In the latest education scam from Bihar, it appears that students can purchase top-scoring intermediate certificates for around Rs 5 lakh without even having to write the exam. Moreover, many schools and colleges have been getting their affiliations by improper means. All these skeletons are tumbling out in the light of probes launched after a TV sting found this year’s top-scoring students struggling to answer basic questions about their subjects. Examinations in Bihar have been infamous for cheating. Last year, during the Class 10 exams, photos of adults scaling walls to pass chits to their wards made national news.
The Bihar Board results for the academic session 2015-16 were declared later last month in which the pass percentages fell by a fifth in Class 10 as well as Class 12. Before the state government could take credit for the clean-up, the interviews of the toppers blew up. Most memorable part of the interview was that the Girl Topper Ruby Rai said political science is about cooking. This clearly reflects rot in the state of education has certainly been a long time cooking. On the other hand boy topper Saurabh Shrestha, the son of a railway contractor, who scored almost 85 per cent in the science stream, didn’t know what is the most reactive metal on the Periodic Table (Caesium) and said there are only two electrons in a Sodium atom (there are 11).
In the eye of the storm is Vishun Rai College where these students were enrolled. The institution is headed by Amit Kumar, aka ‘Baccha’ Rai, the alleged kingpin of the scandal. He is the prime accused in the FIR filed by the Bihar education department on June 7. He, along with Shrestha, Kumar and his daughter, Shalini Rai, has been charged with forgery, cheating and conspiring to commit a crime.
As per the latest release, Bihar board ‘topper’ Ruby Rai, who had triggered a controversy by telling a television channel political science pertained to cooking, was arrested after appearing before the Bihar School Examination Board for a re-test. While the Ex-chairman of Bihar School Examination Board (BSEB) Lalkeshwar Prasad Singh, the alleged mastermind of the toppers scam in the Bihar intermediate examination, and his former JD(U) MLA wife Usha Sinha were arrested five days before. While on June 8, amid mounting pressure with regard to alleged irregularities in the 10+2 toppers’ scandal, Lalkeshwar Prasad Singh today resigned from his post.
All in all, people used to get their money’s worth in return. As per the figures released last year, out of the 1,007 students in the college, no one got less than 60 per cent. Moreover, 222 students got identical marks. Suspecting something fishy, the education department put their results on hold, but later due to unexplained reasons the embargo was lifted.
The masterminds of the case worked in a systematic manner for at least six years to allow those who could afford it to get the top spots on the merit charts. The first step would start at the time of admission. At least Rs 50,000 used to be taken from aspiring students at the time of admission with the promise that the candidate would achieve success. In case of girl students, the charges were a bit higher as good education improves their marriage prospects.
How deep the roots of this scandal have spread can be gauged from the fact that while all answer sheets from the Vaishali district were sent to evaluation centres in the Kaimur and Rohtas districts, those of Vishun Rai College were sent to a centre in Patna on Lalkeswar Prasad’s special orders.
Irrespective of the fact, the Nitish government took some tough measures to ensure cheating-free exams. All the examination centres were put under CCTV surveillance. This is the situation. The authorities had even announced a fine of up to Rs 10,000 on students found using unfair means and punish the guardians found helping their child cheating.