In the 2003 hit Bollywood film ‘Munnabhai MBBS’, Sanjay Dutt (playing a goon) uses an impersonator to qualify for medical college. Punjab had its own share of ‘Munnabhais’ in the Class-10/12 examinations.
The education board caught four elder cousins or siblings writing examination in place of candidates this year. It registered 213 unfair means cases - 111 from Class 10 and 102 from Class 12.
Strict invigilation has brought down the number of cheating cases over the past five years but the favourite aid - ‘parchi’ (chits) - and the places to keep it safe - bathrooms, shoes, the hemming of the girls’ shirts - remain unchanged. “At many centres, the students were asked to remove their shoes before checking in. At many centres, they didn’t put their shoes back on even when asked to,” said a flying squad officer.
A handful of students this year also took away the answer sheets. At one centre, they locked the gate to hold the flying squad outside for about 10 minutes before it seized huge photocopied material as evidence of mass copying. The complaint that the solutions to all the examination questions were written on the blackboard could not be substantiated.
In 2013, Bluetooth was the hottest hi-tech means of cheating. Students concealed these short-distance wireless devices underneath their turbans. Later, a rule came to confiscate all Bluetooth devices before the test starts. In 2012, an ingenious method of cheating cane to light. At one of the centres, answers coded in a song were played over loudspeaker from a nearby shop.
If you thought students found science subjects the toughest, think again. Most of the unfair means cases are detected in physics, chemistry, biology, mathematics, and English papers for Class-12 and mathematics, English, Punjabi and science papers for Class 10.
Borders on serious
The border areas of Amritsar, Ferozepur, Gurdaspur and Tarn Taran are from where maximum cases of cheating have come to light. Invigilation there remains a headache for the education department as well the school education board.