Archive | May 19, 2008

The Business of "UFM"

Firstly for those who are unaware of a very important term in an Engineering student’s academic life, UFM means Un-Fair Means (Some universities may use some other name) i.e. the tempting, illegal, sometimes lifesaving, mostly time consuming, always risky methods used by students during the exam duration. I, being a cog in the wheel of Education since I stepped into kindergarten and till I became a lecturer, have so many anecdotes to blog about but never got around to do so. This particular incident however just had to be told.

Gone are those days when kids in school and students in colleges used to just peek into their neighbour’s answer copies or ask around in whispers or bring hand written chits of paper. Due to the birth of Generation Y and Z in a world of rapid advancements in technology and economy, these kids and youth have understood the power and importance of technological applications and money fast enough. The extent of this was unearthed during the recent end semester exams of 1st year Engineering. The university provides with only one day gap between 2 papers (I guess to encourage regular studying and to end the famous tradition of studying in the long gaps by Engineering students in most private non autonomous colleges). But as usual with recent growth of private colleges like mushrooms and every other kid doing Engineering, there are many students who use UFM as their life jackets. The students are divided into two groups in 1st year and study different subjects. They have exams on alternate days. So on the fateful day (a cliche!) two students of one group were caught lingering near the bathroom with solution of the paper other group was giving. After strict and rough inquiry a whole organised scheme was disclosed. A student in higher semester was the kingpin and he took money from these 1st year students. A question paper after being distributed was smuggled out of any room by various ways. Solutions of various parts were made in small chits by several hired students and stuck in a single A4 sheet and then xeroxed into number of copies as per buyers. Students were told to sit with their mobiles in pockets. A sms used to be sent to inform that so-so guy is waiting there with solution. The candidate would then take permission to go out to drink water and take the solution. And this same solution was found in other colleges of the city. 19-20 year olds implementing such an ingenuine business plan comprising a strong network of finance, messengers, bikes, xerox shops, mobiles and even the sweepers of the college. Its like “hey I have to use UFM anyway. So why not make money out of it as well” and the policy of “You scratch my back I’ll scratch yours” because its obvious any student who is busy giving such social service in the gap will need the same aid next day. This exposes the fact that studying has become the last priority and option.

In the pursuit of monetary investments, higher gains, possession of latest stuff, getting the desired results; have the older generation instilled such attitude and values in their children urging them to become rats in rat race be it of education or career? Is “The end should justify the means” the motto of this Gen Z?

I wont go into discussing the glaring shortcomings of the invigilators or exam conductors or the “Flying Squad” which comes from the university. Of course it takes two to tango. I have just focussed on the leading partner!

Disclaimer: Nothing in this post shall be construed as prompting the students to employ such means. The blogger does not endorse such methods. You hereby acknowledge that any use of such methods shall be at your sole risk.

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