Video surveillance is the latest weapon in the battle against cheating in Madhyamik and Higher Secondary exams.
Education minister Bratya Basu said on Tuesday that the secondary education board and the HS council would videotape exam proceedings at “sensitive” centres this year to stop students from cheating. He also warned that candidates caught using unscrupulous means could be arrested.
The on-camera exam was approved after Basu’s discussion with the presidents of the two boards on ways to curb mass cheating in the Class X and Class XII exams. Education officials said Basu had to step in since instances of cheating have reached an alarming level over the past few years.
“We have asked the board and the council to videotape events in and around sensitive centres. The government is drawing up a list of centres where monitoring is required. Anyone found copying could be arrested,” Basu said.
The education officials said a camera crew would show up unannounced at these centres along with board representatives to record the happenings inside and outside exam halls. Corridors and entrances will be under video surveillance to keep an eye on outsiders.
Basu said a meeting would be held at Nabanna on January 6 to finalise the list of sensitive exam centres. Chief secretary Sanjay Mitra and director general of police G.M.P. Reddy will attend the meeting.
Madhyamik will be held between February 24 and March 6, while the HS exam is slated for March 12-28.
“Complaints of mass cheating during last year’s Madhyamik and HS had rattled the government. Chief minister Mamata Banerjee has asked us to crack the whip and we have already started preparing for the two major exams,” an official said.
He said police would be instructed to make arrests. “The police had hesitated to arrest exam cheats, though the rules empower them to take such action. This time, they will be asked to show no leniency towards the offenders. The police will scan the video footage and identify the offenders. They would be arrested later so that the exam process and other students were not disturbed.”
“The police will also enforce Section 144 at sensitive centres to prevent outsiders, even guardians, from entering the premises,” he said.
The official said video surveillance at sensitive centres was not a novelty. Around 100 centres across Calcutta were “videographed” during the exams in February 2012 following instruction from then secondary board president Chaitali Dutta.
The HS exam had escaped this surveillance, though.
The CBSE Class XII exams will begin on March 1 and end on April 17. The timetable has been posted on the CBSE website. The first paper will be English Elective/Functional English/English Core. The CBSE Class X exams will start on March 1 and end on March 19. The first papers will be Tamil, Sindhi, Marathi, Russian, Painting, Spanish, Kashmiri.
The school service commission will conduct its teacher recruitment test on March 9, education minister Bratya Basu said. The test will be held to fill up around 20,000 posts.