Why India's Broken Education System Led To Mass Cheating

600 10th grade students in India were expelled after they got caught cheating on final exams with help from their parents.
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Why India's Broken Education System Led To Mass Cheating

600 students in Eastern India were expelled this week after their parents went to extreme measures to make sure they passed end-of-year exams.

Family and friends of students scaled the walls of a testing center to pass materials to students taking their 10th grade final exams. (Video via NBC)

Authorities said parents were passing everything from crumpled up cheat sheets to entire textbooks through the windows of the testing center to give students a leg up. (Video via Euronews)

Comments from the region's education minister have only sparked outrage. He told reporters, "Government can only hold fair examinations with the help of the parents, society and the children. This is a collective responsibility." (Video via IndiaTV)

But parents have told Indian media outlets schools and teachers don't prepare students well enough to pass end-of-year exams. That's why most parents don't try to disguise their cheating.

"The teachers barely teach anything at school. And so we have no other option but to help our children like this," one parent told NDTV.

 

And some Indian parents have gone to extreme lengths to make sure their children take these exams. One father tied his daughter to the back of a motorcycle to take her to school when she refused to take her test this week.

A good education is almost priceless in a poor country like India, where most students lag behind their contemporaries in other countries.

According to CNN, India has a literacy rate of 74 percent, while China's literacy rate is 95 percent. And only 64 percent of Indian women receive a formal education.

A 2013 non-governmental report on the status of education in the country showed 60 percent of students still can't read after three years of school.

And The Guardian reports there isn't much follow up in how students are taught in a classroom — most children have illiterate parents, which means they can't ask for help with schoolwork at home. (Video via World Bank)

Yet, enrollment numbers in Indian schools exceeded 96 percent. An act passed in 2010 requires children ages six to 14 to attend school, but the free mid-day meal is seen as a greater incentive to send students to school than the legal requirement.

This video includes images from Getty Images.

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