Aiming for good results in board examinations, students do not hesitate from opting for unfair means and this trend is evident from the fact that over 1,200 unfair means cases (UMC) were detected by the Punjab School Education Board (PSEB) in the examinations held in March.
Using chits in board examinations remained the most popular method for cheating being used by school students. Of the total 1,228 cases detected, 619 were detected in Class 12 boards, while 609 were detected in Class 10 examinations. Last year, about 238 cases of unfair means were detected.
Though in isolated cases students were caught using Bluetooth to cheat, in a large number of UMC cases students were caught using traditional method of chits, which was evident from the loads of chits recovered by the flying squad during surprise checking at examinations centres. Most unfair means cases were detected in the examination of English, Punjabi and mathematics.
“During checks we mostly found students using chits. They keep these chits in their shoes, so before letting the students in the examination centre they were asked to remove shoes for checking,” a member of the flying squad said.
Another member said, “There were students wearing neatly tied turbans that were used to conceal Bluetooth, but these incidents were very few. Girls mostly had these chits in the hemming of the shirts.”
Talking about different ways of cheating, sources in the education board said, “Not this year, but two years back we have detected mass copying being done at a centre with the help of songs being played at a nearby shop. Each song played at the shop was a code to the answers.”
The sources added that this year mostly chits were used for cheating and no such complaint of such kind had been received.
Apart from this, a few members of the supervisory staff also faced the heat for using mobile phones during duty hours, after complaints that the staff was using the same for getting cheating done during the examination.
“Cheating can only be controlled with checking and commitment of the staff. The co-ordination among the education department and the education board helped put a cap on the malpractices. We would be taking strict action against students caught cheating,” Tejinder Kaur Dhaliwal, chairperson, PSEB, said.
She added, “This year owing to strictness and zero tolerance, the detection of the cases of unfair means have gone up. Immediately, the staff was changed and even green cards of the members of the flying squad were changed. More than 75 centres were cancelled from where cheating was reported.”
Border areas cause of concern
The border areas of Amritsar, Ferozepur, Gurdaspur and Tarn Taran are the ones from where maximum cases of cheating have been detected, and these areas remain to be the area of concern for the education department as well as PSEB. This year examination in about 75 centres were cancelled. The board would hold re-examination in these centres for which datesheet is yet to be announced.
Cases of impersonation were also registered during the board examinations. Two such cases were reported from SAS Nagar during the Class 12 examinations. A duo was caught when their signatures and photos on the admit cards did not match.
What happens to the UMC cases
After the examinations are over, a committee looks into various cases of unfair means that have detected. The students are given an opportunity to explain and then on its basis punishment is decided, which would be a warning, debarring a students from examination or any other deemed fit by the committee. Last year during the Class 10 board examinations, 78 unfair means cases were detected, of which in 66 cases students were punished while others were let off. Similarly, in Class 12 board examination, 160 cases of unfair means were detected, of which 146 students were punished while 14 were let off.