Bihar’s lost glory of education

“Political leadership of the state has not paid heed to the current situation [of education] for a long time. In a state where poverty and illiteracy is rampant, education is the first step to build a better future”

Arunit Ajay Singh | June 15, 2016


#Bihar education system   #Bihar topper   #education   #corruption  


“Political science is actually pronounced as ‘prodigal science’ and it is a subject on cookery.” This statement is not coming from a kindergarten kid who is trying to make sense of a term which he has heard for the first time. This in fact is the statement of this year’s Bihar board class XII Humanities topper.

This only gets worse when you realise that the science topper has absolutely no idea about the periodic table. And on top of that, this person wants to be a doctor someday. Imagine a doctor who has no idea what a pulse is.
 
This particular topic has garnered huge media coverage. For many people, this has come as a shock. Frankly, I am hardly surprised. Let me give you a little background about myself. I was born in Saharsa (Bihar).  As soon as I was old enough to start schooling, I was sent to a boarding school in Darjeeling. 

As of now, I study in class XII at Delhi Public School, R K Puram. 

As a child, I resented my parents. I just couldn’t understand why I had to leave my house, my friends, my family and most of all my mother, to get education in a ‘land far, far away’ where I didn’t know anyone. My home town had decent schools. All my other friends were enrolled in these schools. I just couldn’t make sense of it.
 
But as I grew up, I started putting things in perspective. There was a massive difference between the kind of education provided in a boarding school in Darjeeling and schools around my birth place. On top of that one would always hear about corruption in the education system; in the form of cheating in exams or asking for favours from teachers, right before the results are set to be announced. It’s 2016, and frankly things are getting worse.
 
However, there is a completely different facet of the state of Bihar that people are unaware of.
Bihar produces the largest number of civil servants every year. Engineers, doctors and countless inspiring individuals, who have made the society a better place, have hailed from Bihar. They come from the same humble background as I did or a child from the lower middle class does. But despite the incredibly flawed education system, they somehow manage to make sense of it all and leave their mark on the world.
 
But I don’t understand is why such capable students have to fight against all odds to achieve success? Why the state doesn’t provide a transparent system which ensures that people, who deserve success, achieve it?

As I mentioned earlier, it is scary to think that a student who probably bought his results will one day become a doctor and heal people. According to media reports, the toppers are students of Vishun Roy College in Bhagwanpur of Vaishali district.

Allegedly, the director of the educational institute has close relations with some leaders of the grand alliance. With the help of some members of the Bihar Board, he has been running this whole racket for some time now, due to which the college has high number of merit holding students. 

Last year, photographs of hundreds of family members scaling walls of a Bihar school building to help students cheat in the Class X board exams had left the nation gaping in disbelief and raised questions regarding the education system in the state. These reports are probably just scratching the surface of the huge scandal that has been taking place for years.
 
This flawed structure obviously has to change. But people who have taken favours in order to move forward in society have to understand the important aspects of their flawed future.

Later in their lives, these students won't have access to knowledge they never learned in the first place. Cheating not only affects the trust of college teachers, but also people in their personal life – parents, siblings, friends and significant others.
One needs to understand that the willingness to cheat shows the limitedness of ones ethics.  Maybe as students, it is difficult to understand all these things, but parents and teachers have to take these points into consideration.
 
Political leadership of the state has not paid heed to the current situation for a long time. In a state where poverty and illiteracy is rampant, education is the first step to build a better future. Mediocrity should be discouraged. There should be extreme transparency when it comes to results.
 
People often say that what we are taught in school doesn’t really come handy in real life situations. But education is not about what will come handy, it is about the discipline, the morals and the knowledge that you gain through it.  It will make you who you are. An individual has to decide what kind of human being he or she wants to be. A parent has to decide what kind of upbringing their children should get in order to face the world. And lastly, the leadership should decide the kind of educated youths they want for the state of Bihar.
 
The great Nalanda University opened almost 800 years after Bakhtiyar Khilji destroyed it. And I am sure that in no time it will reach the pedestal that it truly deserves to be on.  We need to do the same with our education system. We have to start rebuilding again. Our glorious state had a glorious past and I am sure it has a glorious future. We just need to fix the present situation so that we don’t have to wait another 65 years to have a president of our nation who hails from Bihar.
 
The state's education department had constituted a three-member committee to probe into the matter of this year's intermediate toppers and Vishun Roy College. This committee under the leadership of Sanjeevan Sinha, MD Bihar State Education Infrastructure Development Corporation, was asked to submit a report by the June 20. Another committee had been constituted by the Bihar School Examination Board (BSEB) to waive off the criticism that it is suffering. It was headed by Ghnashyam Prasad, retd. High Cour Judge and other members like G.P.Shrisvastav, retd. district judge and Mithu Prasad,  an IPS Officer. These committees were just formed on the face of it, without any actual motive to investigate the matter. They were just an assurance that action is being taken while nothing is happening.
 
The chief minister of Bihar dissolved both the committees and asked for criminal cases to be lodged against the toppers and other people involved. A FIR has been lodged against the science topper, Saurabh Shrestha, third topper Rahul Kumar and arts topper, Ruby Ray in Kotwali Thana, Patna under the sections 420, 465, 467, 471, 120B of IPC on June 6. Inspector Anand Kumar will investigate the case. The CM's demand for a police investigation is a good step but this deep rooted racket demands more stringent action. The matter has gathered great attention and to leave it without much action would be seen as a defect of the state government and its education department. The scandal further gives way to the already dampening legacy of Bihar's education.
 
Moreover, the parents and the students are equally responsible for spoiling the education system.
The society and the common people of Bihar were aware of these unfair practices in the examinations but are at fault for never opposing it or raising a voice against it. The education sector demands more intervention from parents and public to lift up the state's education system.

Everyone should act fast and act now. We will have to collectively work towards a meaningful future so that no parent has to send their children outside the state to get education.


 
Arunit is a class 12 student of Delhi Public School at RK Puram
 

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