Students taking the Senior Secondary Examination (SSC) and Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) exams this year had better watch out. Each of the 5,777 examination centres across the state will have a vigilance committee to prevent cheating.
The HSC (Class 12) exams begin on February 23 while the SSC (Class 10) exams will begin on March 1.
Last year, the Maharashtra State Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education had set up vigilance committees in each of the centres. Likewise, this year the committee will comprise education board officials, government officials, parents and school representatives.
The committee will keep a watch on attempts made by students to cheat in the exams. More than 100 principals of private unaided schools met on Monday with the education department to discuss ways to cope with cheating during examinations. In the next two weeks, every school will have to call for a meeting with parents and students to sensitise them towards the ill-effects of cheating. “We have already held workshops with students to warn them against malpractices during exams. We will call the parents and explain to them the ill effects of cheating too,” said Ophelia Barreto, principal Podar School, Santacruz.
Schools have been told to conduct counselling sessions to warn students about cheating, who will in turn take a pledge to write not cheat in the exams.
“Getting away with copying will not be easy and students need to be careful,” said RR Pawar, education inspector, who conducted the meeting. On Tuesday, principals from private aided schools will meet to discuss anti-cheating measures.
Last year, the state board had come up with an anti-cheating campaign to curb malpractices during exams. The drive led to a fall in the state’s pass percentage in the SSC and HSC examinations. In 2011, Maharashtra’s pass percentage dipped to 65.61% compared to 72.17% in 2010.
Last year, in Aurangabad, and Solhapur the board registered 40 First Information Reports (FIRs) against students caught copying.
The board also surveyed all the centres where examinations were held. “In the last four months, we inspected all exam centres and have relocated 148 centres where maximum students were caught copying,” said a senior board official.
The board has come up with stringent measures to curb cheating. If, in a centre, less than five cases of copying are found, it will get a memo. In case of more than five cases, teachers will not get their pay. If more than 10 cases of copying are found in a centre, it will be banned from conduction any examination.