If you’re from an Indian school or college you know that some of your classmates didn’t get admission on their merit but because of ‘connections’ or papa ka paisa. If you’ve ever been to a government-run office, hospital, bank or school, you know that not all employees are actually qualified for their job because they got it thanks to ‘contacts’.
This death of meritocracy is slowly causing India’s democracy to slip into a collection of cheaters and slackers.
Cheating on an exam is NBD
In a country where corruption is ‘life as usual’, there is no field that hasn’t been compromised. Even the education sector is privy to such fraud. All thanks to invigilators, parents, teachers and politicians who have converted the education sector into a money-making racket. For instance, the Vyapam scam (worth at least $1 billion), an entrance examination scandal in Madhya Pradesh which involved rigging seating arrangements, forgery of answer sheets, bribing officials to get high ranks, leaking of answers to selected students and a host of other fraudulent activity. In another instance in Bihar, parents and family members climbed up school buildings and windows to pass cheat sheets to their children. Our country even has its own ‘cheating mafia’ that charges Rs. 60,000 to assist students with answers during an exam.
While desperate parents condone this cheating for their children’s sake, teachers are also okay with it because their promotion is based on the students’ success. Then there are also few cases where students with ‘political affiliations’ are allowed to cheat openly and no questions are asked. In UP sometimes, local thugs even leave daggers on their desk signaling to invigilators: “Leave me alone… or else”.
Still don’t pass? Then fake it till you make it
Our society is obsessed with degrees and diplomas. This obsession coupled with our old habit of choosing shortcuts over hard work has given rise to an entire fake degree and diploma industry. Popularly called as ‘diploma mills’ these organizations sell fake degree certificates of well-established universities to people without ‘actual’ studying. And, this is an issue not only in India but globally. Newspapers and news channel are filled with headlines like ‘ Gang of forgers sold 50,000 school and university degrees’, ‘students pay Rs. 30L for fake degrees’, ’20 specialists found with fake degrees’ etc.
The prices of these degrees range anywhere between a few thousand to lakhs. From BA, BCom, LLB, MBA, BE, MBBS, to BDS degrees, it’s a shoppers paradise. To avoid hiring candidates with fake degrees, more and more companies are coming up with tools to screen candidates with genuine degrees with fake ones. The problem is so serious that there are companies that even hire agencies and tools to screen candidates for their authenticity.
‘Winging it’ is all there is in a day’s work
Results of this fake degree menace? We are producing doctors who can kill a patient by using the wrong injection or prescribing wrong medications. For instance, in UP, Rajendra Yadav an unlicensed doctor was arrested for allegedly infecting at least 46 people with HIV by re-using an injection syringe.
Half the lawyers in our country are fake, says a report by the Bar Council of India. Those controlling the education sector (Education Minister – Vinod Tawde’s fake degree row), themselves have a fake degree. Those selling these fake degrees are openly advertising about it on various websites. Luring and tempting students to choose the easy way out.
Further, companies and organizations get prone to candidates which are not only faking degrees but their work experience as well. Unfortunately, many firms find out about this much later. For instance, in 2015, an IT consultancy firm in Gurgaon found out that their employee – Rahul Sinha – was hired based on a fake MBA degree. And this was after 10 years of his employment with the firm. As per a pharmaceutical company, Mankind, every fourth resume that it gets is fake. Such fake candidates can cost the company not only economically but also can tarnish the company’s goodwill and reputation.
It’s time for a promotion! Let’s call Chachaji
From appointments, promotions, and transfers everything in the workplace comes at a price. You either pay to stay or you call Chachaji to help you out. In the state of Tamil Nadu, a VIP had demanded money from principals and secretaries to the tune of Rs. 7 lakhs for approving appointments of new assistant professors. In the police department as well deputy superintendents have been charged Rs 4-10 lakh for transfers. And if you talk about an entry into politics it’s a family business in itself. If a young individual wants to get into politics the three qualifications he needs are wealth, legacy and connections. Corruption at the workplace has become ‘business as usual’
And just like that, the uneducated, undergraduate and unqualified candidate lands his dream job because of all his hard work. All this makes us wonder is meritocracy just a myth in India?