Entry Level Corruption

I was at a photocopy center near a college in suburban Mumbai when a tall guy gets off his bike and asks the shop keeper “Boss, Is my assignment done?”

Ghostwriting thrives in the Indian education system. Students at all levels get their assignment done from siblings, parents, friends, or even neighbors, as soon as they learn about the potential in someone but themselves. They call it friendship or love. But fact of the matter is many scholars are also known to get the work done by paying money. And why shouldn’t they? It’s smart. Saves time.

The job requires no skills except copying from the reference books or Google and other related websites into the project books. So the content is available, and no research, study or thought was required. All the writer at the photocopy center did was copy the stuff down by hand charging you about Rs 5 per page. An average note book has about 50 pages and so your work done for just Rs 250.

The entire process of submitting an assignment exists merely because they form a part of the minimum requirement prescribed by universities. As for our professors, they can indeed live without having to evaluate a big bunch of papers and so the students are only too glad for not having to work hard over them.

This is happening everywhere these days. My cousin who’s in 9th standard currently, got her science practical drafted by paying just Rs 300 for 120 pages, in only 2 days. A building friend (11th standard Commerce student) paid only Rs 100 and got his accountancy summer break homework of practicing 500 journal entries done in just 3 days. In free time he made diagrams in his sister’s biology project book (i.e. 7th standard). And even she got her work done. What a caring and thoughtful system!!

Not necessary that those who hire writers are the ones who don’t attach much importance to their work or projects. Once a professor in college asked me to get some papers from his car parked downstairs.I found some research documents similar to the project I’d seen earlier in college made by a senior.  The shocking part was that it was to be submitted to a university with his name as preparer. I don’t doubt the capability of any person but when asked he himself said “You must prioritize the work to deliver the best in you. No one cares about these documents and what’s in it. It’s all formality and I may get a certificate for submitting this.” I could only share the same page with him when he put the bottom-line saying “I just get my work done by professionals in the market by paying them quite a reasonable fee. Management!!”

The argument here is, isn’t the whole of education system commercialized now. You have to pay to get the degree anyways unlike the case of gurukuls. No more we learn (I mean, LEARN) and no more is the sharing of knowledge without money. It’s simple economics in the end, a double coincidence of wants/needs.

There’s an entire industry out there that has ghostwriters churning out presentations data, projects, assignments and even the day to day homework. Those photocopy centers popping up outside education institutes everywhere are the basic outlets for this service industry. Even PhD thesis papers can be found here. You can tell when you see such too-good documents. So many projects are bought every day. These shops may also buy them back and resell them to other person.

The education system fails to ignite any real interest or passion and the foremost reason is a dull research atmosphere. People do fight to get the work well completed within time and know whom to talk for same. No doubt the writers also follow FIFO. Business after all and maintaining its pipeline is one big operation.

These days the concept of blogging is highly notified in the wind. A freelance creative writer friend from Bangalore once told me, “I started writing what I think. When I got paid for same I started writing on what others would think of. I got paid more. And now I don’t think but just focused writing on hot and enticing topics as requested by the blogging sites.” Most of these writers get paid handsomely. All depends on the amount of content, efficiency in meeting deadlines, and of course the hits you get on the social media.

In the end, what are we encouraging here? For a nation struggling with so many scams already, all this amounts to sowing the seeds of corruption among our youngest citizens.