While CCTV cameras and tablets are claimed to be the major reason for higher reporting of unfair means in the Gujarat Secondary and Higher Secondary Education Board (GSHSEB) examinations, these gadgets on Monday came to the rescue of 58 candidates.
After nearly a month of scrutiny and hearing of 3,685 mass copying cases that ended Monday, all reported from Anand district, the GSHSEB examination committee realised only after verifying from the CCTV footages that 58 of such candidates, who were earlier counted as offenders of mass copying and whose results were withheld, were actually not at fault.
“Though out of 3,685 mass copying cases from Anand district, the figure of 58 might appear insignificant, it is very significant when we realise that it is the future of all these candidates that was saved only due to the CCTV footage as they did not have any other proof to support their innocence,” said the GSHSEB deputy director (examinations) V R Gosai.
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As per the data after the hearing concluded Monday, the entire result of 2,375 candidates were cancelled. As many as 1,310 were found to be repeat offenders — those guilty of copying in more than one subject.
There were only seven candidates whose result of only one subject was declared as cancelled.
Gosai said, “It was a difficult task to conclude who did not copy from such a huge number of offenders. Only after verification from the CCTV and tablet footages, the decision could be arrived at.”
Among the 58 students given clean chit, some were those who were forced to help in copying.
“A Class XII girl kept on saying that she did not copied, but it was the candidate sitting behind him who forced her to show her answer sheet to him. Even the invigilator did not pay heed to her complaints.
“All this was verified from the CCTV footage. It was decided to acquit her of all charges, and rather take action against the invigilator,” another committee member said.
Several candidates accused the teachers and supervisors of assisting them in copying. “Though in the Anand district mass copying hearing, 90 per cent of the candidates admitted that they have copied, they put the entire onus on the teachers and supervisors that it was they who asked them to copy from whatever material they have. Even their parents toed the lines of their wards and blamed the examination staff,” revealed R P Patel, a committee member.
Earlier, the results of all these 3,685 students were withheld. Action against 70 invigilators, along with 8 building conductors of these schools in Bhalej, Umreth and Sarasa taluka of Anand district, has been initiated by the Board.