The number of students caught cheating at this year’s SSC (Class 10) exams has gone up by about 30% compared to last year, reveals data from the Maharashtra state board.
In 2011, the board recorded 3,596 cases of cheating, compared to 2,751 in 2010. At the HSC (Class 12) exams, the board recorded 3,444 cases of cheating this year as compared to 3,295 in 2010, a less dramatic increase of 4%.
This year, the board had instituted a statewide campaign to root out cheating, that it had described as a social disease. Officials explained the increase in the figures pointing out that more cases have been recorded this year because the efforts to check such malpractices were more rigorous.
“Greater number of cases only means that our committees and checkers were far more vigilant this year,” said S Dhekane, secretary of the board. “Earlier, fewer students were caught as the checking was less rigorous.”
For the first time this year, the board had set up vigilance committees at the school level and at the exam centres comprising board officials, government officials, parents and school representatives.
Schools also conducted counselling sessions to warn students against cheating, while students had to take a pledge that they would write their exams honestly.
The board is now in the process of conducting inquiries against the offending students.
“Students are sent notices, then we speak to them and ask them why they cheated, and accordingly we give out the punishment,” said Father Francis Swamy, a board official and the principal of Holy Family School in Andheri.
The punishment ranges from disqualifying a student for a particular exam to debarring the student from reappearing for the boards the next year. Sometimes, a police complaint is also lodged depending on the severity of the case.
Fr Swamy added that Mumbai division usually did not witness more instances of cheating. “Most of these cases are from the rural areas,” he said.