Last year’s best performing district of Madhya Pradesh in MP Board Class 10 examination is the worst performing one this year. Only 15.15% students have passed the Class 10 board examination (about 85% failed) in Bhind whereas 56% had cleared the examination last year and the district had figured among the best performers in the state then, SN Mishra, district education officer said.
After gaining notoriety for rampant copying in examinations over the years, Bhind district finally got rid of the stigma of being a hub of cheating by putting a check on organised mass copying mafia. District collector Ilayaraja T came up with several measures to improve the education level of the district by stopping the nexus. In an interview with HT, Ilayaraja touches upon several issues.
How will you continue to check cheating menace in examinations in the district?
We have adopted a systemic solution. We have cancelled the recognition of 63 private schools in the district which are violating the rules. In addition, we took criminal action against owners who were running schools without laboratory, library and even classrooms just to make available Classes 12 and 10 certificates to students. Not only this, to end the root cause we have also taken departmental action against officers of school education department, who gave recognitions to such schools.
What made you to think of taking these measures?
I feel for human development education and health play an important role. Behind the success of every scheme of the government, education is an important thing. I realised that in Bhind a majority of students are just getting pass certificates but in reality they are not getting educated. So to improve this situation and giving a right direction to young population, I decided to put an end to this forgery with life of many students.
How did you get it implemented?
We have implemented it through a systematic plan. Firstly, we took support of police administration. Superintendent of police Navneet Bhasin extended all his support to us. Starting with holding awareness campaigns in the district, we also held lengthy discussions with villagers and convinced them that in long term how action against cheating mafia will help their wards. We made all the route plans and also like election, we chose the centres for the examination. Now, we are derecognising the schools.
Did you face any political interference while taking measures against the cheating mafia?
No. We took all the measures after taking all the local MLAs into confidence. Even chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan supported these measures.
How is it going to improve the quality of education in the district?
The strictness over mass copying will definitely improve the quality of education. The topper of the district Class 12, Devrat Sharma, came to me and said when he topped in Class 10 examination nobody appreciated his effort, saying that it was due to mass copying. But now, this year people are congratulating him. This really boosted his confidence and other students too. A sense of competition will develop among students and they will take their studies seriously.
How will you improve next year’s results?
This is a real challenge. We have formed a blue print for that. First of all, we will solve the problems of teachers. We will appoint qualified teachers in the district and in case of shortage of teachers we will rationalize the expert teachers. We will also hold monthly tests for students so that the progression of students can be monitored effectively. We would also take action against regular absent teachers of government schools and those who run coaching classes.