A school principal in Uttar Pradesh was arrested on Wednesday after he was caught on camera giving tips to students on cheating in board exams. The Uttar Pradesh Secondary Education Board (UPSEB) exams began across the state on Tuesday.
Praveen Mall, manager-cum-principal of a private school in Mau district, about 300 km from Lucknow, was filmed secretly by a one of the students on his mobile phone when he was addressing them recently.
In the clip, Mr Mall is seen giving a talk to students, in the presence of some parents, about how to cheat in board exams and beat the strict measures put in place by the state government.
The student uploaded the clip, with a complaint, on Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s grievance portal, leading to Mr Mall’s arrest.
“I can challenge that none of my students ever fail… they have nothing to be scared of,” Mr Mall says in nearly two minute-long clip.
“You can talk among yourselves and write the papers. Don’t touch anyone’s hands. You speak to each other… that is fine. Don’t be scared. The teachers at your government school exam centres are my friends. Even if you get caught and someone gives you a slap or two, don’t be scared. Just bear with them,” he is heard saying in the clip.
Some people in the crowd respond to him saying: “Sahi hai (this is nice)”.
“Don’t leave any answers. Just put a Rs. 100 note in the answer sheet… the teachers will blindly give you marks. Even if you answer a question wrongly, which is for four marks, they will give you three marks,” Mr Mall says. He concludes the address with the slogan: “Jai Hind, Jai Bharat“.
Over 56 lakh candidates from Class 10 and Class 12 are appearing for the state board exams, which began on Tuesday. This year, the UP government has made extensive arrangements to check mass cheating and arrest those who facilitate such practices.
A state-level monitoring and control room for CCTV surveillance and monitor voice recordings has been set up. Nearly two lakh CCTV cameras have been installed at 7,784 centres in 75 districts of the state. Around two lakh invigilators are on duty.
The Uttar Pradesh Secondary Education Board (UPSEB) has identified 938 centres as “sensitive” and 395 as “hyper-sensitive”, suggesting that these centres are vulnerable to such practices.
In a first, the state government has also launched a Twitter handle for immediate resolution of complaints and queries. In addition, helpline numbers for the control room, e-mail id and toll free numbers can be used to register complaints of anything related to the board examination.