The Maharashtra state education board is probing complaints that two private and unaided junior colleges with a tie-up with coaching classes spoon fed HSC students with answers for the practical exams.
The practical examinations are conducted internally by the colleges, but the marks scored in the tests are counted in the final HSC results. Colleges were directed to conduct the practical exams between February 2 and 18.
The Maharashtra State Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education (MSBSHSE) said it received complaints against two colleges in Vile Parle and Kandivli. The complaints said exam supervisors gave students photocopies of the answers and, in some instances, even dictated the answers. Though the colleges denied the allegations, the Mumbai division of the board said it is investigating the complaint.
Mumbai division chairperson Laxmikant Pande, said, “I will ask the education inspector of the western zone to investigate the alleged incidents of malpractice, since both the colleges are located in the western suburbs.”
In the HSC exams, 20 marks (out of 100) in all subjects are assigned to practical and oral exams, which are conducted internally by the colleges.
Colleges are supposed to assess the students through their own internal examiners and submit the marks to the state board.
According to the complaint made by members of the junior college teachers’ union, the two colleges provided photocopies of answers and students had to merely reproduce it in their HSC answer books without actually taking the practical examination.
HT spoke to a few students who appeared for the exams in the college. They claimed they were allowed to cheat in the examinations. “We were shocked when, during our physics and chemistry practical exams, the teachers handed us photocopies of the answers covering everything from the aim to the observations of the experiments,” said a student from the Kandivli-based junior college, on the condition of anonymity.
“When we tried telling college authorities, they shut us up by saying we should not complain about something that will benefit us.”
A student from the college in Vile Parle said it had not conducted a single practical session throughout the year. “I don’t even know what my college laboratory looks like,” said the student. She said on the day of the exam, the teachers dictated the answers to them. The complaint said the colleges also assured the students of attendance, leaving them free to attend private tuition classes, which have a tie-up with these institutions.
The principals of both the colleges, however, denied the allegations. “Dictation is part of the oral exams. Teachers do not give out answers, they only dictate the questions,” said the principal of Kandivli college.
The principal of the Vile Parle college showed HT the students’ practical answer books to support their contention that they had not cheated. But all the students had scored similar marks. “That is because high scorers take admission to our college, they all do well,” the principal said.