The Uttar Pradesh board examination for Class X and Class XII commenced on February 6, 2018, and will continue until 12 March 2018. The Class X board exams will end on February 22 and class XII on March 12.
Around 66 lakh students had registered themselves for the exams, but in the last four days, over 15% of the examinees dropped out. This is twice the number of over 5 lakh students who had dropped out of the exams last year.
Although it looks like this is a recipe for disaster, the high dropout rates could be due to a very good reason.
The Education Department in UP is on a mission to curb down the influence of education mafia on students appearing for their board examinations.
According to The Times of India, most students who drop out, are those who appeared for the board examinations previously but had failed. The education mafia targets and tempts such students to register their name for the exams, and then indulge in mass copying techniques, which may guarantee them a passing certificate.
A few of the most popular techniques of copying are impersonating, changing the first page of the answer copies, distributing chits and leaking question papers. The mafia took support from corrupt officials within the educational department.
However, the government has taken steps to curb down these mischief makers and control cheating practices in the UP board exams.
Neena Srivastava, secretary of UPSEB (Uttar Pradesh Secondary Education Board) told TOI that installing CCTV cameras, deploying a Special Task Force (STF), as well as a personal inspection by Dinesh Sharma, the Deputy CM of UP, who is also in charge of secondary education, may have led to a fear of mass copying, thus resulting in such a high dropout rate.
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They have also made Aadhaar cards mandatory for invigilators and introduced codes on answer sheets to bring down the rate of copying in the exam halls.
At 10 lakh, the dropout rate of board examinees has set a new record. So far, the highest dropout figure in the board’s history was when over 6.4 lakh students skipped the exams, in 2016.