3.5 lakh students bunk Hindi test in ‘ anti- English’ UP
Absenteeism rises in Class X & XII board exams
Strict Vigil against copying keeps students away
By Piyush Srivastava in Lucknow
IN AN irony of sorts, over 3.5 lakh students in the country’s Hindi heartland failed to appear for the Hindi paper in the state’s board examination. Uttar Pradesh has been protesting against English education since a quarter of a century.
The impact of the ‘ Hindi lao angreji hatao’ movement launched by socialist leaders in the 1970s was so strong, lakhs of students stopped learning the English alphabet. Former chief minister Mulayam Singh Yadav went to the extent of calling English the “ language of corrupt people”.
Hindi has traditionally held sway in UP, even though it’s English that has helped India shine globally. But this year’s state board examinations have revealed a disturbing trend. The Uttar Pradesh school education department wants to set up a committee to probe why over 3.5 lakh examinees bunked the Hindi test on Thursday. Officials admitted that never before had such a large number of students evaded Hindi papers.
“ So far this year, the drop- out rate was the highest for the Hindi test,” said Prabha Tripathi, secretary of the Board of High School and Intermediate Education. “ We will form a committee to find out why so many students stayed away from the test.” But, the board estimates the drop- out rate could rise in the coming days.
“ If this trend continues, we estimate that over five lakh students will not take the mathematics test on March 10 and 12. For the English papers, the drop- out figure could be as high as seven lakh. These two are the most commonly dreaded subjects,” Tripathi said.
K. M. Tripathi, director, secondary education, said the entire examination system has been revamped this year to check cheating. “ We have tightened the screws on not only unscrupulous students but also teachers. Absenteeism among teachers and their active encouragement to use unfair means is equally deplorable.
Absenteeism has a direct bearing on students’ inclination to cheat. So this session, we had provided teachers with a schedule- book and a calendar to keep track of what they taught on a day- today basis,” he said. He added that strict measures were taken to pre- empt cheating. “ There was a trend to write out the answers on the blackboards. So we instructed every school to either remove the boards from the classrooms or apply a mud coat on it during the duration of the examinations.
The strictness may also be a reason why the drop- out rate has been so high this year,” he said. Education minister Rangnath Mishra said: “ Till date, the government was taken for granted. When Kalyan Singh was the chief minister he had tried to control cheating but failed because the teachers and students resisted his efforts. But this government is made of sterner stuff.”
Expressing the government’s determination to clean up the education system, Mishra said, “ In the last three days, over three dozen school managers have been booked and half a dozen teachers or school employees have been arrested for helping students cheat. Some have been suspended.”
Mishra said while around 46.5 lakh students appeared on the first day of Class X and XII examinations on March 4, the number dipped to 45 lakh the next day. On March 6, the day the Hindi test was held, only 43 lakh wrote their papers. On March 25, when English- I test will be held, as few as 39 lakh students may turn up, he said. “ Given that we have cracked down on cheating very harshly this time, it’s expected that students who are not prepared will develop a phobia and stay away from the examination hall,” he added.
But even he could not explain why Hindi should be on the dreaded list with English and maths in the Hindi belt. piyush. srivastava@ mailtoday. in
A committee will probe the trend to skip exams By Piyush Srivastava in Lucknow 3.5 lakh students bunk Hindi test in ‘ anti- English’ UP Absenteeism rises in Class X & XII board exams NOT HONEST ENOUGH? Strict measures taken by UP to pre- empt cheating may have scared many students away.