By P. Kharel
Q paper leakage
In Province Number 2, question papers were out on the eve of SEE exams last fortnight, as a result of which the related exams were postponed. Infuriated students resorted to street demonstrations and poured their anger on public vehicles, created roadblocks as a mark of their protest, even as police resorted to tear gas. At least one motor vehicle and one motor bike were set on fire.
Leakage of question papers is not confined to Class X final exams but also at various levels. Tampering with and manipulating answer sheets and marks have been noticed in the past. Some years ago, it was disclosed that certain school copies were assigned to specific examiners to ensure students hailing from specific schools scored high grades. The topper of a particular year was known to have had more than 30 marks added to what he originally obtained.
Medical institutes have also been involved in question leakages, reportedly after large sums of money changed hands. In this regard, TU and KU are also not immune to the discrepancy.
Indian embassy in Kathmandu conducts exams for candidates seeking medical scholarships. In one case, one of the embassy staff members acting as an invigilator was heard calling out the name of a candidate who happened to be Nepali Congress leader’s daughter. The VIP daughter subsequently obtained the prized scholarship. In another incident, a UML leader’s daughter had obtained SLC marks of less than 70 per cent whereas there were tens of thousands of others with higher grades. But the bigwig’s child was placed at one of the most prestigious institutes in India whereas a journalist’s son who had obtained more than 90 per cent marks barely managed to have a placement in a relatively modest medical institute in Ranchi.
Disunity disguised in unity
Unity delay between the two major factions in the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) jointly led by Prime Minister KP Oli and former Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal goes into deep Maoist Centre’s discontent with Oli’s style of assertive leadership as the head of government. The devil is in distributing organisational posts. In never-ending squabbles fuelled by faction-fighting, there is a breakdown in structural command.
The dual headed communist party is bedeviled by an unwritten barricade separating the former Maoists and UML groups. Faction members do not trust the other side. This has been going on since the beginning. According to an insider known as a confidant of one of the twin heads, “The situation is even worse now.”
As they say, morning shows the day. If this criterion were applied as the measuring rod for the March 29-30 Nepal Investment Summit organized with boisterous noises in Kathmandu, it would make a discouraging reading. In a statement on how poor the management of the host government is, many Nepalese guests received invitations late in the evening just ahead of the conference morning. Quite a few others were simply left out. Some reportedly were made to collect the invite on the morning of the conference opening scheduled at 9 O’clock.
The seating arrangement left much to be desired. Industry Minister Matrika Yadav could not find his due berth on the stage, and had to console himself with a seat in the general audience section, looking sullen and far from content.
Having been asked to be seated by 8 am, Nepalese guests had to head for the venue to avoid being left without a seat or miss part of the event. Three hours later, when the two-hour inaugural session was over, there was a breather but no provision for any refreshment. When some desperate guests inquired whether there were snacks to bite and tea/coffee to sip, the organisers regretted that some cookies and hot drinks placed at a corner had been consumed before the programme actually ended.
Something smells of rat. Or is it the case of penny wise, pound foolish? Finance Minister Dr. Yubaraj Khatiwada should know. More than three hours in a jam-packed hall, and no courtesy of light refreshments. And, they make lofty speeches on investments, opportunities and initiatives. The ones making such pontification cannot even ensure that the basics of an international meet are managed. When a government cannot address such modest detail after months of planning and huge expenses, what will be the level of its actual credibility?
Sajha’s sad story
The once highly rated Sajha Publications has been in the doldrums since some years now. Deeply in debt and embroiled in mismanagement and misappropriation of its drastically dwindled resources, it is heavily dependent on government dole outs. It was a respected and credible institution during the Panchayat decades and the first half of the multiparty years. The last 20 years have been a steep slide downhill for it.
Corruption, overstaffing and, above all, favouritsim in selecting manuscript for publication and failure to utilise the available resources degraded Sajha’s image and reputation. Politicisation has deprived it of its previous standing. Appointments, staffing, fund use, selection of scripts for publication and awards regularly came in for controversies. Like many other public organisations, the institution’s present conditions pale out into insignificance when compared with its heydays witnessed in earlier.
Now hardly anyone with self-respect and due credentials would be interested in any appointment associated with the once honoured institution. What pathetic times!
Babita Basnet, in Ghatana ra Bichar: Had the Republic’s foundation been strong, the sight of people milling around the king would not have been cause for any fear. In order to strengthen its foundation, a referendum should have decided on it.
Spice of life
By P. Kharel