The education sector in Assam has been hit by a series of controversies in recent times, as the State Board of Secondary Education (SEBA) and the Assam Higher Secondary Education Council (AHSEC) face criticism over the conduct of their final examinations. The scale of the problem is vast, with a plethora of officials, teachers, and other staff involved in the examination system, from the central team that prepares the question papers to district-level personnel tasked with overseeing the process.
The situation is dire, as corruption and negligence have plagued the system. It is suspected that question papers are leaked from the central team that prepares them, with insiders allegedly taking bribes to provide access to confidential documents. These leaks could happen at various stages in the process, from the printing press to the examination centers themselves.
Government teachers in charge of the examination centers have also come under suspicion, as the question papers have to be opened and distributed to students under their watch. Some students have even reported that their teachers have given them hints or answers during the exams.
The consequences of such irregularities go beyond just the immediate embarrassment and shame that comes with them. Hundreds of schools have been forced to close down due to poor results, while students and their families have suffered the financial burden of paying for the exams and related expenses.
Despite the severity of the problem, those in charge have not taken sufficient responsibility for the mess. While policy guidelines are issued, they are implemented by individuals who often lack the necessary values and sense of responsibility. In the absence of moral accountability, the cycle of corruption and negligence persists.
The need of the hour is for those who run the system to take greater personal responsibility for their actions and to instill a sense of social responsibility and values among those who work under them. Punitive action should be taken against those who break the rules, including corrupt officials and teachers who aid and abet them.
At the same time, society as a whole needs to introspect on its role in perpetuating such a system. The government and education minister may be held accountable for their failings, but they are ultimately a reflection of the broader society's values and priorities.
It is high time for all stakeholders to come together to fix the broken education system and provide students with the education and opportunities they deserve. The situation demands immediate action to restore the integrity and trust of the education system in Assam.
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