The Bihar School Examination Board that conducts the exam has barred students from wearing shoes and socks, in an attempt to curb cheating. Those who had put on shoes were allowed inside the examination centres only after removing their footwear.
The move is part of the guidelines issued by the board to check malpractices. In the past, there had been many instances of cheating on a mass scale during the Class 10 and intermediate board exams.
The restriction on shoes evoked mixed reaction among examinees. “We have been told to wear slippers. I don’t know how this will help, the government would do well to improve the quality of education,” said Avnish, at an examination centre in Patna. But there were others who backed the board’s measure. “Earlier students used to hide ‘chits’ in their shoes and carry them to the examination halls. Now, they cannot,” said Pritam Kumar.
In the recently concluded intermediate board exams, nearly 1000 students were expelled for cheating.
The opposition RJD has criticised the government for issuing what it calls a diktat.
“Examinees barred from wearing shoes and socks. In the future, there’s a possibility that the Nitish Kumar government will bar students from wearing clothes but the government won’t improve the education system,” tweeted Tejashwi Yadav, leader of the opposition in the Bihar assembly.
The government has defended the banning of shoes and socks, saying it will spare examinees the hassle of standing in long queues to be frisked.
“The move will help check unfair practices. To check whether so many students have hid anything in their shoes will take a lot of time,” said Education Minister Krishnanandan Prasad Verma.