The examination center, a sacred ground where academic integrity prevails, serves as a bastion for testing knowledge, fostering excellence, and rewarding merit. However, envision a scenario where this very foundation is on the verge of collapse, burdened by the weight of corruption and deceit. Welcome to Government Graduate College of Commerce RYK, where the invigilators and their appointed head, who were entrusted with the task of conducting fair examinations, unfortunately, ended up staining its noble purpose.
Imagine walking into an examination center, filled with anticipation and a determination to prove your worth through hard-earned knowledge. Little do you know, a shocking betrayal awaits within those walls, rendering you helpless. I found myself in that exact situation, hoping to take my exams with integrity and fairness. However, what unfolded before my eyes was a distressing revelation: a network of corruption and nepotism that tarnished the sanctity of the examination process.
During the recent examination term at Commerce College, located on the outskirts of Rahim Yar Khan, a wave of complaints swept through the student body. As a student myself, I encountered the disturbing reality of corruption within the examination system during my intermediate part two exams. Initially, on the first day, the atmosphere seemed normal, with assigned halls and roll numbers in order. The invigilators appeared diligent, focused on their responsibilities, and a sense of order prevailed.
However, it was on the final day of my exams that a classmate of mine revealed a shocking truth. He confessed to exchanging 300PKR (Pakistani Rupees) with an invigilator during our first paper, in return for a pre-filled MCQS (Multiple Choice Questions) sheet. This eye-opening incident exposed a glaring flaw in the system. The assigned paper codes for objective papers turned out to be inconsequential. One could effortlessly copy the paper code of a neighboring student, even if their code differed, without arousing suspicion or facing scrutiny. This discovery unveiled the vulnerability of our examination system.
On the second day of exam, the situation seemed normal while a board representative was present at the examination center. However, as soon as she left, everything changed. The Deputy Superintendent, Idress, approached me and inquired about the difficulty of the paper. I politely responded and mentioned the name of my college when asked.
To my surprise, he then requested me to follow him and led me to the start of row where a student had allegedly paid him a bribe. The Deputy Superintendent instructed me to show the neighboring student what I was writing so that he could copy it without intervention. Reluctantly, I complied, fearing the consequences if I confronted them while I still had four exams remaining. Throughout this distressing incident, the Deputy Superintendent assured me that I would be shielded from frequent scrutiny by other invigilators during his rounds. This experience left me profoundly disturbed and overwhelmed with a sense of powerlessness, knowing that those responsible held positions of authority, making it exceedingly difficult for me to take meaningful action against them.
On the third day, the situation deteriorated further, plunging the examination center into chaos and misconduct. I was assigned to a room overseen by an invigilator named Sir Aftab, although his behavior and demeanor hardly merited the respect typically associated with the title of “sir.” His abusive language, harsh tone, and relentless shouting at students were excruciating to endure.
Compounding the issue, the absence of a board representative that day created an atmosphere of flagrant cheating and brazen dishonesty. It was disheartening to witness students openly engaging in illicit practices without fear of retribution. To my astonishment, the same student who had previously copied from me was seated beside me once again, unabashedly replicating every single word without remorse.
To exacerbate matters, the Deputy Superintendent made his rounds during the examination, meticulously jotting down the phone numbers of students to extort bribes. I witnessed him approaching the student beside me, and engaging in a conversation about the amount of bribe. He nonchalantly recorded the student’s number and assured him of a subsequent call around 6 PM, during which he would disclose the designated meeting location. Moreover, it was disheartening to witness the Deputy Superintendent calculating the total bribe amount, which reached a staggering 12,000 PKR—4,000 PKR for the previous paper, 4,000 PKR for the current paper, and another 4,000 PKR for the upcoming paper.
The disarray and misconduct prevailing in the examination center left me deeply unsettled, prompting me to take decisive action to bring an end to this chaos. As the next paper unfolded, the corrupt invigilators once again assumed control, perpetuating the cycle of dishonesty. However, amidst the examination, a glimmer of hope emerged when the board representative arrived, restoring a semblance of order.
Taking advantage of this moment, I mustered the courage to catch the attention of the board representative in my room. Seizing a fleeting opportunity while she pretended to check my roll number slip, I discreetly whispered about the pervasive corruption plaguing the exam center. Although she eagerly wanted me to divulge all the details then and there but the piercing stares of the invigilators and the fact that I had two papers left made me realize the need for caution.
With remarkable tact, the board representative slipped me a piece of paper, indicating that I should convey my observations briefly while she attended to other students. With utmost precision, I succinctly depicted the truth in just a few lines, ensuring no one else in the room would suspect any wrongdoing. Then, signaling discreetly, I returned the paper, carefully concealing any suspicion.
After a few tense moments, the board representative returned to my room, conducting random checks and engaging in conversation. Skillfully disguising her true intent, she subtly discussed potential errors in the subjective paper while casually inquiring about my phone number. Trusting her wisdom, I shared my number, and shortly after, she quietly left the exam center.
Upon returning home, I immediately received a phone call from the board representative. Eager to bring an end to the corruption that plagued the exam center, I divulged every intricate detail I had at the time. However, it became apparent that our revelations alone were insufficient to initiate any substantial action against the wrongdoers. Determined to gather concrete evidence, we devised a plan to strike a deal with one of the invigilators, intending to record our interaction as undeniable proof.
With the last science paper imminent and the clock ticking down to the start of the exam, I mustered the courage to make a crucial phone call to Sir Asghar who is known throughout the student body for orchestrating illicit deals. He answered my call on his prepaid number. Initially, he confirmed the roll number of a student and then proposed switching our conversation to WhatsApp for a more in-depth discussion about the financial dealings. Perhaps he believed that WhatsApp calls were encrypted and impervious to recording, but fate had different plans.
During the WhatsApp call, I clandestinely recorded Sir Asghar’s voice as he brazenly demanded 5,000 PKR for both the subjective and objective portions of the paper. However, I negotiated for a slight reduction, persuading him to settle for 4,000 PKR. As our conversation drew to a close, he insisted on meeting outside the examination center to safeguard his well-being.
With this undeniable evidence in hand, I promptly shared the recorded proof with the board representative, who reassured me that they would take the necessary actions against Sir Asghar. Unfortunately, despite possessing solid evidence, our efforts seemed to bear no fruit. Sir Asghar continued to operate with impunity, carrying out the same corrupt practices as an invigilator within the exam center.
Desperate for justice, I attempted to contact Commissioner Bahawalpur, who also held the esteemed position of Chairman BWP Board at the same time. Dishearteningly, my every attempt to reach him went unanswered. Undeterred, I sought direct communication with the Controller of Examinations, only to be met with silence and no response. It felt as though the walls of bureaucracy were impenetrable, posing formidable obstacles in our fight against corruption in the examination center.
Despite possessing undeniable evidence of corruption, our efforts to take action have been in vain. The board representative assured me that she had promptly forwarded the recorded evidence to the Deputy Controller of Examinations for a thorough investigation. However, to our dismay, no concrete steps have been taken thus far. Disturbingly, reliable sources have revealed that Sir Asghar, the perpetrator of bribery, had been involved in similar illicit activities at Khawaja Fareed College last year. Numerous complaints were lodged against him, yet no disciplinary measures were enforced. The lack of action in response to these repeated offenses is deeply concerning.
I fervently hope that the BWP Board will take decisive action to preserve its integrity and reputation. Allowing the perpetrators of corruption to go unpunished not only tarnishes the board’s image but also erodes the trust and faith of students and society as a whole. It is crucial for the board to demonstrate its commitment to upholding honesty and fairness in the examination process. Unless swift measures are taken to rectify the situation, the board’s credibility will continue to be undermined, leading to long-lasting damage to its reputation. It is imperative that steps are taken promptly to address this issue and restore faith in the integrity of the examination system.