Five controversies that marked Maharashtra’s SSC exams this year
Mumbai city news: From stolen papers to extra marks from singing and dancing, here’s what went wrong with the SSC exams this year.education Updated: Jun 14, 2017 11:50 IST
The Maharashtra Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education (MSBSHSE) will announce the class 10, Secondary School Certificate (SSC) exam results online today at 1pm, under the shadow of paper leaks and other malpractices. Students will be able to view their marks on www.mahresult.nic.in.
Here’s a look at what went wrong with the exams this year:
1. Stolen papers
On April 4, four days after the SSC exams concluded, as many as 516 SSC answer sheets of History, Sanskrit, and Science subjects were stolen from Isra Vidyalaya in Dahisar (East). The incident took place when the teachers had gone for lunch and the principal’s office was unlocked. The school didn’t have CCTVs in the area where the answer sheets were kept, making it harder for the police to find the culprits. The police arrested two persons who had stolen the papers to sell them to a scrap dealer, and recovered 330 answer sheets from where the duo had dumped them, the rest remain untraced.
No action has been taken so far against the school, and the officials under whose watch the papers had been kept.
2. Consecutive paper leaks
Between March 2 and 10: Six question papers of the Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) exam were leaked. Shots of one of the six papers — Marathi, Secretarial Practice, Physics, Mathematics, Statistics, and Book-keeping and Accountancy —went viral on WhatsApp, minutes before the exam.
On March 11: Anand Kamat, headmaster and trustee of Mount Mary School, Virar,, along with his head clerk, Ganesh Rane, and two others were arrested.
Both of them are accused of clicking photos of the papers and sending it to advocate Nikhil Rane, 29, who runs a private tuition class. Rane shared the pictures with Vinesh Dhotre, teacher at Lokmanya Junior College, who also runs his own tuitions. Dhotre forwarded the messages to several students, who had paid him for the papers.
Hindustan Times on March 19 reported that a pair of scissors and a code helped in zeroing down on the source of the leak.
3. Teacher allegedly caught checking papers from a cafe
The Shiv Sena’s student wing released a video clip of a man allegedly correcting Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) exam papers while sitting in a restaurant.
The board demanded more evidence to prove they were HSC papers before taking any action, but the party failed to produce any conclusive proof, other than the video clip.
The 30-minute-long footage was allegedly taken by one of the party members at a restaurant in Vile Parle (East), nearly a fortnight ago.
While it shows a man checking papers with bar codes and roughly the size of a regular board answer booklet, it is unclear from the video if those are HSC answer sheets.
Yuva Sena members had demanded a probe into the incident, because board rules prohibit examiners from taking answer sheets home; corrections must be completed in the school premises.
4. Extra marks for singing and dancing
For the first time, students excelling in drawing, classical and folk arts will receive 10 to 25 extra marks in the Secondary School Certificate (SSC) exams, much like students who play sports. This might lead to inflation of marks as at least ten students from each school have applied for the quota. The marks will be given to students of classical dance, drama, and those passing the state-level drawing exams. These students also enjoy a 2-4% reservation in junior colleges. “This is unjust on students who are relying solely on their merit to secure admissions,” said Kiran Mangaokar, principal, Khalsa College, Matunga.
What’s worrying is that huge numbers of SSC students will be able to avail these marks as the government made the eligibility criterion simpler.
One such criteria is that students will be awarded additional marks in the intermediate drawing exam conducted by the government. Students securing A grade in the intermediate drawing exam will be awarded 15 marks, B and C graders will get 10 and 5 marks.
5. Rules for getting additional sports marks relaxed
Students might once again get cent per cent scores in SSC exams this year, owing to additional sports marks.
The Maharashtra state school and sports education department has relaxed the eligibility criteria for awarding the marks, making it easier to qualify for 25 marks — the highest allotted in the quota.
The sports marks scheme was discontinued in 2013, as students were found to be faking certificates to get the marks. The qualifying criteria were also a lot easier, and as a result hundreds of students in the state scored more than 100% marks in the SSC exams. The scheme was reintroduced in 2016, but with tougher rules, so that it would be limited to students truly excelling in sports.
However, the change in rules will once again make it easier to earn sports marks. This, coupled with the new rules, which will allot additional marks for folk art and drawing, will lead to inflation of marks for thousands of students, said school principals.