THE BODY RESPONSIBLE FOR CONDUCTING competitive tests for admission to professional courses and recruitment for government jobs in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh – VYAvsayik PAriksha Mandal (#Vyapam for short), a.k.a Madhya Pradesh Professional Examination Board (MPPEB) is at the heart of a storm that exposes the natural consequences of having a deeply flawed education system and the extent to which this has been  exploited by all interests.  Everything you wanted to know about #Vyapam but afraid to ask has been neatly set out at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vyapam_Scam  The fact that malpractices were in vogue since the 1990s indicates how deep rooted the malaise is and moreover if the investigations were allowed to proceed truly and freely several thousands of professional degrees that went through the “Vyapam drill” would stand de-recognised.

NOW TAKE THIS REPORT that appeared in the Times of India on June 16, 2015:

Only 0.6% of those who take the AIPMT (All India Pre-medical Entrance Test) crack it. That is an unbelievably high stakes game for a mind boggling 99.4% failing to crack the exam.  Over 630,000 students took the test in 2014. The total number of MBBS (medical) seats in the country is 52,300. Government colleges have a little under 25,000 seats. The all-India quota is 15% excluding institutions like AIIMS and JIPMER. Therefore lakhs vie for around 3700 seats. That is where the 0.6% success rate comes from.  Even if all 52,000 seats were up for grabs only 8% aspirants would make it.

Government medical college seats are coveted for offering education at highly subsidised rates costing between Rs 25,000 and Rs 75,000 for a 4.5 year course and most of these offer better quality education.  The private sector offers just 19,000 seats , if we leave out the management quota (approximately 30 pct of seats) which are sold for Rs 5,500,000 and  Rs 8,000,000.  Private colleges charge between Rs 1,500,000 to Rs Rs 4,000,000 for the MBBS course and most aren’t known for quality education.

WITH SO MANY CHASING SO FEW SEATS, and with little governance overseeing the scramble, fraud is bound to occur – not just with candidates supplied with shirts built with a blue tooth chip stitched to them but also with tiny earphones and SIM cards.  Politicians, senior officials, businessmen, middlemen, and anxious parents are all involved and over 40 persons have so far been touched with the kiss of death ever since the investigations got under way – the whistleblowers wondering when their turn would arrive !! Starting with invigilators, and impersonators, and culminating with valuation of papers (not to speak of the leakage of question papers), the entire system has been abused to such an extent that you only have to specify a degree – you will get it for a price.

IN #NARENDRA MODI’s WELL-MEANING REFORM AGENDA, most unfortunately, education has received very low priority.  The budget outlay is just a little over 1% and to add insult to injury, universities and professional centres of learning that depend on Government funds for support are sought to be packed by persons whose ideological leanings matter rather than their professional competence.  The #Vyapam Scam will have the unfortunate consequence of most Indians viewing the qualifications of doctors who they consult with deep suspicion.  The scam should at least be a wake up call for the #Narendra Modi Government to initiate emergency reforms  in Indian education.


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