A school principal in Uttar Pradesh’s Mau district has been arrested after a video of him allegedly giving tips to students on how to cheat in the board examinations started doing the rounds on social media, NDTV reported on Thursday. The Uttar Pradesh Secondary Education Board exams started across the state on Tuesday.
Praveen Mall, the manager and principal of the private school in Mau district, was arrested on Wednesday after the secretly-shot video of him addressing students went viral. In the footage, Mall is heard telling the students to maintain discipline even if someone catches hold of one of their “chits [pieces of paper with answers]”. The video was reportedly uploaded to Chief Minister Adityanath’s grievance portal by one of the students.
“You can talk among yourselves and write the papers,” the principal was heard saying. “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.”
The students were also advised not to leave out any answers, and put a “Rs 100 note in the answer sheet”. “...The teachers will blindly give you marks,” he said. “Even if you answer a question wrongly, which is for four marks, they will give you three marks.”
Some of the students are heard saying: “Sahi hai [this is nice]”. The principal ended his speech with “Jai Hind, Jai Bharat”.
More than 56 lakh candidates from Classes 10 and 12 are taking the Uttar Pradesh board exams. The Adityanath-led administration has reportedly made elaborate arrangements to curb mass cheating and arrest those who enable such practices. A state-level monitoring and control room has been set up for CCTV surveillance with around two lakh cameras installed at 7,784 centres in 75 districts of the state. At least two lakh invigilators will be on duty, according to IANS.
A Twitter handle has also been set up for swift resolution of complaints and questions regarding the exams. The state government has also launched a helpline number for the control room with an email ID, and toll free numbers to register complaints.