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NEW DELHI: More than 6 lakh students of the 66 lakh-odd who registered for the Uttar Pradesh Board exams have skipped their papers in the first three days of the cycle.
The state’s deputy chief minister – also the secondary education minister – Dinesh Sharma, credits the government’s crackdown on the education mafia operating in Uttar Pradesh as the reason behind the trend.
“About 80% of these examinees were from outside UP. They enrolled themselves in schools which they never attended. In previous years, such examinees were seen only during the examinations. Students enrolled in schools where no teaching-learning took place the entire year, too, dropped out this year. Quite a high number of students who are promised ‘sure success’ by education mafia have also dropped out,” he said.
The Uttar Pradesh Secondary Education Board, too, echoes a similar belief, and expects attendance to drop further given the “strict measures” against cheating that have been adopted.
The Board estimates that 6,33,217 did students not turned up within the first three days of the exams. Of these, 3,79,782 were high school students, and 2,53,435 study in the intermediate.
2,89,308 students were not present on day one of this year’s examination, and more than 2.15 lakh on day two.
Going by the current trend, it expects more than 7.5 lakh to have dropped out by the end of the exam cycle. In fact, the number of absentees uptil now has already crossed the total number of drop outs from last year.
UP’s notorious ‘nakal mafia’ is known to run copying rackets in examinations. The illegal means employed by them range from “impersonation to tender to purchase of exam centre by mafia to duplicate printing of first page of answer copies.”
Some measures that the state government took to disrupt the mafia’s operations included “online allotment of examination centres, installation of CCTV cameras at schools and roping in UP Police’s special task force.”
Significantly, both, the number of registrations and drop outs, have increased this year as opposed to the last.
“While the number of students writing board examination this year has gone up to 66.37 lakh from 55 lakh in 2017, the exam centres were reduced to 8,549 from 11,415 last year for better control. We have made 220 days of teaching compulsory in schools by cutting down 15 holidays. When teaching will take place, students will not take to copying,” said Sharma.
He added that he has “no complaints” against teachers, and that they even “help us as informers in cracking down on education mafia.”
The Deputy CM believes the money involved in education scams is “much higher than in any big industry” – to the tune of “hundred of crores of rupees.”
Ina related development, the number of students caught copying this year also rose sharply – from 16 on day one to a whopping 128 on day two. Mathura stood right in front with 25 cheating cases, while 19 cases of cheating were reported from Ballia. Both districts now share the distinction of being ‘sensitive’ with reference to such malpractices.
The UP board exams started on February 6.