The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Cheating: Bihar bane
- Daddies’ ‘support-system’ for good result

Patna, Feb. 17: A principal at Maharajganj in Siwan used to dig up 12-ft deep and 10-ft wide trench around the school’s campus and fill it with water before examination every year just to stop cheating at the centre.

Although the legend has lived on more than 15 years, Bihar continues to be in search of a “foolproof” solution to stop unfair means during examination. The task becomes all the more difficult when parents are hell-bent on passing chits to their wards for high percentage.

With daddies’ “support-system”, cheating has got several variants in one of the underdeveloped states in the country.

Students hide chits in undergarments and write vital points on arms or inner sleeves of shirts

Going for toilet is a common practice to “look for answers” as books, notes can be hidden there

A sleek bamboo is used by an outsider to pass on chits, tied at the top, to students through windows

For more tech-savvy GenNext, cellphones, in silent mode, facilitate getting answers even from the US

But with a strict vigil in place this year, these tricks have not proved successful for students and parents at 371 exam centres across 38 districts. Over 5 lakh students from arts, science and commerce have been taking the 18-day exam that began on February 12.

Last week’s incidents at Saharsa and Madhepura clearly suggest that only gun power alone can frustrate the parents’ recalcitrance. On February 13, Saharsa police fired 16 rounds in air at Sarva Narayan Singh College to disperse over 500 people, who pelted stones at the examination centre and also tried to break through iron gates to vandalise the proceedings. Fifteen students were expelled for copying at the Saharsa centre.

The very next day, B.N. Mandal Stadium examination centre witnessed a bigger show of impatience during zoology test when parents torched two government vehicles to protest “unprecedented vigil” during examination. The Madhepura police fired over 90 rounds in air in face of heavy brick-batting, which left 12 injured.

Parents, however, have offered a different perspective to the entire episode. They either want full attendance of teachers at college or an unwritten permission for use of unfair means during examination. They insist on cheating because they want their wards to score high percentage so that they stand a fair chance of admission in good institutes outside Bihar.

Education minister Brishen Patel and human resource development department secretary Madan Mohan Jha, however, are not ready to buy the “weird” logic. They want a fair examination system in the state at any cost.

The Saharsa and Madhepura “syndrome” has forced even chief minister Nitish Kumar react sharply. He said the government would continue to play a hard role on unfair means, a punishable offence under the Bihar Conduct of Examinations Act, 1981.

With the chief minister appealing for “cheating-free” exams, the Bihar Intermediate Education Council chairman, Girish Shankar, has started visiting several centres in districts, too.

However, an official of the council said the steps had little result in curbing cheating in exams.

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