Students in India are reportedly failing to come in to take their exams as anti-cheating efforts have increased, government officials said.
India's education system is exam driven, which has resulted in a rise in cheating-related scandals. The government confirmed that 661,643 Indian students — approximately 10 percent of the student body — didn't show up for their annual examinations, the Washington Post reported.
Dinesh Sharma, an education minister for Uttar Pradesh (UP) — an Indian state, claimed that government officials are implementing new measures to prevent mass cheating from occurring during the UP board exam. Such regulations included supervising suspicious exam centers, installing surveillance cameras and terminating the employment of lenient district inspectors.
"In the cheating racket, genuine students are worst sufferers," Sharma told Times of India. "We have made 220 days of teaching compulsory in schools by cutting down 15 holidays. When teaching will take place, students will not take to copying."
"Next year, UP board exam will be held in a time span of 15 days. We will also display answer copies of top 10-15 students on display," he added.
Harsher cheating rules have led the annual examination attendance to reduce from 8,549 to last year's 11,415, Sharma said. However, some students — and even authority figures — have decided to risk the chance of getting caught. On the first day of testing, a special task force (STF) of the police arrested school Principal Shiv Prasad Singh — among two others — for their involvement in helping students cheat during an examination period.
Principal Singh is said to have "a history of facilitating copying," the Times of India reported.
"Despite the closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras being in place, a teacher, identified as Anil Kumar, of Bara, was found dictating answers to students in the classroom number 6," Praveen Singh, a member of STF, told Hindustan Times. "He was arrested on the spot and the cheating material [was] seized and sealed."
The exam period is scheduled to end Mar. 12.