Invigilation is not an easy job to manage, says Radha Prathi
We have just left behind the examination season behind. The hard work of teachers and students of one long academic year has finally culminated in these final examinations. The answer scripts were duly evaluated and in most cases, the results are there for all to see.
Several students feel victimised when they get results that do not construe to their performance or expectations. While oversight, pressure, carelessness, greed for earning more, gross indifference among other factors are the possible causes for inept evaluation, there is much to be said for the process in which the examinations are conducted.
Examination halls are testing grounds for the integrity of a student. A brief conversation with a wide spectrum of teachers and students revealed the dark and ugly side of examinations.
Despite having a well researched system in place ,complete with logical seating arrangements, invigilators, superintendent of examinations, and a squad to check in on them, there are plenty of instances where students do not hesitate to cheat and copy.
Sometimes the teachers who double up as invigilators look the other way and encourage mal-practice.
On strict conditions of anonymity one lecturer in a high profile college revealed that the teaching faculty who went on rounds during examinations helped out students with their answers and charged the students for their ‘services’.
A brief analysis of this disheartening situation bared some well known information to be the root cause of this syndrome. In India, the educational calibre of a person is determined by the marks obtained in the board and university examinations. There is a mighty pressure on the student to do well by his/her parents, teachers and the peer group. On the other hand, the increment of teachers is determined on the basis of the performance of their students. The managements of educational institutions are concerned with increasing or at least maintaining the number of students enrolling year after year.
Of course, none of these reasons are justification enough. Serious students, honest teachers and parents with integrity feel short-changed, alienated and hurt when they are ridiculed for being so. Nevertheless they have decided to stand by their core values.
Melvyn, a plumber and father of two sons who have completed their board exams SSLC & PUC examinations respectively, said, “My sons worked hard and studied well, but some of their classmates resorted to copying and hampered their spirits.”
Farida Begum, a teacher of twenty years remarks, “Under-performers always try to cheat; we usually let them off with a warning because we do not want them to get debarred for malpractice which can prove to be detrimental to their future.”
Bharathi, another experienced teacher said that even the best of students get restless towards the last fifteen minutes and look around and try to check their answers. The students do not mind even talking loudly to compare their answers a few minutes before handing over their papers. In such cases invigilators do not get a chance to take any kind of action because they are busy collecting the answer scripts.
Natarajan, a principal of a degree college preferred to abort the misdeed and send the errant student away from the examination hall in cases of extreme indiscipline.
Hesitant to punish
Ganapathy a retired professor of history drew a strange analogy with reference to the Indian psychology. He said that just like Indians refrain from speaking ill about the dead; they also do not like to pin down a student’s errant ways for the fear of landing them in grave trouble.
Kalpana a young teacher confessed that she felt extremely incompetent to carry out her invigilation impeccably because the examinees distracted her from time to time to carry out their reprehensible deeds.
A senior superintendent of examinations of a reputed university said that when students have been debarred for mal-practice there have been instances of bad blood and sincere teachers have had to “pay dearly” for their “folly.”
Hemalatha a lecturer of physics in a rural government college recalls marking malpractice to a certain student which resulted in his being debarred from his final year BSc examinations during her maiden year of teaching. Exactly nine years later her son, a regular topper was marked fail in Physics. Revaluation procedures revealed that her “old student” who had turned a lecturer and wanted to “teach her a lesson” to make her understand the “pain of losing one academic year”.
Honesty not cool?
The ugly scene in the examination hall has left little to be desired. It is amazing to note that students who want to do everything right when it comes to food, clothing or style do not think twice about conduct and ethics.
If one wants to return sanctity to the realms of these testing grounds it becomes imperative that policies should be fine tuned and delinquent students should not be handled with kid gloves. Besides it is important for parents and teachers to instill the youngsters with a sense of honour and integrity through example.
(The names of teachers and lecturers have been changed to protect their identity.)