Almost all the newspapers of Orissa have carried public shock over the fiasco in Board of Secondary Education even though none of them including the ones run by Navin loyalists has been able to throw light on how the chief minister and his cabinet colleagues view the havoc wrecked on the life of the students, which indicates that the present ministry has nothing to worry over the matter.

With BJP in power, schools under the banner of the Saraswati Bidya Mandir have been marked for having bagged many top positions in High School Certificate Examinations and this year too saffron school students have occupied ten berths in the group of the best ten. This would instigate more flow of students into the saffron chain and into whatever extracurricular activities go on there.

However without any prejudice to the achievement of these students, instances that prove that examiners have not discharged their duties properly and fairly blurs the credibility of the results whereof the group of the best ten is the greatest beneficiary.

A look into the case of Ms. Rina Sahoo of Shiva Durga High School at Panchapada of Chandabali proves the point. She has obtained 85 marks in Oriya, 83 in English, 95 in Sanskrit, 99 in compulsory Mathematics, 89 in Social studies, 99 in optional Mathematics, 99 in optional Science; totaling 649. But she has failed. The reason: she has obtained zero mark in compulsory Science!

How is it possible?

In only two circumstances this was possible. These are: (1) lack of zeal on part of the examiners in paying due attention to all the answer papers consequence upon fixing of results And (2) lack of probity on part of the examiners engaged to eliminate possible rivals of favored students in course of fixing of topper positions.

That the results were fixed is suspected from another angle. The High School attached to the Board, known as Board High School, is a model High School and its students were supposed to fetch good marks, big enough to claim top positions. Unless possible toppers were obstructed, the scheme of position-fixing, if any, would not have succeeded. For this reason perhaps, all of the Board School students were restricted to 30 marks in Mathematics. As for example, Sandip Kumar Acharya (Roll No.35RG205) has obtained only 30 marks in compulsory Maths even though in all other subjects he has got at the rate of more then 90.

Restricting meritorious students with only 30 marks in Maths is not limited to the Board School. This has also been the strategy in cases of different other Schools. As for example, Ms. Akamkshya Biswal (Roll No. 18PB007) has got a total of 692 marks at the rate of at least 90 per subject except compulsory Mathematics wherein she has been restricted to 30 marks only. So award of 30 marks in Mathematics to many meritorious students is clearly an attempt to eliminate rival aspirants for top ten positions. But the mischief is not limited to mark restriction. It is more conspicuous in allocation of highest possible marks to whosoever the examiners or the board wanted in top position. And, this is a trend that we mark ever since the saffron schools are seen bagging positions in best ten.

Take the marks of the first position holders for a study.

The topper of 2004 had obtained a total of 710 out of 800 marks. The next year’s topper got 713 marks. The topper of 2006 bagged further more marks by obtaining 724 numbers. This trend further increased to 727 allotted to the topper of 2007. This year, it is 761.

When the success rate of students is declining year after year suggesting a decline in intensity of teaching imparted in schools how the toppers year after year are obtaining marks in ever increasing a pattern and making newer records in their corresponding years is a matter that needs special investigation.

Whether or not there is a continuous position fixing in vogue in HSC Exams can be determined only through a judicial scrutiny of this scenario.

We feel it is needed. But will the CM agree?

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