By Heather Farrell
300 people have been arrested and 600 students have been expelled in India this past week in relation to a huge cheating scandal in the northeastern state of Bihar.
10th graders across India were taking what are referred to as board exams. These exams determine the students’ educational futures. The best colleges and universities in the country will only admit students with a score of 95 percent or better.
About 30 percent of Indian citizens are considered poor. Students who go to the better schools are more likely to get a well-paying job such as a doctor or engineer. Therefore, students are under pressure to perform well on these exams. The test scores provide students with the ability to change their families’ living conditions for the better.
In Bihar, parents and family members climbed the walls of the school and sent cheat sheets in through the windows. In wealthier schools, answers were shared electronically and officials were bribed to ignore the cheating.
Officials from the government have tried to hinder the nation-wide cheating. Cameras have been placed in examination halls and those caught condoning cheating are being punished.
Officials say the laws and regulations can only prevent so much. People need to change their attitudes toward cheating. Students think that in order to do better than their cheating classmate, they need to also cheat.
“The government cannot stop cheating in exams,” states P.K. Shahi, Bihar’s education minister. “It is also the responsibility of the society to ensure a cheating-free exam.”