Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Millions of students at risk of being affected by Indian elite exam scam

(Al Jazeera Media Network) India’s top examinations for admissions into medical schools and research programs have come under unprecedented scrutiny amid mounting evidence of corruption and paper leaks, leaving the future of more than three million students hanging in the balance.

The National Testing Agency (NTA), an autonomous body under India’s Ministry of Education that is responsible for holding the nationwide examinations, is at the centre of these controversies over the integrity of the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET), a national exam for medical aspirants held last month.

The exam results on June 4 revealed irregularities in marks and a dramatically high number of toppers, with a wave of arrests in different parts of the country for alleged paper leaks and multimillion-dollar cheating scams.

Since then, several students have approached the Supreme Court and state high courts, staged protests in the scorching heat and organized campaigns on social media platforms demanding independent probes and a re-examination. About 2.4 million candidates took the NEET, competing for 100,000 spots in medical schools.

On 19 June, Narendra Modi’s newly formed coalition government cancelled the National Eligibility Test (NET) that selects candidates for public-funded research fellowships, just a day after one million students wrote the paper. This followed reports that questions had been leaked “in the darknet” and were circulated on Telegram, said Dharmendra Pradhan, India’s education minister, on Thursday.

The minister, however, did not specify how the paper was compromised. “Question leak is an institutional failure from the NTA. We are assuring that there will be a reform committee and action will be taken,” he said. “We will not compromise on transparency. Students’ welfare is our priority.”

Meanwhile, leaders of India’s opposition and legal experts have criticized the Modi government over its failure to crack down on corruption in the country’s elite exams that determine who goes on to become doctors and scholars.

“The NTA literally has one job to do [to conduct exams], and it has failed miserably,” said Rishi Shukla, a law research scholar in Lucknow, who has aided multiple legal petitions against the NTA.

“Millions of students’ careers and lives are at risk. The discrepancies in these examinations carry a smell of large-level corruption in the system.”

 

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2024/6/21/millions-of-students-at-risk-indias-elite-exams-hit-by-corruption-scam

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