In a shocking display of high-handedness, school authorities at the government school at Sagore town in Dhar district (about 35 kilometres from Indore) made male students strip before they were allowed to sit for their board exams. Ostensibly, this was being done to prevent them from cheating.
Luckily, most of the boys were wearing vests, but those who weren’t were forced to give the three hour exam bare-chested. To their utter discomfort and embarrassment, women students were taking the exam in the same venue too. None of the fervent pleas of the students - that they were feeling uncomfortable and unable to concentrate - were entertained.
One student who was forced to appear shirtless for the exam said he felt humiliated by the treatment meted out and could not write his paper properly. “Not only our shirts, they also asked us to remove our shoes, socks and belt in the pretext of checking. While we were allowed to wear our shoes after the check, they kept our shirts and returned them only after the examination,” the student said.
But school principal Kalpana Bhargava stoutly defended the decision and argued that she had done this to prevent the students from using unfair means in the examination. “At the centre, a total of 744 students are appearing for the Class 10 and Class 12 board examination and it is proving to be tough task for 20 odd invigilators to keep tab on each and every student during the examination,” Bhargava told HT.
She said that till date 33 cases of cheating have been registered at the centre so far, including seven against girls. “This is a very high number compared to number of cheating cases caught in other centres, and hence the strictures,” the principal said.
She also pointed out that this exam centre had been declared as ‘sensitive’, which in Board parlance means - prone to fraudulent means.