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LUCKNOW: Setting a dropout record, over 10 lakh examinees skipped the Uttar Pradesh board examinations in the last four days. This comes in the wake of a number of steps taken to pin down the education mafia that abets use of unfair means, and is twice the number of over 5 lakh students who had dropped out of the exams last year.
This year, nearly 66 lakh students registered themselves for UP board examinations for class 10th and 12th, which began on February 6. In just four days, more than 15% of them have dropped out of the exams. With almost a month to go for the exams to end, this percentage is set to rise further. Class X exams will end on February 22 and class XII on March 12.
On Friday, class X students took the English paper while class XII students appeared for mathematics. Education department officials said the dropout rate in these two subjects is usually high.
So far, the highest dropout figure in the board’s history was recorded in 2016, when over 6.4 lakh students skipped the exams.
Even in 1991 and 1992, when present Union home minister Rajnath Singh was the education minister in UP and had introduced an anti-copying ordinance, the dropout number stood at 1.3 lakh and 1.6 lakh, respectively, though the number of students appearing for the examinations was lower than the present number.
UPSEB secretary Neena Srivastava told TOI that the reason for such a high dropout rate could be steps taken by the government to crack down on education mafia that is known to facilitate mass copying.
She said steps like installation of CCTV cameras, deployment of special task force and personal inspection by UP deputy CM Dinesh Sharma, who also holds charge of secondary education, had instilled a fear against mass copying.
Although education department officials were expecting high dropouts this year, the extraordinarily huge number has left them shocked. The dropouts mainly consist of those students who get enrolled in UP schools not to study, but only to appear in examinations. These are usually those students who have failed in previous years in exams conducted by other boards and are promised ‘sure success’ by the education mafia.
There have been many ways of cheating in the past — the most popular among them being impersonation. Besides, at various places, ‘tenders’ for examination centres used to be floated by the mafia to encourage mass copying. Other prevalent practices included changing the first page of the answer copy, distribution of chits inside exam halls and leaking question papers by opening the bundles beforehand. All this was made easy with corrupt officers from education department colluding with the education mafia.
Sharma said apart from roping in STF, steps like making Aadhaar mandatory for invigilators and introducing ‘coding’ system on answer copies have come as a deterrent against copying.