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Friday, January 12, 2018

It is the teachers, not coaching centres responsible for leakage

THE Education Ministry on Monday ordered closure of all coaching centres from three days prior to beginning of Secondary School Certificate and its equivalent examinations till end of the test in a bid to check question leak. The Education Ministry took the decision on the day at a meeting on upcoming SSC exam.

Presided over by the Education Minister, the meeting also decided that next SSC and equivalent exams would be held between February 1 to March 4 and over a million of students are expected to take part in the exam.

The meeting instructed candidates of SSC and its equivalent exams to enter their respective exam halls half an hour before the tests begin, otherwise they would not be allowed to sit for the test.

Government took the decisions after Education Minister in December himself blamed a section of dishonest teachers for question papers leak..

Anti-Corruption Commission in December had sent a set of recommendations to the Education Ministry asking it to close down the coaching centres as they are one of the potential sources of question leakage in public exams. However, as the government in the outgoing year failed to check question leak in public exams, the crisis rather spread to the school-based terminal exams of elementary education, causing further slide in the already declining standards of education and creating doubts in the public mind about the credibility of the exams and education.

But would this indeed work? It would seem to impartial observers that the better option is to root out those malfeasant teachers who are a calumny to their profession rather than go for this closure of centres. In this digital age of Viber, Whatsapp and other communication tools, question papers can be disseminated without the need for a physical medium .

Therefore the only real solution is to find out exactly where the leaks occur. For this the stages of making a question paper can be broken down into several steps so that no single individual knows exactly what the final paper will be. The paper can even be printed in several different outlets so that no single printer will know the exact paper - and only reassembled at the actual exam hall. This measure would seem to be more effective in stopping leaks.

We need to find out why teachers are doing this. Is it because the process of teacher recruitment has become corrupt and politicised, or is it a simple case of otherwise efficient people who teach on the lookout to make quick money! Either way stopping politicised or dishonest recruitment would seem to be more effective tools to stop question paper leaks than anything else.