Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

The Board of Secondary Education (BSE), Odisha is using Artificial Intelligence (AI)-powered CCTV surveillance cameras for the very first time to maintain discipline and prevent malpractice during the ongoing Matriculation examination across the State. This technological initiative underscores a firm commitment to fairness and transparency in academic evaluations. The advanced technology has reportedly prevented malpractices in some examination centres and caught unauthorised entry of some police personnel into examination halls in some parts of the State.

Human eyes may be hoodwinked. However, nothing can escape the ever-alert AI-operated powerful cameras. AI has come to the action mode from the very beginning of the board examination. 

Take the case of Ananta Narayan High School in Narasinghapur village under Cuttack district. Following an alert by AI about the unauthorized entry of a police official into the examination hall, the Board has ordered the District Education Officer (DEO) to conduct an inquiry. The Board has also apprised the district Collector and requested him to take action against the erring official. 

Moreover, the AI-operated cameras have identified three examinees indulging in malpractices during the examination.  The AI has also alerted about loopholes during the frisking of the candidates near the gate and in the alignment of desks and benches inside the examination halls. Based on the AI alert, the Board reprimanded the DEO not to repeat such lapses. The Board has also ordered the DEO to submit a report in this regard.

“As per the arrangement, team one is to frisk the candidates near the gate and team two is to observe the process. However, as per the AI alert, both teams were found frisking the candidates. After receiving an AI alert in this regard, we have given instructions to rectify the process,” said BSE president, Srikanta Tarai.

“AI-based CCTV cameras have been installed in sensitive and hyper-sensitive examination centres. In other centres, only normal CCTV cameras have been installed,” said BSE vice-president, Nihar Ranjan Mohanty. 

As per reports, the AI-powered CCTV cameras are capable of detecting any abnormal activities under its purview and sending alerts to the Command Centre. The cameras are keeping a hawk-eye on malpractice by the candidates, any kind of gossip among students, displacement of benches and desks, use of mobile phones inside the examination hall, immobility of invigilators inside the hall, congregation of more than the required number of people inside the strong room, timely opening and closing of gates, timely opening of the question papers and distribution of answer sheets. Moreover, AI will also send alerts if it finds the teachers and police personnel gossiping among them.

“There might be errors in manual CCTV cameras. However, AI-powered CCTV cameras will pick up even the slightest of movements inside the examination halls,” said AI expert, Ojas Goutam.

“In the case of normal CCTV cameras, the operators have to check every footage manually and it almost becomes impossible to check three hours of footage across all the examination centers in the State. However, the AI-powered cameras are programmed on what to do and what not to do during the examination. As a result, AI alerts about the violations instantly,” said IT expert, Binayak Sahu.

As the first board in the country, BSE has taken the help of AI to streamline and discipline the examination process in Odisha. AI-powered CCTV surveillance cameras have been installed in around 100 sensitive and hyper-sensitive examination centres. Moreover, live streaming is also being made from all the nodal centres. These have been directly connected with the command control room of the Board office. The live streaming of the videos is being conducted and AI alerts are being displayed on huge LED screens. The Board authorities and a 20-member observer team are keeping a strong vigil on the video and the alerts. If any kind of indiscipline is observed, the team will inform to a three-member committee of the Board officials. Following a review, the Board will take appropriate actions against the erring persons.

“There have been a lot of advantages by installing AI-powered CCTV surveillance. AI gives instant alerts on any kind of movement and unnecessary gatherings. We can know about the developments by sitting even in the classroom,” said Sunita Bhoi, Headmistress of Rayagada Government High School.

The AI-powered CCTV surveillance is also being used during the ongoing Plus 2 examinations that began across the State from February 16.