Calcutta, Feb. 23: The Madhyamik board has decided to increase the number of invigilators in every hall and involve the district administration and police in conducting the examination in a bid to prevent mass cheating, reported across the state last year.
The board has made it mandatory for every school to have at least two invigilators for every 30 examinees. Till last year, most schools engaged one invigilator for the same number of students.
Over 10 lakh students will sit for the Madhyamik exams this year that begin on Monday.
According to a senior Madhyamik official, the district administration and the police will be responsible along with the board for maintaining law and order during the exams.
Earlier, the district administration and the police could act only in an emergency or when the board sought their intervention.
In a bid to keep outsiders away from exam venues, the board will not allow even guardians of the examinees or teachers of other schools within 100 metres of an exam centre.
The board will also not send any team for inspection of centres while an exam is on. In the past, teams of board employees and local teachers conducted such inspections. Officials said the practice was scrapped because the presence of too many people in the halls can distract examinees.
“We hope the changes that are being introduced this time will help the board conduct the exams freely,” said Kalyanmoy Ganguly, administrator of the West Bengal Board of Secondary Education.
Incidents of mass cheating were reported from various parts of the state last year, prompting chief minister Mamata Banerjee to summon senior board officials to Writers’ Buildings and ask them to take preventive measures.
Over 50 people were arrested last year for helping students to copy. Most of the incidents were reported from South 24-Parganas, Murshidabad, Malda and North Dinajpur.
Asked how the direct involvement of the district administration would help the board conduct the exam freely, a board official said earlier it used to appeal to local photo-copying shops to keep their shutters down during the exam.
But many centres ignored the appeal, he said. Incidents of students getting pages of their textbooks photocopied and taking them inside the exam halls were reported from the districts.
“The appeal to the photo-copying centres will now be made by the district administration so that they are forced to keep their shops closed,” the official said.
Sources said many schools had complained that they found it difficult to engage two teachers for every 30 students.
The board has directed such schools to arrange additional teachers from nearby schools where there are surplus instructors.