all know that SLC exams have ever been as famous as infamous. It has been crucial because until now it has been an evaluation system at the final level of schooling but it has been infamous due to rampant cheating. Comparatively the examination system seems to be improving gradually the authorities have claimed. The concerned authorities say that they have paid due attention on the examination this year. The Chief District Officers (CDO), District Education Officers (DEO), Resource Persons (RPs) and other responsible authorities say that they have realized that SLC exam needs to be improved and have therefore have taken steps to do so.
However, upon scrutiny, the exams have not improved to the extent they should have. This year also we witnessed the cases of cheating, fake students appearing in exams, invigilators involved in helping students cheat, brawls between policemen and guardians. At many places it has been found that if students were not able to cheat in the exams or if they were held for cheating, or if they were put in police custody, both the parents and students became upset and approached various people in post and power for help, showed agitation, shouted slogans against the superintendents and invigilators that they be allowed for cheating. We also found many fake candidates appearing in the exams in place of others, even constituent assembly members at some centers.
Students’ preparation for exams can often be questioned. Many times, students do not seem to have prepared properly and have depended on cheats. Their level of study is seen so low that many of them have copied whatever they have been given. Let me share an incident that happened this Chaitra in SLC exam:
One of the guardians happened to be the fake invigilator to help his daughter (candidate) in the exam. He had a number of papers in his pocket including cheats for his candidate. While the Chief District Officer (CDO) came to supervise the exam, he became frightened and hurriedly and unknowingly gave the paper related to court. When the candidate came home and when her father asked her if she copied the same paper, she said ‘yes’ from beginning to end.
This reveals the level of our students.
The most distressing fact is that guardians themselves have been found involved in helping students cheat in exams. It is very sad that they have not been aware of the implications of such cheating in the lives of their children ultimately. Many guardians approach invigilators and policemen and request them to help their students with the unfair means in the exams. They call their relatives, particularly those who have already passed SLC exams to help the candidates during the examinations periods as if they are preparing for celebrating some festivals. If their relatives don’t come to help, they do not hesitate to break relationship. They call some people to prepare cheats and others to take cheat to the candidates. They gather at the examination centers as they have come to watch fair. They want their children to cheat and secure good marks in the examinations. They think nothing except their children’s success in examinations. In some parts of the country, they think if their candidates pass the SLC exam, their guardians will have to give fewer dowries in their daughters’ marriage and will get good husbands. Their sons will also get good dowry and good family. They can go to foreign country to earn money. It is very pathetic that guardians have taken exam and education synonymously. They merely want their students to get through the exams and obtain higher scores at any cost and that’s it. It is truly very pitiable that many of Nepalese guardians are not aware of what education is and what exam is.
I would like to ask a few questions. How justifiable it is for parents or guardians to approach for cheating? If so, will their students be capable for higher studies even if they can get through the SLC exams? What worth human resources will we have tomorrow? What can we expect from them for the development of the community and nation? I realize that we ourselves are responsible for spoiling our land by producing only certificate holder manpower.