The decision to suspend Internet services to tackle question paper leaks, and its subsequent withdrawal, is part of a pattern that has frequently characterised government responses to problematic developments in the public sphere. This pattern involves the occurrence of an incident, or a set of incidents, drawing sharp public reaction, which sets the administration scurrying to control damage through quick fixes. Most often, these ad-hoc solutions don't work, and sometimes, as it happened in the latest case, they end up affecting the general public also. So the question that needs to be asked now is, how long will the education ministry try to hide behind such face-saving measures when, clearly, the situation calls for a more practical and longer term solution?
Shutting the Internet to prevent SSC question papers from being leaked was an extraordinary move. One fails to comprehend why the authorities should even entertain such a ludicrous thought. What the ministry should instead focus on is coordinate with the investigative departments to find those responsible behind the leaks (and not just throw a blanket accusation as it did implicating the teachers), bring them to book, find and repair loopholes in the question paper making and distributing mechanisms, and build capacity to regularly check irregularities and suspicious activities as part of a long-term solution?
The impunity with which question papers are being leaked is really disturbing. This is as much a failure of the ministry as of other related regulatory bodies that failed to work collaboratively to stem the tide of corruption that's behind this practice. We think the time has come to treat the issue as a matter of national urgency and find a solution that actually works.