Mrunal Manmay Dash

The matriculation examination-2023 conducted by the Board of Secondary Education (BSE) Odisha has been marred by allegations of irregularities, malpractice and dropouts from the very first day on March 10.

Term it a coincidence or a travesty, most lapses have been reported from Puri district, the home district of School & Mass Education minister Samir Ranjan Dash.

On Monday, the exam centre clerk of Kakatpur Girls High School, Manas Parida was suspended by the District Education Officer after he was caught using mobile phone during the exam despite clear instructions from the department barring the same.

Similarly, the Superintendent of Nayahata examination centre, near Kakatpur was also disengaged from duty after reports of malpractice by the students surfaced.

This is not all; the Puri DEO removed the centre superintendent and all invigilators of Haripur Adarsha High School under Minister Sameer Dash’s Constituency, Nimapara from Matric examination duty in connection with malpractice deal incident. The move came after a purported audio of a deal between a guardian and a teacher for assisting a candidate in malpractice during the Matric examination went viral on March 11.

A lady teacher of Brahamgiri block was suspended on the first day of the examination for lapses too.

When the district of Puri struggled to provide an ideal examination environment to the students, a large number of absentees in the exams have posed a question on the conduct of examination.

As per reports, despite issuance of admit cards, at least 15,000 students have been marked absent in Matric exams in Odisha till now. In fact, 973 students from Nabarangpur district alone remained absent on the first day of the examination on Saturday.

Asked about the absentees, Minister Dash said, “Because the government filled up all the exam forms and paid the fees, some students remained. If they had to pay up the fees themselves like before, they might not have filled up the forms in the first place.”

“However, the department will definitely look into the matter and see how it can be improved,” Dash said.

On the other hand, the Secretary of Mass education department said that an orientation programme of all the High School head masters will be conducted and the reasons for dropout will be assessed by visiting the homes of concerned students.

(Reported by Sanjay Patim Mihir Jati and Jagdis Das, OTV)