Images of parents sneaking their children cheat sheets have dumbfounded many in India
Education remains the way out of poverty for millions of young Indians, but the state is failing many of them
Some parents go to desperate lengths to get their children educated
The quest to be educated in India has literally scaled new heights.
Images of parents and family members clambering up school buildings and clinging on window ledges to pass cheat sheets to their children have left authorities in despair.
The incident took place on Wednesday in the state of Bihar, where students were writing their year-end grade 10 examinations.
Examples of cheating incidents are not hard to find in India. But, even compared to previous events, this seems to be unprecedented in its blatancy.
Bihar Education Minister PK Shahi told reporters that children won’t learn if they’re constantly helped by family members. “Government can only hold fair examinations with the help of the parents, society and the children,” he said. “This is a collective responsibility.”
In a developing economy like India, education is a precious commodity.
With more than 1.2 billion people, proper schooling could hold the key for much of the population to get out of a vicious cycle of poverty.
Earlier this week, a father in the city of Mathura was caught strapping his 8-year old daughter to a motorcycle after she refused to attend school to take her assessment.
Tied with a multi-strand rope to the back of a bike, onlookers captured images of the trussed girl, her bare feet hanging low, scraping the asphalt.
According to local police officials, the girl’s parents offered her several incentives, such as chocolates and toys to entice her, however when the girl was still reluctant, her father decided to take matters in his own hands.
After photos started making the rounds on social media, police officials took the man into custody and charged him with “breach of the peace.” He is now out on bail.
“Even after he got out, the father showed no remorse. He has five children to feed and he believes the only way they can get out of this poverty trap is through education,” a senior police official handling the case told CNN.
The flaws in India’s education system are well-documented. The country has a literacy rate of only 74%, compared to 95% in China. Women suffer particularly badly here; only 64% have formal education.
Earlier this year, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched a nationwide campaign urging parents to send their children, especially daughters, to school and properly educate them.
According to the United Nations, India has the largest youth population in the world, with more than a quarter of citizens aged between 10 and 24.