Authorities at Ranchi University have announced a financial penalty of Rs 5,000 and other measures to curb rampant cheating by students, a problem that highlights the rot in India’s higher education system and the pressures young men and women face from their families to acquire a college degree.
The decision comes at a time when the varsity has been struggling to tackle tech-savvy students using hi-tech gadgets to cheat during exams.
In the past two years, invigilators at the university have caught at least 50 students using Bluetooth devices to cheat, sources said.
Students of the institution claim that out of every ten people using such unfair means during exams, only one or two are caught.
“We will not stop a student’s promotion if he is caught cheating. However, he will have to clear the paper next year and also pay a fine of Rs 5,000,”said M Raziuddin, pro vice-chancellor of Ranchi University.
Copying is widespread during school and college exams in many parts of India with hundreds of people being arrested in Bihar last year after videos and photographs showed dozens of men climbing the walls of a test centre and handing answers to students inside.
The academic council of the university also decided to start a new department of performing and fine arts in a bid to encourage students with an artistic flair to pursue their dreams, a communique said.
This has been a long-pending demand of renowned local artists such as Haren Thakur and Vinod Ranjan.
“This is a welcome move… Jharkhand desperately needed higher education facilities for students who aspire to become artists,” said Thakur.
Students aspiring to pursue careers in the fields of art leave Jharkhand for higher studies every year and the new department will help stop the exodus, he said.
The council also decided to start special executive MBA courses for working professionals from 2016.
The three-year programme is expected to cater to the higher education needs of working professionals who either do not want to or cannot afford to take a sabbatical, officials said.
The council also approved courses on clinical nutrition and fashion designing at the Ranchi Women’s College.