As many as 26 people were expelled from centres across the state for allegedly impersonating candidates on the first day of the matriculation examinations conducted by the Bihar School Examination Board (BSEB).
The matriculation examinations began on Friday amid an all-out bid by the state government to prevent incidents of mass cheating. Around 20 of the 26 students expelled were from examination halls in Munger district – the highest across Bihar.
The BSEB’s matriculation examination had achieved nationwide notoriety last year, when images of mass cheating at an examination centre in Vaishali district went viral on social media and mainstream news channels. The photographs showed relatives and ‘well-wishers’ of examinees scaling a multi-storeyed examination hall to pass chits to those writing the examination inside, even as police personnel deployed at the venue looked on. The photographs were a major source of embarrassment for the Nitish Kumar government.
Over 15.73 lakh examinees – comprising 8.53 lakh boys and 7.2 lakh girls – are appearing for the examinations at 1,309 centres across the state. The examinations will end on March 18.
The BSEB has made tight security arrangements to prevent instances of cheating at its examination centres. These measures include rigorous frisking of students before entering the exam hall, installation of CCTV cameras at the entrance and round-the-clock videography, besides ensuring the presence of city magistrates, police personnel and security guards at the venue.
The authorities are following a strict no-cellphone policy, barring offenders from taking the examination for two years. Even invigilators are not allowed to take their mobile phones into the halls.
BSEB chairman Lalkeshwar Prasad Singh said that though ensuring high security at an examination catering to such a large number of students was a difficult task, the board’s “zero-tolerance” policy seemed to have succeeded.
He said the intermediate examination conducted by the BSEB, attended by over 11.57 lakh examinees, had gone off peacefully. “We are confident about winning back the people’s confidence,” Singh added.