This year the Dhaka Tribune ran stories on incidents of question leaks that occurred in different exams throughout the year. Among all the messages our Facebook page receives every day (that include “Please be my girlfriend”, “Give me info of CIA”), we stumbled upon one particular message that we felt was alarming.
It was from a Junior School Certificate (JSC) candidate asking for leaked questions.
Now there are different ways to look at it.
Firstly, a JSC candidate is usually aged between 13 to 14 years. A few years ago, a 13 year old would search for notes before exam days. Today many JSC candidates look for the most dangerous shortcut to pass an exam.
While there could be different sources of leaked questions, this particular individual had the audacity to inbox a newspaper for wrongful means. Now before you jump to a conclusion, it is important to understand the key factors that led to his attempt.
Also Read- JSC – Questions for every exam so far leaked
While most would refrain from inboxing an organisation that has publication authority, the candidate sought help from the exact newspaper that was publishing news on what he was exactly wanting.
The Dhaka Tribune's wide coverage of news could be a point of relevance he could find to inbox the page, which brings us to the second point: desperation. What would you do when everyone around you has leaked questions already? Whose help do you sought? Where do you look for the question papers?
At this point, you are likely to not study because who cares, right? What we're doing is letting students, regardless of merit, resort to cheating and setting a narrative that hard labour means nothing.
The teenager considered leaked questions to be his only way out. Why you ask? He repetitively sent messages requesting the page to respond. The desperation reached such a point, he risked his own identity. He sent us a picture of his JSC examination ID card.
Previously desperation during exams would mean a Tk500 note inside an answer sheet asking the examiner to let the student pass. Today's desperation definition reflects the frustration a student feels because of the cumulative culture of normalising question leakage.
Finally, his attempt at risking his identity didn't scare him as much as the idea of how simply he did was to us. It's wrong to assume his previous attempts before reaching out to the Dhaka Tribune. But it isn't hard to imagine the different layers that exist beyond our knowledge.
Today question leakage is so simple that it's been done in broad daylight. With a top-down culture of impunity, the system has also grasped parents and teachers who engage in the act with a similar level of desperation.
The message of the JSC candidate not only speaks of his own values, but also of the values we as a society have upheld. It makes me imagine the rockbottom of the ignorance we have hit. It scares me of the possibility of a graver step our generation could take.