“Jugaad” in Two Es: Education and Employment

If jugaad is a symphony, then Indians know its lyric and the chords way too well. Be it the frivolous day-to-day life hacks or something serious like the cash crunch seen during demonetization, jugaad sneaks its way. Education and Employment are two important Es in our country. The culture of “marks and exam” has permeated so deeply in students and parents (also educators), that in a fierce rat race of scoring the highest, we forget that we are not rats! Marks become the achievement, not the enlightenment which is the actual fruit of education. People thrive on equal opportunities, to be empowered, both education and employment wise. But ,“what happens to a dream deferred?”, a poet writes , “Maybe it just sags/ Like a heavy load.” Year after year, the rackets indulging in paper leaks are busted but the system is sick like weevil damage to crops. A full proof system in a nation of jugaads sounds paradoxical.

With rampant paper leaks, we don’t need demagogues, but good ‘plumbers’. Loopholes glare at our faces and need to be worked out. CBSE paper leaks tell that the value of education has been reduced to a commodity which is now held on the same footing as money. The 2018 CBSE class X Math paper leaked, like many others. A student writes, “The night before each exam was a mess. Despite having the lights off at 10 pm, after having taken all the steps necessary to bring myself into a relaxed state of mind, I lay awake tossing and turning for hours, unable to shake the anxiety.” Imagine how bad it must be when the student has to go through such a wobbly situation again and again. When the education system fails, obviously, the children’s future gets jeopardized too. Even 0.5% mark can cost a student’s admission to a college. The corruption in education disappoints and discourages them, who prepare for years. One can imagine the future of the nation if cheats and fools come in power. The purpose of education is to instill values of honesty and hard work. Ironically, the same education system is diseased with corruption and bribery.

In the age of LPG (Liberalization, Privatization and Globalization), the clamour for government jobs couldn’t be softened. In fact, the ‘Sarkari Naukri’ tag pushes people to turn to malpractices which result in frauds like the Vyapam scam. Students prepare for years for the government job exams conducted by the Staff Selection Commission, but the irregularities and cheating scams squash the hard work, time, money and hopes invested by them and their parents. From the online hacking to mass cheating to the backdoor entries, the future of thousands of serious aspirants is on stake. A differently-abled SSC aspirant stayed at Mukherjee Nagar as a paying guest for three years. He shared, “I have never tried to use my disability as an advantage but there are few students who use their specialty (money) in their favour.” The corruption at every level is so rambling that the credibility of organizations like SSC is wavering and the trust is dwindling as well. This way, the deserving candidates lag behind and the incompetent ones assume the seats.

In our country, the  youth still prefers a government job over a private job because the currency of power and stability for them is above money. According to a survey, the factor that lakhs of people apply for public/police services, indicates the scarcity of jobs i.e. also limited vacancies in many parts of India. However, the larger population is from the rural, humble backgrounds which highlight the government’s inability to give full air to Rural Development schemes and programmes. With this token, the gist emerges to be the dearth in vacancies. The opportunities don’t present themselves following the irregularities in the examinations. This way the good students suffer as cancellation of papers, postponement of dates or leakages etc. can be stressful, mentally and physically exhausting.

Following the frauds, the Indian youth is denied equal opportunities. The corruption is not just physical, but also largely moral. From bribing God with Rs.100 notes in exchange of blessings to greasing someone else’s palm for getting good marks or job, we are in throes of examining our country’s corruption fault lines. Nonetheless, corruption needs to be dismantled from inside. After all, there would be buyers till there are sellers.

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