Yesterday I spent my whole afternoon invigilating a final exam .The word “invigilation” is always associated with final examination. I don’t really know the meaning of this word until I came to this university; I guess it means “ sitting around for 3 hours doing nothing with a bunch of miserable students trying to answer questions that they seem to have no clue whatsoever “. And did I emphasize “doing nothing”; and it is exactly that. You are not supposed to bring in a book or a magazine to fill up the time , it is against the procedure. I tell you it is the most agonizing time that a university lecturer has to endure during his lifetime with the university. And to add into that, this invigilation thing is part of the job; so I really got paid for it. Talking about productivity! I guess that ‘s why we did not get any bonus this year. So what exactly we do during that time. Apart from handing out the questions and the answer booklet, we just walk up and down the aisle counting the marble squares on the floor . You can’t even talk above the whispering level so not to make a noise. Most of the time you just make yourself to think (read: daydreaming) of what to make out of yourself for doing this thing. Sometime to imagine what would it like for these folks to take the exam…in the nude!kahkahkah! hhmmm not bad…ooops someone is going out to the toilet. Mind you there is a procedure for this; one of us has to go with the guy. Really! yes, really. The dude would sign the paper and one of us would follow him to the toilet.Just like a couple of gay men trying to find the best port. So dude you want to “berak” or “kencing”, I asked. He looked at me with a strange face. You see if you gonna “berak” then I have to go and clear the toilet so nothing related to the exam being stuffed in there and if you want to “kencing” then I have to see that some kind of water is coming out of your dick. What? He asked. Never mind I ‘ll wait outside. This is really ridiculous; I’ve spent over a decade of my life getting some degrees and here I am waiting for someone to finish his “call”. Then I would take him back to the exam hall and finish the exam.
As some of you might recall, three hours are given to finish the exam. I mean, THREE HOURS!, you can write a biography in three hours. Don’t you think the time is a bit too long? But then it’s fair enough—it’s like saying to you that you’ve got all the time in the world to answer the exam questions. Whether you answer it in an hour , two hours or three hours is up to you. The thing is that do you have all the materials to fill up that three hours ? Ironically some do use every minute of that three hours; I just can’t imagine how did they do it. I mean my bottom would cramp up after just an hour.
With the invigilator going around, there are still some students trying to peek under the table for that cheat sheet. I have seen all kinds of tactic that they used to get through the exam. Somehow I feel really sad for the students to have to resort to such actions. How’s it that the “barakah” will be given to your life if you cheat in the exam? But many just could not care less. They wrote on their arms or palms; some even scribble on the sleeves and some just brought in the whole sheet altogether. These students were mostly desperate to pass and did not even care what would happen. But the art of cheating is never the same and I have yet to find the most daring of them all or the latest technique being used by the students.