Pictures of mass cheating involving Class 10 students in Bihar corralled international headlines just 10 months ago. This time, ahead of the crucial and pressure-packed board exams, Bihar has made a pre-emptive strike by warning of a Rs. 20,000 fine for students caught cheating.
Because parents, guardians, family members and friends are known to help students by passing them cheat-sheets through open windows (while examiners helpfully stare into the distance stoically), relatives caught in the act will be sent to jail if they are seen near examination centres – Section 144 which bans public gatherings will be declared in force near schools.
Bihar School Examination Board chairman Lal Keshwar Prasad Singh said students found cheating in exams would be forbidden from taking the test again for the next three years. Earlier, they were banned for one year. “They will not be allowed to appear in the exam for next three years,” he said.
The Class 10 and Class 12 exams in Bihar will be held in February and March. The Education Department has ordered the installation of CCTV cameras in classrooms, and a live stream of some exam centres with a particularly dodgy record will be monitored by senior officers.
“It’s virtually impossible to conduct fair examinations without the cooperation of parents,” said PK Shahi, Bihar’s Education Minister last year when pictures of relatives scaling high walls to pass scraps of papers to students were sloshed across foreign and national papers.