In what could be a record of sorts, an unusually high number of students enrolled for the secondary school examinations in the state of Uttar Pradesh that began on Monday, decided to give the exams a miss. As per official figures, a total of 1.8 lakh students skipped the class 10 and 12 board exams on the very first day. According to deputy director, Education, over 1,80,826 students, including over 53,100 high school students and over 1.27 lakh intermediate students, missed the examination.
If you thought the high absenteeism was due to a boycott or an anomaly, you could be abysmally wrong. For, the Yogi Adityanath-led BJP government in the state claims that it is because of the tough measures introduced by the state government to curb the menace of cheating during examinations. As per senior officials of the state Education Department, the measures initiated by the government include installation of CCTV cameras inside examination halls, and deploying the STF and local intelligence to crack down on the “education mafia”.
The result can be gauged by the number of absentees – Jaunpur saw 6,330 students miss the exam, Hardoi saw 11,141, Azamgarh 8,842, Gonda 6299, Firozabad 5,214 students were absent, Mainpuri 4,922, Hathras 5,567, Moradabad 6,034, Gorakhpur 4,193 and Sant Kabir Nagar saw 5,160 students give the board examinations a miss, reported PTI. The measures are not new and had a similar impact in 2017 as well. Last year, 5.94 lakh students missed the exam and 1,862 examinees were caught using unfair means during the exams. This year, a total of 66,37,018 students had registered to appear in this year’s board exam.
Deputy chief minister Dinesh Sharma, who also holds charge of the Education portfolio, said that effective measures have been taken in order to ensure that the use of unfair means can be nipped. The minister told PTI that the department had studied all ways and means of the use of unfair means during exams, adding that measures were in place to ensure that those trying to impersonate someone to appear in an exam or in changing answer sheets before they reach evaluation centres cannot do so.
As part of the measures, the administration identified examination centres notorious for facilitating cheating and struck them off the list of centres. A total of 3,500 such centres were removed this year, bringing down the number of exam centres to 8,500 from 12,000. This was beside regular measures such as frisking of students before entering examination halls and imposing prohibitory orders within 100 metres of the centre, among others. The UP board examinations began on Tuesday, February 6 and will continue till March 12.