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Political Slugfest and Education

These days every issue under the sun appears to be becoming the casualty of political slugfest.  Starting from the primary healthcare to education, which should be the priority areas for any government in power in a welfare state like India, the issues are getting embroiled in an unending political blame game. What it has done is that year by year the political chicanery is destroying the crippling education and health system of the country. For instance, the leak of CBSE Class 10 and 12 examition papers tells a sorry state of affairs of the education system which has affected the careers of more than 20 lakh students. The political blame game which erupted just after the reports of leak became public is a case in point where the real issue has taken a back seat to hold guilty accountable for the mess; rather political oneupmanship  has taken the centrestage.
The sad part of the whole fiasco, which has put the career at stake of a whole lot of students, has been hijacked by the wily political class for taking electoral mileage. It is shocking that when handwritten answers of the Economics paper were circulated on Whatsapp groups — indicating that the question paper had been leaked — CBSE took no serious measure to stem the leak. If a leak of this kind happens regularly, it is very unfortute for the education system and not only the CBSE but for other bodies too, including the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) that controls education and should be held responsible for it.
There should be a high-level probe against all the agencies and officials who set the papers and those in charge of conducting the exams because this may not be one man’s job. But in reality nothing of this is happening as political leaders both in ruling and opposition parties have started mudslinging on the issue to score brownie points. Continuing with its attack on the rendra Modi-led tiol Democratic Alliance (NDA) government, the opposition Congress questioned why nobody in the government had taken up the responsibility in the case of the CBSE paper leak that rocked the country last week.The Congress party has used the paper leak to attack the NDA alleging that an ‘exam mafia’ is flourishing under the Central government.  The issue of CBSE paper leak has become a political lollipop ahead of 2019 general elections for opposition parties, whereas the ruling party is somehow trying to push the entire issue under the carpet without fixing any responsibility. In the entire episode, the career of 30 lakh students, who now stare at an uncertain future, has been jeopardized.
In Assam also, a similar situation concerning the education system is taking place. Former Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi and State Education Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma have gone hammer and tongs at each other inside and outside the Assam legislative Assembly recently,  with each blaming the other for the mess in which Assam Women’s University is in at present. The situation became such a passé that the Speaker of the House had to intervene as he urged both the senior leaders not to make an issue of education a political football. As the two leaders are locked in a war of words, the students and employees of the region’s first women’s university are crying on the streets for a solution.
AWU is the only women’s university in Assam as well as in the entire Northeast region, and was set up after the passing of the Assam Women’s University Act in 2013. As of now, it offers 13 postgraduate and two undergraduate degree courses.However, AWU has been functioning without a permanent Vice Chancellor (VC) since classes began in 2014. Instead, the VC of the Assam Agricultural University (AAU) was made in-charge as the ‘mentor’ of AWU. Two batches have already passed out. This shows the lack of clear lack of political will to fix the crisis.
In both the above instances, it is amply clear that the political class always and will continue to hold to ransom public and their issues. Turning every issue into a political football is the me of the game for politicians, be it in education or health that are basic to human beings. The political bankruptcy in the country has reached such a level that every issue is taken to its illogical conclusion through blame game overlapping the real issue. Sad for a democracy which prides itself in the powers of the masses, which is failing with alarming regularity.

About the author

Ankur Kalita