Between the lines

Between the lines

Education and allied sectors have long been a matter of scrutiny and discussion in India. With a young population that is usually labelled as ‘unfit for employment’ despite a proliferation of institutes and schools, the spotlight has often been turned on the quality of education provided here.

And The Karnataka Education (Amendment) Bill, 2017, which proposes stringent punishment for those involved in exam malpractices, has reignited the debate. If a student is caught copying in an exam, then he/she can be barred from writing an exam for up to three years.

Framed to make the examination and evaluation process foolproof after the II PU question paper leakage last year, the bill has drawn mixed responses. Mostly everyone says that a comprehensive look at the root cause of such malpractices is what is required.

“If students are copying, then it is a reflection on not just the teachers but also the society,” says Roshan Sylvester, a lecturer.

“Maybe they don’t respect the system that much or maybe they have some other grievance. There is no method  to redress these in a sector that is increasingly looking at students as products. They are educated to make a living and not to live,” he adds.

Sriram Sullia agrees. As part of a group that knows the pulse of the youth, Sriram feels that the problem lies somewhere else. “We should ask why they are copying the first place. The excess importance on marks and examinations has created a feeling that students just have to score well to do well in life. They have no idea why they are studying some things,” says the RJ.

“Even if the quantum of punishment is increased from three to five years, there will still be students who will resort to copying — that’s how desperate they are at that time,” he adds.

There is also a provision in the bill that seeks to penalise teachers for question
paper leaks and refusal to report for evaluation of answer scripts.

“Criticising teachers has become somewhat of a trend these days. Some effort should be made to understand their problems and why they refuse to go for evaluation, if they do so,” says Roshan.

His words ring true in the light of the fact that despite the new law, about 4000 PUC lecturers didn’t turn up for work on the first day of answer script evaluation.

“The whole process seems kind of archaic to me. We need a more continuous kind of assessment; the evaluation process we have right now is neither cognitive nor meaningful,” he adds.

Surya Manoharan, a college student, feels that the new decision has both pros and cons.

“The advantage is that the entire system will become more fair. Students who work hard will not lose out to someone who gets more marks through unfair means.
However, the flip side is that if a student is caught cheating or even if he/she is accused falsely due to some personal vendetta, then three years of their life will be wasted.”

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