While American parents fret over Common Core standards and the pressure put on students to pass state equivalency exams, parents in Bihar, India, have taken their anxiety to a whole new level. Startling pictures have been released of parents and relatives in Bihar climbing as high as three and four stories in an effort to help students cheat on their state exams.
According to the BBC, cheating is a widespread problem, not just in Bihar but all over India. It’s not uncommon for students to smuggle in notes or textbooks despite the presence of security, and the Indian parents are only adding to the mayhem.
The exams issued by the Bihar School Examination Board began on Tuesday and proceed until March 24. There are an estimated 1.4 million students taking the exams, making it difficult for security to get a handle on the rampant cheating. Some reports indicate that Indian parents have gone to the extreme of hurling rocks at security officers in Bihar to offering the officers bribes to look the other way.
According to the Bihar School Examination Board, approximately 1,000 students have been caught cheating over the first two days of the examination process in Bihar, with a little more than half being expelled. Members of the Bihar education system note it’s not uncommon for students to have four to five relatives at a time attempting to help them cheat.
While the Indian government maintains they are doing everything within their means to prevent and stop the widespread cheating, the practice remains prevalent and much of the blame is being placed on the parents who are participating. Bihar Education Minister PK Shahi expressed frustration over the Indian government’s lack of ability to contain the situation.
“What can the government do to stop cheating if parents and relatives are not ready to cooperate? Should the government give orders to shoot them?”
The standardized testing in India is a fierce competition for limited opportunities for higher education and jobs. The exams, given during the 10th and 12th-grade years, are said to be rigorous and difficult, with the many students dropping out of school after failing them. While this seems like a logical explanation for why parents in Bihar are going to such extremes, some feel the failed exams point to a bigger problem with the infrastructure of the Indian educational system including a lack of actual education.
According to the Washington Post, students in India contend with a focus on rote learning and the high absentee rate of teachers. A recent study of the Indian educational system revealed 48 percent of fifth graders are reading at a second-grade level. This revelation may lead some to wonder if it’s not only cheaters who never prosper but also the students of India who are receiving a sub-par education.
What do you think? Would you go to the same lengths as parents in Bihar for your children?