The matriculation and intermediate examinations in February-March this year will put to test the efficacy of digital practices put in place by the Bihar School Examination Board (BSEB) to minimize the errors and rid the examinations of unfair practices.
More than 30 lakh students are expected to appear in the two examinations.
The BSEB has introduced a series of corrective measures since its credibility took a hit when interviews last May by TV news channels of persons declared toppers in various streams of its intermediate examination did not possess even basic knowledge of subjects in which they had ‘topped’.
It was also revealed that 222 rank holders belonged to one college.
Patna divisional commissioner Anand Kishor, who took charge of BSEB after the scam surfaced, embarked on a digitalisation drive, the efficacy of which was successfully tested in the compartmental examinations of 2016, in which the results were declared in a record time of one month.
Said BSEB chairman Kishor: “We have introduced changes to make the processes free of errors and unfair practices. The board is fully prepared to face the challenges ahead.”
If all goes well, the BSEB will become the first board in the country to have everything go digital, from registration, form filling, evaluation and declaration of results.
The BSEB has introduced online form filling to replace manual, hard copy filling through schools, which saves time and minimises errors. Other measures introduced include:-
Pre & post exam software: These have been developed to shift several examination-related works from manual to computers. This came into force from the compartmental examinations held in November 2016.
OMR sheet: The board has introduced barcode in answer sheets and OMR sheets on top of it. Earlier, copies sent to evaluation centres bore roll numbers and roll codes, which left scope for malpractices. Now, the OMR sheet, which has two parts, contains name of the examinees and roll numbers, at the left while the right side remains blank, so that copies cannot be identified.
Chief secrecy officer: The BSEB has nominated an ADM rank officer as chief secrecy officer in each district. S/He appoints secrecy officers to oversee barcode related work of the answersheets. After completion of the bar-coding process, secrecy officers tear the OMR sheet into two halves and send them to the board office in separate packets.
Digital scanning: The BSEB has stopped physical movement of answersheets for evaluation. It has copies and flying slips (half portion of the OMR sheet) scanned through high-speed scanners at the board office, as tried during compartmental examinations.
Digital marking: Under this, scanned copies were uploaded on 2,000 computers in 25 districts for evaluation. Prior to this, teachers were given training on digital marking system. The new system ended the possibility of error in totaling of marks.
Online verification: The BSEB has changed the format of marksheet and certificate, adding security features like M-sign (digital signature) and QR (quick response) code, so that any one from any part of the globe can verify their originality through internet.
Digital locker: The board has linked registration and form filling up with examinees’ Aadhaar cards. Though this is optional till now, the BSEB has also provided facility to students to transfer their marksheets, provisional certificates, final certificates and transfer certificates to digital locker free of cost. It will enable students to keep their valuable documents safe in digital locker and allow them to be accessed from any part of the world through internet.
Affiliations gone: The BSEB has also cancelled affiliation of 147 schools/colleges for not fulfilling the affiliation criteria. Some of the colleges were running in only one room.
- May 10, 2016: BSEB declares Inter Science result. 67.06% students pass. Some of the students who qualified for IIT-JEE fail to clear the hurdle.
- May 11: Students hold demonstration opposite board office, alleging irregularities in answersheet evaluation.
- May 28: Inter arts results out with 56.73% pass.
- May 31: Scam surfaces when inter toppers’ TV interviews show they know little about subjects they had topped in. Scam picked up by social media.
- June 1: Revelation that 222 students of Vishun Roy College figure in toppers’ list; probe shows same handwriting in many answersheets.
- June 2: Board withholds the result of arts topper and orders re-evaluation.
- June 3: Toppers called to appear in a test in board office. Ruby does not turn up.
- June 4: Board cancels the results of arts and science toppers and also cancels the affiliation of Vishun Roy College.
- June 5: Chief minister Nitish Kumar says FIRs will be lodged and criminal cases filed against culprits.
- June 6: An FIR is lodged at Kotwali police station in Patna and a special investigation team is formed under the leadership of senior superintendent of police-Patna.
- June 7: The police call then board chairman Lalkeshwar Prasad Singh for questioning and also seize his laptop.
- June 8: Lalkeshwar Prasad Singh sacked and Patna divisional commissioner Anand Kishor given additional charge as new BSEB chief.
- June 9: Police lodge FIRs against Lalkeshwar, Bachcha Roy of Vishun Roy College and seal it.
- June 10: Vaishali district education officer taken into custody and five accused sent to jail.
- June 11: Police arrest Bachcha Roy
- June 12: FIR lodged against Usha Sinha, a former MLA and wife of Lalkeshwar, for her alleged involvement in the scam. Bachcha Roy and two others sent to jail. Chief minister announces operation clean.
- June 13: 24 bank accounts of Bachcha Roy frozen.
- June 15: Look notice for Lalkeshwar, Usha.
- June 16: Bachcha house raided, Rs 20 lakh cash, gold and silver ornaments seized.
- June 19: RBBM College principal Shakuntala and Meera Jha arrested.
- June 20: Lalkeshwar, Usha arrested in Varanasi.
- June 21: Lalkeshwar, Usha, five others sent to jail.
- June 22: Couple taken on remand; Magadh varsity ex-VC Arun Kumar’s residence raided.
- June 25: Arts topper appears at BSEB aptitude test, arrested. Arrest warrants against three other toppers.
- June 26: Arts topper sent to jail instead of remand home despite being minor. Board ex-secretary Harihar Nath Jha arrested.
- December 9: Usha Singh gets bail from court.