Centre’s exam bill should not hit students: Experts


The proposed Public Examination (Prevention of Unfair Means) Bill in India, with stringent penalties for malpractices, highlights the need for stakeholder collaboration, clear guidelines, and a balance between punishment and rehabilitation. Concerns arise about potential impact on students’ futures and the necessity for revisiting the testing system alongside strict implementation.

Rajendra K Sinha, professor, Jagdish Sheth School of Management, said, “This would require strengthening of IT and physical infrastructure. Developing foolproof IT security systems, and ensuring electronic surveillance. It is important to provide adequate security for invigilators in the centres from the powerful mafias.”

The Union government is expected to introduce a fresh bill in Parliament on Monday to address the issue of malpractice and irregularities in competitive examinations, proposing a maximum jail term of 10 years and a fine of up to Rs 1 crore.

While the Public Examination (Prevention of Unfair Means) Bill, 2024, is much awaited, experts in the educational sector said that stakeholder engagement is key for effective implementation at all levels to punish the ‘paper leak’ mafias. According to news reports, the Union cabinet cleared the bill at a meeting before the Interim Budget.

While the government aims to prevent malpractices, experts fear the bill might hamper the children’s future. Subba Reddy NV, pro vice chancellor, CMR University, said the government should ensure the fine and jail penalty target only those involved in organized cheating schemes and not individual students, as it will jeopardise their future. “Guidelines should include clear distinctions between intentional cheating and unintentional mistakes. Penalties should prioritize rehabilitation and education rather than severe punishment for young offenders,” he added.

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