As question paper leaks during public examinations have become a mundane phenomenon in the country, educationists and experts warn that the continuous malpractice of leaking question scripts will bring the education system to its knees with dire consequences for the nation for years to come.
As is the case with examinations in the previous years, the country has witnessed multiple question leaks during this year’s Secondary School Certificate (SSC) examination, which will conclude today. Experts said the government must take responsibility for their failure to control those involved in such crimes.
Talking about the effects of question leaks on the country’s education system, eminent educationist Prof Emeritus Serajul Islam Choudhury told the Dhaka Tribune: “… a few students are benefiting from the leaked scripts, but it has dire consequences for all examinees and for the entire nation. Ruining a country’s education system means the total destruction of the nation.”
Drawing a comparison between substance abuse and question leaks, Prof Syed Manzoorul Islam of English department at Dhaka University observed that both the crimes pose serious threats to the nation.
A syndicate has long been involved in leaking questions, the consequences of which are already visible in higher education and professional fields, he said.
Manzoorul further said: “Since questions get leaked way before the start of exams, students are not paying attention to their lessons, and teachers are losing their interest in proper teaching as well. If students pass their exams without even learning anything, they will not be able to make independent decisions at work.
“Though there are thousands of educated people in Bangladesh, foreign citizens have occupied almost all the top positions in different sectors. This is because of our faulty education system.”
“On the one hand, Bangladeshi expatriates send remittances by working hard, and on the other hand, foreigners working in Bangladesh take the money and send it to their countries. This indicates that we have failed to transform our population into a competent, skilled workforce.”
Bangladeshi students are talented enough, but their talents and aptitude are getting spoiled due to question leaks. If this concern cannot be addressed immediately, the country will fail to produce competent leaders in professional fields and intellectuals in the academic arena, he warned.
While the entire nation grapples with question leaks and voices concerns about it, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s recent remarks about the leaks were frustrating, said educationists. They also asked whether the government really intends to meaningfully address the problem
On Monday, the prime minister told a press conference at her official residence the Ganabhaban that the leaking of the SSC question papers was nothing new.
“It has been going on for decades. Sometimes it gets publicity and sometimes it does not, this is the reality,” she said.
Educationist Shyamali Nasreen Chowdhury said the coaching centers and a section of teachers were involved in leaking question scripts, but they largely remain unpunished. “This is why the crime cannot be prevented.”
She also said: “Our children are facing a dark future. This is a grave situation which the government should address immediately. The ‘coaching business’ must be stopped.”
Nasreen, chairperson of Bangladesh Nari Progati Sangha, underlined the need to build a knowledge-based society so the young generation can come forward to contribute to the country’s development.
Slating the existing education system, Prof Serajul said as students are required to take too many examinations and have now become dependent on the coaching centers, where they actually memorize their lessons, instead of learning anything useful.
“As our education system is result- and job-oriented, the coaching centres can easily attract students with the promise of helping them pass their exams and attain good scores.”
“The government has failed to prevent the ‘coaching business’ as it failed to stop the question leaks. The education minister should resign if he is unable to prevent the leaking of question scripts.”
The government has earned credit for its successful drives against militancy and terrorism, but its reputation has been tainted by its failure to prevent the question leaks, the experts observed.
Ryhan Rhyne, associate professor of philosophy at Jahangirnagar University, said: “The country is heading towards a moral disaster as question paper leaks have become an epidemic. The government can trace those involved in causing communal violence and spreading hate speech on social media sites, but it fails to find those who are leaking questions.”