The video of Bihar's Intermediate Board toppers failing to respond to elementary questions from their favourite subjects may tickle the funny bones, but it also exposes the rot running deep in education system in the state.
After a sting video by a local television channel went viral, an embarrassed state education department has identified about 14 toppers and ordered them to retake exams to prove that there were no foul plays in securing top marks.
A local news channel interviewed, Ruby Rai, a student of arts, who has scored 88.8 percent in her class 12 board exam. She was caught mispronouncing Political Science as 'Prodigal Science' on camera. What's more, she was under the belief that the subject dealt with 'cooking.'
Another topper in Science stream, Saurabh Shresth, who secured an impressive 97 per cent, failed to answer elementary questions regrading electrons and protons.
“Most reactive element in the periodic table is aluminium," said a visibly unsure Saurabh. He was answering to a question about the most reactive element in the periodic table. Aluminium is part of the less active group.
After the interviews were aired, the government ordered a probe and directed students in question to appear before a special committee on June 3 for an interview and re-exam.
State Education Minister Ashok Chaudhury, though he admitted to the lapses, sought to underplayed the matter.
"I agree that there has been some lapse. But you can't raise questions over the whole examination system due to a couple of such cases," Choudhury was quoted in media reports as saying.
He also added that either proxies took the exams for the students or their answer sheets were replaced with better ones. He assured the role of evaluators in the scam will also be probed and a strict action will be taken against those responsible.
Choudhury has also claimed that the government has undertaken effective measures to check cheating in exams, resulting in decline in overall pass percentage. This year only 56.73 percent students passed, which is steep decline against 86.47 per cent last year. In science, only 67.06 per cent cleared the exams as against last year's 89.32 per cent.
Bihar education system has been reeling under serious exam irregularities. Last year, parents and friends were photographed scaling a wall of the school in Vaishali district to hand over chits to examinees during a matriculation exams.
As part of the anti-cheating measures by the government, all exam centres were brought under CCTV surveillance. It also announced a fine of Rs 10,000 for students who caught cheating, besides punishing those caught helping them.