Telangana is witnessing an unprecedented situation with many intermediate students and their parents protesting the alleged blunders committed by the Telangana State Board of Intermediate Education (TSBIE). Supporting their cause, several political parties and activists have hit the streets seeking the removal of Education Minister G Jagadish Reddy.
In the recently announced results, there have been mass complaints of discrepancies. TSBIE is accused of failing several students who have scored good grades in their intermediate first year. The pass percentage declined by 2% for the first time in five years. Due to the alleged blunders, nearly 20 students across the state have killed themselves after they didn’t pass the exams.
Shocked by the results, students and their parents allege that the board is to blame. They claim that Globarena Technologies Pvt Ltd, the firm that was awarded the contract to do both data processing (admissions, centre allotment, etc) and result processing, committed an error which led to scores of students failing.
Congress national spokesperson Sravan Dasoju alleged that TSBIE had violated several norms and handed the contract to an inexperienced firm.Earlier, the data processing was handled by Centre for Good Governance (CGG), while the result processing was carried out by other private agencies.
However, TSBIE merged the two processes in 2017 and floated a tender. The contract was bagged by Globarena through bidding. But the Congress leader alleges that the firm was given the contract despite not fulfilling the pre-requisites mandated by TSBIE.
According to the contract (Item.No.3, Pre-qualification criteria), there are 11 mandatory eligibility criterions and two of these were overlooked by the board.
As per criteria no. 6: “Should have executed technology based examination solution for a single Board/Government University with a single purchase order with 3 lakh enrolled students per year during any of the last 5 academic years.” Criteria no. 7 reads: “Should have executed technology based examination solutions for a minimum of 5 Government Universities/Government Boards, one must be from any State Intermediate Board from India.”
However, Sravan alleged that Globarena had provided services to only 2.5 lakh students in the past five years, which is 50,000 short of the required 3 lakh student count.
He said, “As per criteria no.7, the firm should have executed technology based examination solutions for a minimum of 5 Government Universities from any State Intermediate Board from India. But as per the experience certificates produced by Globarena Technologies, the firm has never worked for any Intermediate Board anywhere in the country.”
“The firm has done only the miniscule task of online revaluation of answer scripts for only 20,000 students for TSBIE,” Sravan claimed.
Accusing TSBIE of deliberately overlooking the shortcomings of Globarena, Sravan sought the suspension of TSBIE secretary A Ashok Kumar.
Responding to the allegations, Globarena CEO VSN Raju said, “We got this order through the tender process. They were two companies that competed with us. However, during the technical presentation we fared better and scored T-1. We even won the financial bid.”
The CEO is also said to have close ties with former education minister Kadiyam Srihari. Responding to this, Raju said, “I didn’t get this contract through anybody’s recommendation.”
Denying allegations that his firm is inexperienced, Raju said that Globarena has been in the field for the last 20 years and has provided technical support to 26 universities and boards.
He also completely denied that Globarena committed any errors which resulted in mass numbers of students failing.
TSBIE secretary Ashok Kumar, meanwhile, claimed that there were no errors from TSBIE’s end. For one instance of a student getting zero marks initially and later securing 99 marks after re-verification, he said that two officials, the examiner and scrutiniser, had erred. “It is a mistake, we have asked for an explanation from them. Besides taking action against them, they would also be fined for the blunder,” he said.
A thorough inquiry by a three-member committee into the matter is underway. The report is expected to be submitted on Wednesday.