KATHMANDU, Sept 8: For Rs 350, you can get a one year worth of poorly written notes on Sociology. Add another Rs 150 or so, and you will get another poorly edited (or not) solution book. Add few more bucks and buy yourself some blank papers, a dot pen and start scribbling down answers on the paper with your best handwriting.
Make sure only you can understand it. Cut the cheats into sizes that you can skillfully maneuver from the seams of your shirt or the sides of your socks. There you go the art of cheating.
You will find many of these cheating connoisseurs lurking about in the exam centers - Tri-Chandra, Sankardev and the likes - with their calm and composed demeanors.
They have no face, they have no race; they look like you, they look like me; anonymous, ambiguous, and ambitious to pull off their schemes. As soon as you enter the classroom, the stiff wooden benches give off a rotten stink.
These benches have been etched with hours of sitting upright, listening to the lectures, and perhaps more hours of emptiness.
I sat down to appear for my first examination like thousands of students did that day. I searched for my roll number that had been ripped off from benches, fortunately found mine still intact and started drawing margins on the answer paper. I looked around (mainly for assurance) as students started to fill up the room.
The Ghantaghar chimed the hour and the examination had begun.
Like the elaborate delicacies that magically appear on the dining tables of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry (reference: Harry Potter) with the swift wave of the wand, cheats of different shades and sizes started to float around the room under the benches.
Students looked animated and enchanted with wisdom as they stole lines off the cheats and scribbled down the papers. Gutted and gusted, I realized there was no use; no use of the system, no use of the education, no use of the examination, no use of the complaining, and no use of the students.
There are many who are not personally opposed to the idea of cheating. There are many who believe that if the education system is wrong, the students are not to be blamed.
The students who attended classes will blame the absent professors, the professors who took the classes will blame the absent students, the absent students will blame the absent government, and the absent government will remain absent.
The blithe of blames will go around the merry-go-round and as the dizzying effect continues, I guess my four hours of academic integrity was brought down to shambles by the shame the reality I was injected with.
Someone from behind shouted. I didn’t even want to bother turning around but the commotion picked up the heat. One of the invigilators in the room had stapled a cheat he had found on a student along with her answer paper and this the student found unfair. She protested while the other students were given “warnings”, she was not even given that chance.
She stomped her feet, flung her arms, and began to sob. A sight that I will never forget. There she was, crying because she was caught cheating and the evidence was clipped onto her paper.
I did not want to sympathize with her but then I also did not want to pat the invigilator on his back. There was something very ugly about this whole matter. The rest of the room was busy regurgitating cheats after cheats; the rest of the hundreds of rooms that day were busy cheating knowledge.
I started to imagine where these contaminated answer papers would go, get enlisted, marked, ranked, and printed off into a sheet of paper that announced “the result”: the result?
The result of hours of preparing cheats, and the result of hours of cheating off the cheats; all of a sudden the result did not look that promising.