In an effort to curb cheating tactics employed by both students and teachers during previous exams, 14 vigilance teams have been established by the Sukkur Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education (BISE) to keep a lookout for suspicious activities.
The teams, comprising officials from the BISE and education department, will monitor the annual examinations of grades 11 and 12 which started on Monday.
The Sukkur BISE covers four districts in total, namely Sukkur, Khairpur, Naushahro Feroze and Ghotki, where 100 examination centres have been established. Out of the total, 28 centres are for female students.
According to the BISE exam controller, Mehmoodul Hasan Khokar, 400 cheating cases were caught by the teams in Sukkur, Ghotki, Khairpur and Naushahro Feroze.
Along with the teams, the Sukkur commissioner Inamullah Dharejo, deputy commissioner Sumair Ahmed Syed and SSP Peer Mohammad Shah also paid surprise visits to various examination centres and reportedly caught 178 candidates using unfair means.
Syed told The Express Tribune that he visited multiple examination centres in Sukkur, Rohri and Pano Akil and on Tuesday alone, booked 100 candidates for using unfair means. Students might be upset with us now, but it will be better for them in the long run, said Syed.
Dharejo broke down the total number of cheating students to 100 from Sukkur, 34 from Khairpur, 22 from Ghotki and 12 from Naushahro Feroze.
The deputy commissioner added that two teachers were also caught helping students cheat and action will be taken against them accordingly.
Cheating their way ahead
“The decline of education in Sindh started after 1975 and today it has reached alarming depths since students rely on study guides instead of actually learning through education,” said a shopkeeper, Haji Mohammad Jaffer.
Jaffer, who has been running a bookshop in Sukkur for more than 40 years, said that almost 90 per cent of the students purchasing guides and solved papers are boys while the remaining 10 per cent are girls. According to him, some students buy these materials one month before the examination while others wait 15 to two days before their paper.
Abdul Qadir, also a bookseller, agreed that the dependency of students on these materials has become alarming.
He told The Express Tribune that there is a 25 to 40 per cent profit margin on the sale of these guides and papers.
Some students are so ignorant that they do not even know which paper is taking place on which day, lamented shopkeeper Mohammad Shahid. “One such grade 12 student came to me this morning and when I told him that the Urdu and Sindhi paper was taking place today, he said ‘Just give me the Sindhi guide and a pen, I am getting late’”.
Even a schoolteacher was reportedly seen buying these guides and solved papers for his son. When asked why, he said “I don’t have much knowledge about other subjects and cheaters get more marks anyway”.
When a grade 11 student was asked the same question, he stated simply “No matter how we complete our education, we will get degrees and then jobs. After all, not even our elected representatives have degrees so we will still be better than them”.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 9th, 2012.