Published: 18th November 2019
How inhumane ways of ensuring exam discipline may not be setting the right precedent
Such drastic punishment methods come at a time when there are news reports of widespread fraud in medical seat allotment that involves impersonation as well as the support of politicians
Originally, blinkers were used on the bridle of a horse harness. Now, blinkers are part of traffic signals. From horse carriages and horse racing to traffic signal blinkers, blinders have come a long way and have now made their entry into examination halls. This was reported by Gangadhar Hugar of Express News Service under the headline, ‘Haveri college students forced to wear boxes on their heads during exams’. They were empty cardboard boxes with slits for forward vision and breathing.
According to the Express report, in order to prevent copying during exams, the college forced students to wear corrugated boxes on their head on October 18, 2019. Many, including Primary and Secondary Education Minister Suresh Kumar, have condemned the move. District Principals’ Association President said that the principal of Bhagat Pre-University College in Haveri has been removed by the Association. While writing their Chemistry exam, the students wore boxes on their heads to prevent talking or copying.
Shockingly, in order to show how they conducted exams using this method, a college official posted an image of this on social media. It went viral within no time and evoked angry responses from the public. The post was deleted once the management saw the backlash.
When it came to the notice of Deputy Director of Pre-University S S Pirjade, he rushed to the college and took the management and its staff to task. The DDPU asked them to justify their actions. Pirjade asked the students why they did not object to wearing the boxes. They said that the management and the staff did so against their wishes. Later, Pirjade issued a show-cause to the college administration asking why their affiliation should not be cancelled.
Terming the incident as ‘inhuman’, MLA Nehru Olekar said that the college has set a bad precedent, and it was not the way to prevent malpractices during the exam. Subsequent reports stated that the college would be closed from the next academic year. Such drastic punishment methods should be judged against the current scandals in competitive exams for medical seat allotment, involving the impersonation of examinees for medical seats for crores of rupees, and involving politicians or other administrators. Caught on the wrong foot, the Haveri college authorities said that they looked at the incidents reported from Bihar, where answers for the examinees were notoriously provided by outsiders standing on ladders that reached the exam hall windows. While on the subject, head-covering cardboard boxes can also conceal high-end communication micro-devices for discussing answers.