LET ME SAY
There are 256 messages in my inbox --- all ask, what is your result? Dhaka Medical College, Shaheed Suhrawardy or others? Please remember, I appeared at the exam with all my efforts and hard work, not by buying the question paper. I was so resolute for getting admission that I ignored a major kidney operation of mine. My weight fell down to 37 kilogrammes. But I didn't let my hope give in....I do not want to study anywhere in that country which doesn't appreciate merit."
After the Medical College admission test result had been published on Sunday last, I found this woebegone Facebook status of a girl, Pushpa, who could not avail herself a seat in any medical college despite doing good. Nothing but condolence was on offer for her on behalf of the common people, who have no capacity (either financial or ethical or both) to buy a question paper.
The social media and different online newspapers have been flooded with comments of the users and readers. Some showed sympathy, some criticised the authorities' role. Meanwhile, the Director of the Department of Health (Education), A B M Abdul Hannan, argued that it's wrong to allege a leakage of the question paper after the exam, which had held satisfactorily and transparently. (Prothom Alo, 20 Sept 2015). Note these two words --- 'satisfactorily' and 'transparently.' Don't these seem to have been used before? Maybe a recycling of words is more frequent in the authority's statements these years. The director perhaps forgot that candidates protested quite some time before publishing the result. By the way, many in the social media have expressed their sheer frustration with the authorities' denial syndrome despite the fact of that similarities have been found in the actual question paper and the leaked one. Most people questioned the holding of the exam on questions that were allegedly available at Tk 15 only (according to a candidate in his Facebook post) or sometimes without any cost!
Robin Chowdhury, another Facebook user, showed frustration --- "the HSC questions were leaked in 2014. Dr Zafar Iqbal set forth the evidence in the Shaheed Minar protest. But the education minister refused to accept that. The Dhaka Education Board Chairman claimed that candidates found questions common from their suggestion papers. Interestingly we were made realise for the first time that even the creative questions came word for word from so-called suggestion guides of the markets!"
There were ample instances that question papers of PSC, JSC, SSC and HSC exams had been made available on Facebook in recent years. They were sent from one inbox to the other within moments with the blessings of modern technology. There was made a hue and cry all around. The civil society delivered ballyhoo speeches in newspapers or on TV screens. Combing operation was conducted as a consequence, as was promised by the education minister. Several offenders were nabbed too. But question leak could not be stopped. Like every other regular incident, the medical admission test questions have been leaked this year. The government body on its part has swiftly rejected the allegation, as such bodies usually do.
A couple of days back, a University Grants Commission assistant director along with his two assistants was detained by a RAB team on the charge of leaking questions of the medical admission test. Later it was confirmed by the RAB that the group is also responsible for leaking questions of other public as well as public recruitment exams! And that the assistant director was, by that time, preparing for his wife's answer script for a job under National Judicial Service Commission. The RAB team also discovered highly-technological equipment from that official's house, which he had imported from China. But without delay the result was out, despite the fact that candidates had formed a human chain and chanted slogans demanding the cancellation of the exam and the result. A lawyer also filed a writ in the court applying for remedy of three things --- cancelling the test result, holding a new test and an investigation of the question leak. In spite of all these, why were the authorities in a rush to publish the result against which candidates and civil society might raise questions of logicality? Might it not create a probable room for those, who have been held, to get acquittal? That is food for thought, really.
Already the job markets have shrunk space-wise for the meritorious due mainly to the quota system and corruption. And now space in case of education has been attacked with every corrupt might. Students' so-called craze for becoming doctors and their parents' dire obsession with fulfilling their dreams by making their children doctors have turned the admission test into a rat race. They don't look back before spending money, be it Tk 15 or 15 lakh. What do you think? It is completely the depletion of values-based education. Parents with their own hands are nipping humanity and values in their children. Won't these would-be doctors lose faith of the people who embed them as God's representatives? What will these children make of? Doctors? Impossible. They are going to be butchers devoid of humanity and rectitude, who will have no compassion for patients but insatiability for money only. Don't they have to realise what they have invested to become doctors!
Let's end for the day with a story from a particular Facebook user. Once at midnight, a father suddenly woke up with chest pain on his left side. He murmured to his wife, asking her to take him to a hospital. The wife didn't pay heed and told him to call their doctor son. The father, instead, called the servants and asked them to take him to a hospital. The son asked why his father wanted to go to hospital while he himself was a doctor. The father replied, "It is I who better know how I have made you a doctor. How much money I had to pay to collect the questions!"
The story is an allegory. Let's hope and pray that we do not have to see such stories coming true in future.
Kamal Hosen is Editorial Assistant, The Daily Observer. Email: [email protected]