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Probe into exam malpractice

Agartala, June 8: Amidst the announcement of Madhyamik and HS, the Tripura Board of Secondary Education (TBSE) authority is concerned over a scandal which will be referred to an inquiry committee soon.

This year, 50 Madhyamik examination candidates have been reported for suspected misconduct and malpractice while writing their papers. This is the first time that so many candidates have been reported against in the board exams since it was launched in 1976. The president of TBSE, professor (retd) Amitava Debroy said prima facie the answer scripts of the 50 candidates show major “discrepancies” as the handwriting on the first page does not match with that in the inside pages. “It is evident from a cursory look at the answer scripts that they have not been evaluated. Upon inquiry, we may even register an FIR against the examinees who obviously adopted unfair means,” said Debroy.

He said all the 50 candidates appeared for the exam from NGO-run coaching centres in the ADC areas of the state. “How and why this happened cannot be said with certainty. We will wait for the outcome of the inquiry before taking any action,” said Debroy. He said the board was not sure whether malpractice had been resorted to inside the examination halls or at the time of submitting the scripts.

He also said during insurgency between 1993 and 2003, many tribal students had dropped out of school to join outfits and later a large number of NGOs had mushroomed to train and send the dropouts for Madhyamik and higher secondary exams. These NGOs have often been accused of indulging in malpractice to ensure success of their enrolled students in the exams conducted by the TBSE.

“Last year, we had to expel more than 25 Madhyamik and HS candidates sponsored by NGOs in Jampuijala subdivision, under West Tripura district. Now it seems that many others managed to get away with the malpractice they committed inside the examination halls,” said Debroy.

Apart from this, the TBSE president also expressed concern over the falling pass percentage among indigenous students in hilly areas of the state. This year, the pass percentage among tribal students who appeared for the higher secondary exam went down by 11 per cent. “We have not been able to improve the success rate of tribal students in exams. The matter will have to be looked into afresh for a solution. Lack of infrastructure cannot be the sole reason because over the years infrastructure has improved considerably,” said Debroy.

He said language might be an important reason for lack of success among tribal students. “The tribal students study in Kokborok at the primary level and have to switch over to Bengali from Class VI. We also do not have many teachers who can teach in Kokborok. We will train Bengali teachers to impart lessons in Kokborok.”

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