DESPITE ISSUING orders for cancellation of three examination centres in tribal districts — Lambadiya (Sabarkantha), Choila (Aravalli) and Bhikapura (Chhota Udepur) — where mass copying were reported in March 2016, the Gujarat Secondary and Higher Secondary Education Board (GSHSEB) has decided to conduct this year examinations in two of these centres as the DEOs could not make any alternate arrangements. While students will appear for their board examinations next month at the other two centres — Lambadiya in Sabarkantha district and Bhikapura in Chhota Udepur district — even after mass copying cases of 468 students were detected, verified and documented from these three centres in only subject —Mathematics — the authorities have cancelled only Choila in Aravalli district.
“These two centres stands as alternate arrangements could not be made by the respective district education officers. Though the board had issued orders for the cancellation last year but we have no other option than to continue conducting examinations,” said GSHSEB Officer on Special Duty (OSD) M A Pathan.
As reported by The Indian Express on June 30 last year, nearly 500 students from these three centres scored more than 90 per cent in Class X Mathematics objective section while zero in subjective questions. When this anomaly was detected by the board members nothing came out in the closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras installed at the centres, leading to the board conducting hearing of all 468 students in Gandhinagar on June 29, 2016.
During hearing leave alone solving the objective questions in which they scored more than 90 per cent, students even failed to identify a triangle from a circle, point set of two integers on a line bar and even failed to solve simple two digit multiplication and subtraction questions thrown to students who had cleared Mathematics exam.
Where a few of these who have scored above 40 out of 50 in objective question part of the examination confessed of being helped by their teachers who had dictated answers from the examination hall windows. The cancellation of these three centres was also reported by The Indian Express as well as disciplinary action against these 79 teachers who were deputed on examination duty on these three centres found guilty of helping students in the exam.
When contacted the district education officer of Sabarkantha R S Upadhyay admitted non-availability of alternate buildings to be used as examination centres. “I have written to the board (GSHSEB) as well as the state government that the nearest examination centre is in Khedbrahma which is 35 kilometre far. For alternate arrangement, there is no building of required rooms and blocks where nearly 400-500 Class X students can take their exams. So, we are helpless and cannot shift the students to other centres.”
Further, making the case strong against these examination centres, in supplementary examinations conducted in July 2016, out of 251 students who appeared at these three centres, only two could clear.