EDITORIAL: Make exams ethical

The authorities should take all the steps required to ensure that the exams are fair and nobody should be allowed to use unethical means in the process

As per the directive of the Tribhuvan University Executive Committee (TUEC) the Institute of Medicine Examination Control Division has decided to cancel the MBBS entrance exams that were held on October 14. The notice of the Institute of Medicine (IoM) states that fresh entrance examinations for the students aspiring to become doctors would be held on December 2.  The IoM canceled the examination on November 19. This drastic measure had to be taken because of the widespread irregularities that took place while holding the entrance examinations for the MBBS course. The TUEC had asked the IoM to cancel the exams and it had sent a letter to this effect to the IoM on November 16. It is reported that the questions for the MBBS exams of IoM were leaked on October 14 when the exams were taking place. This is indeed a grave violation of exams ethics and the concerned had done the right thing by scrapping the examinations.

The TUEC had reached the conclusion that there were rampant cheating during the examinations as per the report of the TU investigation committee’s report. The police reports also confirm that the examinations were conducted in an unethical manner. The report also took note of the report submitted by the committee formed by the Nepal Medical Council. Some examinees were found using wireless devises to cheat. The questions were passed on to, among others, doctors and also the educational consultancy officials. The cheating examinees paid a handsome amount to the racketeers. The police had taken custody of over two dozen persons who included students, fake ones and others helping some students to cheat during the examination.

Many students resort to unfair means in not only the MBBS exams but in also in other disciplines. This is hard on diligent students who work very hard in order to pass the entrance examinations. Some students also resort to cheating because of the high expectation of their parents and guardians who want their wards to become doctors by every means possible many of which are unethical as displayed during the examinations taken on October 14. With the announcement for the new date for the fresh MBBS examinations the students are again required to prepare for the exam which is an arduous task. Meanwhile, the IoM should be well prepared for the fresh MBBS examination. They should stop the irregularities taking place during the examination. Examination papers have been leaked on many occasions in the past as well and something needs to be done to halt this malpractice.  Therefore, the authorities should take all the steps required in order to ensure that the examinations are fair and nobody should be allowed to use unethical means in order to pass the exams. Meanwhile, those indulging in cheating and also helping them to cheat should receive the sternest possible action so that this measure can act as a deterrent. Among the measures to be taken would be to not permit the cheating students from taking the entrance exams in the future. This harsh measure should be taken as the last resort to prevent cheating in the exams.

Toilets sans water

Unavailability of toilets for girls and the poor condition of sanitation has led to frequent absence of girl students in many public schools in the rural areas. During menstruation the girl students remain absent for four days from schools as whatever toilets there may be in the schools do not have enough water supply. The girls have no other option than to come back home if they have period during school hours. Worse, most girl students do not have sanitary pads to use during the period.

The government has spent billions of rupees to increase the girls’ enrollment at schools. But the money spent on girl education has yielded little results in rural areas where public schools do not have reliable provision for water for drinking and toilet use. This is a serious problem and all schools must address it by mobilizing resources for building toilets along with the provision of water. The girl students should also be provided with sanitary pads so that they need not worry about their hygiene. The school toilets must be kept neat and clean which is not possible without running water. The school management must give priority to this issue.