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Maharashtra: New board exam guidelines to prevent malpractices

March 17, 2022

-Dipta Joshi

In a bid to avert irregularities during the class X and class XII board exams, the Maharashtra state government has issued a list of measures which includes banning latecomers from appearing for the exams. The guidelines are the state’s response to the alleged board exam malpractices reported in the media over the past week.

The state’s education minister, Varsha Gaikwad informed the state’s legislative assembly Wednesday about the new guidelines announced by the Maharashtra State Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education (MSBSHSE). The class XII and class X, conducted by the MSBSHSE across the state began March 4 and March 15 respectively.

Until now, candidates reaching the centres 10-20 minutes late were allowed to appear after seeking permission by the board officials present at the centre. However, after several reports of alleged malpractices showed the involvement of students who reached the examination centres late, the board issued guidelines wherein all candidates need to be seated within their allotted classrooms 10 minutes before the scheduled examination when the question papers are distributed to the students for reading purposes only.

According to the new guideline, students will need to be present at the examination centres an hour earlier than the exam’s scheduled time. Currently students begin writing their papers at 10.30 am (morning batch) and 3 pm (afternoon batch). 

Last week, possible paper leaks were reported after screenshots of answers to the class XII Chemistry and Mathematics question papers were found on students’ cell phones. A Mumbai based private coaching class teacher was arrested for helping students affiliated to his classes cheat. 

This year, post the third wave of the COVID pandemic, students and parents have been jittery about possible COVID infections while travelling to examination centers. Thus the government allowed students to write the board exams at their home schools itself which has led to increased reports of alleged irregularities involving school officials.

On March 15, large scale copying was reported during the class X Marathi language paper at the Laxmibai Secondary and Higher Secondary School in Paithan district. Preliminary inquiries revealed the school’s headmaster, co-teachers and non-teaching staff were all involved in helping the school’s students cheat. Taking stern action against the school, the state has cancelled the school’s board code and board recognition too.

The education minister has warned of similar action against other schools and individuals found guilty of abetting any exam malpractices. A total of 34 lakh students are appearing for the class X and class XII board exams this year. The state government has even sought police security to ensure that malpractices like cheating and paper leaking are kept at bay.

Also read: Mumbai: Final year college students appeal for online exams

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