Rampant cheating in Bihar’s matriculation examination, which has caught national headlines, has given opportunity to just about everyone to take a snipe at the state government's handling of the situation.
Even the RJD, the ruling JD-U’s main ally, has taken a dig at the Bihar government for extensive use of unfair means and state education minister PK Shahi’s remarks that it was “impossible to restore sanity without the support of parents.”
In his characteristic style, RJD chief Lalu Prasad on Sunday said at a public function in Buxar district enumerated how he could have handled the situation.
“Did such a picture emerge during my time? I would have allowed the students to carry their books to write answers. Imagine how many of them would be able to write answers even with books at their disposal, if they have never studied. They would spend all their allocated time searching for answers,” he said, laughing all through, while the audience also cheered.
Known for his gift of the gab, Prasad said, visuals shown across the world had damaged the image of the state.
“Use of unfair means in examination is not a new phenomenon. But such a visual of people scaling walls like lizards to provide chits to students taking exams was not there during RJD rule”, he said.
Prasad said the visuals would make people disbelieve the degrees and certificates of state. He also had a dig at the education minister for expressing helplessness in controlling the situation.
Former chairman of the Bihar School Examination Board Rajmani Prasad Sinha said that he had also mooted a proposal for open-book system in the examination during his tenure, a couple of years ago, to control the scourge of cheating.
“It requires multiple sets of question papers with changed sequence of questions. Even with books, the students would not be able to easily find answers in the allotted time, as it would require them to have at least some knowledge of chapters, which deal with the question,” he added.
Sinha, who completed his three-year tenure in 2014, said even with books, only the serious students would be able to answer, as the time is fixed.
Around 14.30 lakh students have taken the matriculation examination across the state at 1217 centres.
The government has drawn a lot of flak over the way matriculation examination has been conducted, with visuals of cheating going viral. The union human resource ministry has also sought a report on it from the Bihar government, while Patna high court and the Bihar state human rights commission, have taken a serious view of it.
On Sunday, the board cancelled the Hindi Paper-1 examination after the question paper was mistakenly distributed to Urdu examinees at the Surya Narayan Singh Yadav inter-college examination centre in Purnia on Saturday.