December 18, 2016
With the recent announcement of Human Resource Development Minister Prakash Javadekar stressing on making student competitive examinations such as CAT, NEET, and NET Aadhar-linked to prevent fraud and impersonation, questions are being raised in many quarters about any such fool-proof mechanism to check impersonation in board and competitive examinations in Tamil Nadu. The Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) has already been Aadhar-linked.
Activists argue that impersonation was rampant, particularly among private candidates, who had appeared for SSLC and Plus Two exams in the past.
“Until a year back there was no photo identity in mark sheets issued by the TN School Education Department, which paved the way for impersonation on a large scale,” said a social activist.
“There were instances of a candidate impersonating for as many as 10 candidates in SSLC and Plus Two exams held thrice a year (for private candidates), until the mandatory photo ID was introduced. The impersonators would change exam centres frequently to avoid getting caught and punished. A bank official, whom I know, had cleared his SSLC after paying Rs. 5000 to an impersonator. The said person joined college, completed his degree before landing up in the bank job. Those who fail the exams even after repeated attempts choose this short cut and forge testimonials,” said K. Rani, a Headmistress of Government Higher secondary school.
“Employing crude tricks such as covering face with a shawl, on the pretext of suffering from chicken pox or some other disease and wearing a burkha, are some of them,” said another educationist.
“Such impersonations could be checked if the authorities who attest their papers (a gazetted officer or the head master) are taken to task after the impersonator is caught. Has there been any such cases of arrest in Tamil Nadu for impersonation or abetting impersonation?” asks Prince Gajendra Babu, General Secretary of State Platform for Common Schools, an NGO.
“Even though applications for private candidates are submitted through service centers in respective educational districts, private coaching centers, tend to indulge in malpractice and exploit the loopholes in the system for purely commercial purposes,” says a consumer activist.
Chief Educational Officer N. Arulmurugan said “impersonation is largely checked after the practice of issuing mark sheets with photo identity was started a year back. But now linking it with aadhar would help,” he said.