A teacher decorated by the President twice was allegedly caught helping candidates to cheat in a school exam in Madhya Pradesh's Bhind district, a top official said on Thursday, highlighting a deep-rooted malaise in the state.
The accused teacher, identified as Sunil Tripathi, has been served with a show-cause notice, said Tikam Singh Kushwah, the block resource coordinator, an official of the education department.
Tripathi received the President's award twice for excellence in teaching for the years 2005 and 2010. He has also felicitated by the state governor last year.
Bhind district is notorious for widespread use of unfair means in examinations and recently police had lobbed tear gas shells to disperse a crowd trying to help students cheat during class 12 and 10 board exams.
The state's most publicised instance of cheating is now infamous as the PEB scandal, a multi-layered examination scam during the 2012 pre-medical entrance tests.
However, Madhya Pradesh is not the only state facing the problem of cheating during exams. Recently, Bihar saw mass cheatings during the class X board exams with people scaling walls of examination centres to help candidates.
Kushwah said he caught Tripathi red-handed on Wednesday when the teacher was writing answers on the blackboard for class 8 students at the Government Middle School in Charthar, on the outskirts of Bhind, around 500 km from the state capital.
The official, who was on routine inspection, said the answers matched the set of questions given to the candidates.
"We have served him a show-cause notice, asking him to explain his conduct within three days failing which disciplinary action would be initiated against him," he added. HT has a copy of the notice.
The accused first defended his action saying he was helping students to pass the exams as state norms did not allow any student to be detained till class 8.
He later said he had realised his "mistake" and would not repeat it in the future.
District education officer Deepak Kumar Pandeya said he was aware of the teacher's illegal act but added that he was yet to receive an official report from the block resource coordinator.
"Action would be taken after the report is received," he said.