Question leak and quality education

            IF at all education minister Th Radheshyam’s suspicion about involvement of ‘inside hands’ in the leakage of physics paper question of the on-going higher secondary examination turns out to be true, then the evolving situation could anti-thesis to concerted efforts by civil societies and students’ organisations to promote quality education in Manipur. Though the government has assured institution of an independent investigation to trace the source of the leak and punish those found guilty, it could be safely assumed that advancement in science and technology is being exploited by some scrupulous elements to cash in on the thriving business associated with education, which has been defined as the process of developing and training the powers and capabilities of human being. In the wake of commercialisation of education rapidly evolving as a global phenomenon in recent times, Manipur too has been in the race towards transforming educational institutions, especially at the school level, into business empires. From being centres for accumulation of knowledge and enrich the thoughts of the young minds, in Manipur’s context, educational institutions these days are judged not only on the basis of number of students passing the examinations but also on the quantum of toppers they produce. It is a known fact that qualitative performance by the students in examinations remains the decisive factor in the swelling of number of pupils in the subsequent academic sessions. Thanks to the degeneration of government schools, the competition for luring students or impressing their parents as well as in producing quality students has been left to the private schools.

              On the brighter side, sprouting of schools in Manipur, run by private parties or those under catholic organisations, has also widened the avenues for the students to pursue their academic goals in reputable institutions, most of whom lay emphasis on the rapidly developing sector of information and communication technology. However, the trend of education taking the shape of commercialisation is also having negative impact and the recent case of leak of question paper could be attributed to the intense competition among the private schools to produce maximum of top mark securers through any means, including unethical ones. Commercialisation of education might be a recent trend in India, mainly stemming from the educational reform over the last two decades, but the magnitude of its implications in Manipur, apart from the mushrooming private schools, has been significant, for there are many families who could not afford the high cost of sending their wards to private schools. It also changes the traditional concepts of education based on the student-teacher relationship and attitude towards gaining knowledge, for private school students under the pressure of scoring high marks eventually seek private tuitions, thus incurring additional financial burden to their parents. Regardless of private schools playing a major role towards promoting quality education, those at the helm of affairs need to ensure thorough investigation into the question paper leakage issue and show no leniency against individuals or institutions involved in such unethical practice, in order to provide a level playing field rather than give undue advantage to any institutions whose administrators are more infatuated with increasing their own bank balance through the hard-earned money of parents of recipients of education.

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