Cheating in exams reached a new low as parents in Bihar scaled a three-storeyed examination centre, perching dangerously on the window ledges to pass on chits and illegal aids to their wards appearing for the board exams—pictures of this have gone viral with some foreign publications have also made a meaty story of it. It is not that such cheating is new—in Bihar’s long-suffering education sector, this and other innovative (and ignominious) methods are rampant and routine. Bihar’s—and to that extent, India’s—shame is that the cheating was there on the internet for everybody to see.
However, the greater shame is that the state government has thrown up its hands—though 515 students have been expelled in Patna, because of “malpractices”—saying it can’t end cheating in examinations without the cooperation of students and parents. That is akin to saying a crime can be controlled only if the criminal refrains from it! But, sadly, that seems true here. Given they were badly outnumbered in most examination centres, the police personnel stationed there precisely to prevent such incidences, could either helplessly watch aggressive parents go about “helping” their wards or, as reported by some publications, passively help the latter in their endeavours. With the state’s cheating-prevention mechanism failing so poorly, there is perhaps only one way to conduct fair examinations in Bihar and other states where such cheating is common—come March, our heavily-secured prisons doubling up as examination centres.