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Mass Cheating Or Cheating The Masses: What Is The Bihar Scandal Really?

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By Abhishek Jha:

Filling my news feed and timeline for the past couple of days have been photos and videos of mass cheating during the tenth standard Bihar Board examinations. The first reaction of most people to it, was of amusement. It is, in fact, bewildering to see so many people climb a wall to just pass a chit to students inside the examination hall. However, the derision that the students have earned across the country and abroad seems to take this as a one-off event, a “scandal” that has been “exposed”. The authorities too reacted to the news reports as if this mass-cheating was being surreptitiously carried out in a remote corner.

bihar

This is far from the truth. Similar incidents have been happening since as long as I can remember and they have been happening just as much in the open. So there must be a systematic failure that the authorities and governments have failed to contain over the years. That the friends and guardians of those taking this examination were not deterred by the sheer danger of climbing up to a fourth floor window or that of being caught by the police, indicates that the examination itself must be a more real threat to them. Knowing that they could be arrested or could break their spine by falling off the building, would it not have been easier for these parents to have instead helped their ward in studying?

Apparently not. The examination, if one took care to notice, was being conducted by the state board, which is as much a stock of ridicule among those who go to CBSE/ICSE affiliated schools. The state board is in fact in such shambles that nobody opts for it unless bound by necessity. And in a state where a third of the population is below the poverty line, we can perhaps argue that the people are needy. These are students who have had teachers absent from classrooms. Some of them might have grown up hugely dependent on mid-day meals. A private tutor, coaching classes, and the like are unimaginable for most of these students. The matric examination, our collective obsession, is almost a class metric for them. Even though they have had to borrow textbooks, even though they have had to divide their time between the book and the bullock, they must somehow come at par with their more privileged counterparts. Failure would beget shame. And the rat race that our profit-driven, rote-based education system is, this metric-shame has often driven students to extreme steps like suicide.

The question then, that one is bound to face is whether cheating in examinations can be justified under such circumstances. How is one to examine students? It is a misplaced concern. Examine what? An examination makes sense if one has been taught or has had a chance at learning at least. Students appearing in state board examinations across the country seem to have neither. This is beyond the well known fact that there is a huge shortage of good or even properly trained teachers in this country at all levels of education.

But given all of this, the media-coverage would have been effective had it moved the government to look into its own failures. Unfortunately though, the outrage will settle with a few suspensions and expulsions. Next year these students will take cue from fellow students elsewhere and smuggle mobile phones to the examination hall. How will we then ensure that examinations serve their purpose?

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  1. nikhil singh

    bhai mere 89% (I.A.S) 92% (I.P.S) and 43% (I.F.S) officers are recruted every year barring this now lets see union ministers : Consumer Affairs, Food and Public DistributionRam Vilas Paswan , Communications and Information TechnologyRavi Shankar Prasad , AgricultureRadha Mohan Singh , Skill Development & Entrepreneurship (Independent Charge), Parliamentary AffairsRajiv Pratap Rudy , Petroleum and Natural Gas (Independent Charge)Dharmendra Pradhan , Drinking Water and SanitationRam Kripal Yadav and many more… and now is an bihari politician and a five time Member of Parliament. She was elected unopposed as the first woman Speaker of Lok Sabha and served from 2009 to 2014 (meira kumar) ,
    Attorney General of India
    L.N. Sinha .
    had been Governor Of Reserve Bank of India
    Lakshmi Kant Jha ,first president of india rajendra prasad , film director imtiaz ali from bihar,
    Manoj Tiwari won MP from delhi seat… , ohh shit indian team captain M.S MS Dhoni is from bihar ,Guru Gobind Singh was the last of the 10 Sikh Gurus was Born 22 December 1666 Patna, bihar

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Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

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Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

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MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

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A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

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As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

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