news Monday, June 15, 2015 - 05:30
  The Supreme Court has scrapped this year’s All India Pre-Medical Entrance Test (AIPMT) following the leak of its question paper and circulation of answer keys through electronic devices at examination centres in 10 states across the country. The apex court's vacation bench headed by Justice R.K. Agrawal, while scrapping the examination, directed the re-conduct of the same within four weeks. Over 6.3 lakh students took the test conducted by CBSE on May 3, 2015, so re-taking of the examination would force them to go through the entire process again. Aside from the inconvenience caused to candidates, the question that could be asked is why the authorities have not kept up with the times as the cheating examinees have. Activists say that the government has to be sensitive to the affected students. "Either the government should ensure that the examinations are fool-proof, and if they fail, they should pay a compensation to the students who did nothing wrong. Is it easy for the affected students to prepare all over again for the exams?" asks Prince Gajendra Babu, and education activist based in Chennai. Over the past few years, several such instances have come to the fore. The system of conducting examinations in Bihar was under international spotlight earlier this year after a picture emerged of parents and well-wishers scaling walls to pass notes to examinees. Recently, students from the same state took it up a notch, and thirteen students were arrested while using Bluetooth devices to get past the Bihar Combined Entrance Competitive Examination Board test. Many cases have come up in the last few years where organised rackets and touts work in tandem to crack the examination systems. There is also a huge amount of money at stake. In the case of AIPMT, police believe that the scamsters were charging anything between Rs 15-20 lakhs from each student. There is also a parallel development of students depending on technology to cheat on an individual basis. Mobile phones and wireless devices have now become the bane for exam invigilators, replacing the innocuous note you “left on your hand and forgot to erase later”. The problem of cheating could also be attributed to a mindset. In Kerala recently, a senior police official was caught cheating in a law exam. The time and resources taken to re-schedule an examination for lakhs of candidates is a tedious process too. The Central Board of Secondary Education has said that it will approach the SC to seek more time to conduct AIPMT 2015, saying it is not possible to conduct the retest in four weeks, the Times of India reported. “We start preparation for the AIPMT from August. A minimum of seven months is needed for preparation.” Satbir Bedi, the officiating chairman for the CBSE said. The court's order came after a PIL and other petitions were filed seeking the re-conduct of the examination in the wake of leak of the question paper. The petitions contended that it has compromised the integrity of the entrance test. The leaks The Supreme Court, in its judgment, said that tech-savvy students had outwitted the CBSE and asked them to scrap the paper. The CBSE had initially denied the leaks. But Haryana police had arrested four people including two dental surgeons from Gohana for allegedly solving question papers and leaking answer keys of the AIPMT. Though the Haryana police could not arrest the mastermind, they did ask the court to suspend the exams in the interest of justice. While the accused maintained that they had circulated the answers to only nine students, the police suspect that a larger number of students are involved. Uttar Pradesh too has arrested almost a dozen people for the scam. An MBBS student of the Varanasi's Banaras Hindu University allegedly gave the answer keys to candidates of AIPMT and CPMT this year. Activists say that it is about time exam frauds are taken seriously by the government. "There should be legislation that victimized students will be compensated. Examination organizers should be held accountable for cheating under their watch," says Gajendra Babu.
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