Officials say dearth of staff, no police deployment main reasons
Srinagar: In view of reports of mass copying at exam centres across Kashmir, the J&K State Board of School Education (JKBOSE) has cancelled several papers of the Class 10 and Class 12 bi-annual examinations that concluded recently.
Officials at JKBOSE are citing dearth of required staff at the examination centres and the doing away with police deployment – “fearing a law and order situation with students at the exam centres” – as challenges in bringing transparency to the board’s examinations.
The Class 10 and 12 bi-annual examinations ended in the first week of April. Now in separate notifications, JKBOSE has cancelled at least 5 papers at many centres in both the exams.
“The action has been taken in view of reports received from inspection teams regarding mass copying resorted to by the examinees,” the notifications read.
The papers were cancelled at centres in districts across Kashmir valley. JKBOSE has shifted “with immediate effect” scores of examination centres elsewhere.
An official at the board told Kashmir Reader that reports about mass copying at the said centres “means all the candidates are involved”.
He said that nobody among the candidates had turned up to challenge the board’s decision to cancel the exams, even though the board had given them a chance to do so.
“We cancelled one of the papers weeks ago, but nobody among the students approached us to present their version,” he said.
Although there are “little chances” that the cancelled papers would be held afresh, the official said, “the board is still thinking over a fresh examination”.
Asked why JKBOSE had consistently been in news for mass copying in its examinations, a board insider cited dearth of staff as the major reason.
“In this year’s Class 10 and 12 bi-annual examinations, we had set up around 900 centres, including around 500 for Class 12 and some 400 for Class 10. It means that even if JKBOSE deploys only one staffer per centre, it requires 900 people. But the board has just 250-300 staffers available for the job. At the end, the exams are compromised. This is a problem,” he explained.
To add to the board’s burden, it doesn’t deploy police anymore as it traditionally used to at the examination centres. “We used to deploy police personnel outside the examination halls but the situation is such nowadays that police are pelted with stones wherever people see them. The police is not deployed anymore out of fear that it will create law and order problems,” a board insider said.
He said that JKBOSE “only carries out the placement” of the examination staff appointed by the School Education Department.
Secretary JKBOSE, Riyaz Ahmad, told Kashmir Reader that the papers had been cancelled “to maintain sanctity” of the board examinations.
Riyaz ruled out any dearth of staff required for conducting fair examinations. He said it was the School Education Department’s domain to deploy superintendents, invigilators and other officials.
He also ruled out holding examinations afresh of the cancelled papers.