The Mathematical Tragedy!

Enam Lone

maths-columnWhenever the sound of the word “tragedy” rings in one’s mind, it conjures up something that is seemingly rarer than other happenings, apart from the negative frequency that it travels with.

But when it comes to where we live, tragedies are not so uncommon. They have essentially become an integral part of our day-to-day affairs.

They can vary from social, political, economic, moral and academic etc. The latest addition to the unending list was the mathematics paper of class 12 students of the valley.

Speaking from a student’s point of view, the mental state of a student, when he steps inside the examination hall, is altogether a different one. It is beyond explanations, experienced by only the student himself.

There is always this unsatisfied appetite that unnerves the students greatly, no matter how hard and long they might have gone through each tiny detail of the subject.

The insecurity of having slipped or skipped something that might manage to appear as a 5 or 6 mark question in the question paper or that fear of forgetting something that may be asked as well.  Such apprehensions always lurk in the mind of a common student and may come to haunt them quite easily, and seriously.

As such, every single development that is related to the conduct of examination makes a pretty huge impact on the student, and anything untoward in the process can greatly affect their psychological setup.

But the mismanagement of such sensitive affairs is not anything new to us. The people that are entrusted with responsibilities of this magnitude not only fail to deliver honestly time and again, but also have the audacity to justify their wrongs.

And then we get to witness the whole process getting politicized, much to the horror of the poor students. In the end it’s the student who becomes a scapegoat and is made to suffer for mistakes committed by others.

The students of class 12 met with a similar fate when they got one-to-one with the “adventures” of such people on the day of their mathematics examination.

They were seen complaining and crying about it right from the moment they were given their question papers. The ensuing environment of panic was enough to make it quite challenging for them to solve even those questions that they could otherwise have solved, under “normal circumstances”.

Naturally it had to influence every single student differently. Not everyone can withstand such tremors easily. Some managed to attempt a good number of questions while others were just mute spectators. Protests and demand for justice followed.

They were given assurances that the matter will be seriously “looked into” and the erring officials shall be “dealt with”.

However after almost fifteen days, when the authorities felt their necks getting strangled from every direction, we got to listen to their “Judgement”, grace marks. Moreover the paper-setter was barred from devising question papers for some time.

Both these things, obviously, point to their acknowledgment of the blunder that was committed.

When you acknowledge and realize your mistake, the best and only thing you can do about it is to try and rectify it, and limit the damage that it has caused.

Barring the paper-setter doesn’t compensate for the loss that the students may have incurred.

A re-examination, optional one, could have done more damage control than a couple of grace marks, read ‘charity-marks’ as one of the students was quoted saying.

It is also a noteworthy fact that a score below 50 or so in mathematics makes it almost impossible for a student aspiring to opt for engineering (or other technical courses that base their merit on the score fetched in class 12th mathematics) to get admission in a good institution.

One can only lament this unfortunate and tragic event as well as the following “verdict”. For it can discourage the students quite badly and jeopardize their career as well. The people at the helm of affairs need to take such matters more seriously, and reign in their expedition-hungry staff.

If only, of course, they are to deliver services that are expected of them.


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