Each year from the month of May onwards the students are under pressure to crack up entrance exams for variety of professional courses. So what do these exams do? They separate the “intelligent students” from “lesser intelligent” students. But, is this filtering process authentic? Most of them are “pseudo” and a waste of time. The problem lies with the word aptitude and intellect. Is the ability of swiftness of understanding and having an ability to apply knowledge and skills to solve some tests sufficient to go for higher education? And what happens when we segregate the passing standards for Open/SC/ST/OBC/Minority? Do we really admit deserving candidates for the educational programs?
How corrupt the education system is?
In fact we have messed up the entire education system in our country. The process is full of bias in admitting students to professional courses; it is not clear even after so many years. A student has to appear for multiple entrance exams, it has only increased the burden on them. Ambitious parents send their children for multiple coaching classes to get admissions in engineering, medical, MBA, Law, CA/ICWA, ACS degrees. The students have no time to relax and play. The load on these children is so high that they are physically and mentally exhausted. Many end their lives after bad results, and we hear of so many students going into depression. The dissimilarity does not end at caste and creed; it goes on between rural and urban, poor and rich, girls and boys. So many deserving students studying in rural schools are not exposed to coaching classes run by private institutions.
Whether guidelines really followed?
The guidelines are neither clear nor measurable. Students are deceived into believing their inherent abilities and potential being tested whilst they are largely being tested on test-taking ability, self-belief and pushiness. What the entrance exams system does is encouraging solving and practicing past papers in the hope of mastering tests and not the subject matter. These tests do not encourage the pursuit of knowledge much as the pursuit of great grades. Education should in fact free the mind and not restrict it to guidelines which are muddled. Whether it is schooling, college, post graduation of PhDs the pedagogy adopted by our system is “spoon feeding”. We believe in intellectual exploration which is hampered with constant pulls towards mastering guess work and memorising ‘standard’ methods of answering. All coaching classes spoon feed their students, instead of making them self-reliant. Therefore, when we see question papers which have new standard of questions or unfamiliar problems, the response is very bad from the students.
We are yet to comprehend the fact that subjective or qualitative papers with essay questions are not as easy to measure as mathematics or other quantitative papers. There are times when different examiners grade the same paper haphazardly. Other problem with the entrance examinations is comparing results with others. This doesn’t motivate the real capability of us.
Leakage of question papers is common
If we look at the entire system of entrance examinations, the number of question paper leakage is high; there are cartels in each examination from Government exams, private exams to schools exams to make money by selling the papers. In March 2015, the Uttar Pradesh government had cancelled the provincial civil services preliminary examination (UPPCS) after an exam paper was leaked on Whatsapp messaging service just before the start of the examination. The medical entrance paper to be conducted by AIIMS was leaked twice in recent past, this year the Telangana state engineering agriculture and medical common entrance test (EAMCET)-II medical question papers were leaked and the list is unstoppable. The question paper for recruitment to some lower level posts in the army were allegedly leaked in Maharashtra and Goa, leading to cancellation of the examination conducted by the Army Recruitment Board in February this year. So what is the credibility of the entrance examinations?
Loopholes in logistics
In most cases of delivery of question papers, there are a large number of people involved; right from those in the printing press, those in logistics of the delivery, officials in treasury offices and to colleges where the papers are stored. In March 2017, medical students across the country organised mass protest marches in different cities as they alleged a major foul play in the selection of candidates via the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) Post-Graduation entrance 2016-17. Can we forget the Narsee Monji Institute of Management Studies (NMIMS) admission examination scam – the NMAT?
The Vyapam Scam
We are yet to get the entire picture of the Vyapam scam. Vyapam (Vyavasayik Pariksha Mandal) was an admission & recruitment scam involving politicians, senior officials and businessmen in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh. The sheer scale of the scam came to light in 2013 Vyapam was entrusted with the responsibility of conducting large-scale competitive tests for admission to various professional courses and for recruitment to government jobs. The Vyapam scam involved involvement among exam candidates, government officials and middlemen: undeserving candidates were offered high marks in the exams, in exchange for kickbacks. The latest news on Vyapam is that Supreme Court has cancelled degrees of 634 doctors who were fraudulently passed in MBBS admission exams between 2008 and 2012.
Will we ever be able to stop aiding and abetting examination malpractices? What is the sanctity of so many entrance examinations conducted in this country?