Cracking The Whip

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Arshid Malik

The government has not only decided to crack the whip on mass copying in Kashmir but has actually dealt severely with people involved in the act, including teachers, students and affiliates who are party to the act. But is this a step in the right direction?

Mass copying is a terrible menace which not only haunts Kashmir but is widespread across the whole country with Bihar topping the list – even though Bihar has turned into a mass copying stereotype due to too much exposes and media hype and the subsequent intervention of the honorable Courts of India. It is but understood that whenever this menace afflicts education and examination systems in any region it has to be dealt with stringently because, as the general impression goes, mass copying leads to the creation of a pseudo-educated class whose basic standard of education is comparatively much lower when compared to those who pass off their merit. This particular class of pseudo-educated people eventually turns into an infestation that gradually leads to the degeneration of the standards of living and the quality of life which is basically assured to the rest of the people by democratic countries like India, and this is a belief generally held. So, I would say it is an intrinsic attack on democracy itself, if I am not taking things too far. But the question that beseeches our attention is what exactly leads to the phenomenon of mass copying. We send our children to schools and colleges to study and we put every earned penny on stake to offer them the best possible education, depending on what our means are, and then eventually these very children, youngsters prefer copying in bulk – our investment down the drain. There is a possible issue of values involved here, which needs to be studied at a microscopic level and to be discussed threadbare. “Cracking the whip” may not actually be a solution because mass copying is a phenomenon and it has developed over a certain period of time. It is highly adaptive and reticent to pressure like cockroaches which have infested the earth for thousands of years and if analysts and researchers are to be believed they will be the sole survivors of a nuclear downpour. These creatures survive because they adapt and such is the case with mass copying. Since the mechanisms employed for mass copying do not pertain to any rule books, these keep on changing, metamorphosing into something new and unidentifiable thoroughly resistant and immune to our means and methods of controlling and curbing it.

Mass copying is bad but what is worse is the fact that actually our system of education encourages it. On the how and why of it I will deliberate and to start off I will start with some random questions. How good do you think our government run schools are; what is the quality of education imparted to students in these schools; how well groomed and scrutinized are the teachers who teach these kids; how minutely is the overall performance of these institutions of education scrutinized by the concerned authorities; how long has it been since the syllabi from top to bottom at the school and college level has been revamped to put it par with international standards? Same goes for privately run educational institutions and here the scope of queries widens to a point that is not at all containable. How much does a school teacher earn? How many parallel institutions do we have in place for upgrading the skills of these teachers? How do you rate (or berate) the current educational system? AS for the kids, how well do we teach them? Have we dispensed off corporal punishment? In a nutshell is the establishment in control of education in the state?

I would like to make certain assertions.

I am personally aware that teachers in schools pay little heed to teaching in class and usually are eyeing students for private tuitions.

If we talk about an average student, I am sure that he or she does not get his or her due in the classroom.

When we talk about teaching, the very topic being taught should appeal so much to the incumbent that he or she should delve into it in detail. This is just not the case.

I have experienced through kids in the family that attention for detail is not allowed by teachers and the focus is always on scoring better.

Children who are creative are discouraged over and over till they reach a point in their lives where they begin thinking of themselves as mere commodities.

The systems of learning that are currently employed even by the best of schools in the valley are passé. This is since almost every child, I stress, almost every child has access to internet, cable television and a wide array of gaming consoles. The means and methods have changed at home yet the schools stick to hackneyed systems of imparting education.

Very little or sometimes no emphasis is laid on elementary and practical teaching. Students are taught subjects in isolation, away from real life, so the whole thing turns monotonous and with the thrill of Bollywood, Hollywood, social networking et al schooling takes the back seat.

There are thousands of reasons one can isolate to make the point that our education system is completely pathetic.

Now let us move on to the social integration and cross-integration of schooling in our very own society. There was a time when the only aspect parents and guardians of students focused on was education, the very literal meaning of the term. Now, the focus has shifted and education as a system has been commercialized, by parents as well as the fraternity which runs educational institutions. The parents expect their kids to score better for they are still under the impression that better scores mean better jobs and better jobs means heavier earnings (even though the reality has totally changed the world over and the focus has shifted to acumen, intellect and integrity while selecting a capable team of workers). Heavier earnings is the catch word. What for? We are making our very sustenance impossible. So schools are factories which churn children in batches, coded for purchase. And schools, the style suits them. Schools are essentially established to mint money. Look at the admission fees, monthly fee structure and all of every school in the valley. So schools and parents are surviving in mutually beneficial environs while the students suffer.

I conclude on the point that mass copying is a phenomenon invented not by the students or teachers but by the educational system itself which has allowed and to some point led to mass production of qualified kids. The latter have only adopted what they were meted out. Dealing with this issue which has overgrown itself is not a simple matter and thus “cracking” the traditional “whip” is not a solution but only a temporary containment.

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