On February 5, 2024, Assam’s cabinet ushered in a new era in the state’s education system with the introduction of the ‘Examination Bill’ during the first day of the Budget Session in the 15th Legislative Assembly. This legislative move comes as a robust response to the persistent challenge of examination malpractices, particularly cheating and the unauthorized leaking of question papers.
The stringent provisions of the bill aim to deter individuals involved in such malpractices, signaling a clear intent to uphold the integrity of the examination process. According to the contents of the Bill, individuals caught cheating during examinations could face up to 3 years in jail, coupled with a fine not less than Rs 1 lakh. The gravity of leaking examination papers is met with even harsher consequences – a fine ranging from Rs 10 lakh to Rs 10 crore and a prison term of up to 10 years.
This legislative initiative gains significance against the backdrop of reported incidents of question paper leaks that disrupted the High School Leaving Certificate (HSLC) exams in the previous academic year. The government’s commitment to address this issue is evident in the substantial penalties outlined in the Bill.
One key highlight is the prohibition of candidates possessing question papers without proper authorization. This move aims to curtail the unauthorized distribution of question papers, a practice that has been a major concern affecting the fairness of examinations. Selling question papers and aiding candidates during exams are also explicitly addressed in the Bill, indicating a comprehensive approach to tackle various forms of malpractices.
To reinforce the control over the printing of question papers, the Bill mandates that only government-authorized presses can undertake this crucial task. This regulation seeks to create a more secure environment by limiting access to the production process, thereby reducing the likelihood of leaks from the source.
The introduction of the Examination Bill reflects the government’s resolve to create a level playing field for all students and restore faith in the examination system. By imposing substantial penalties, the legislation seeks not only to punish wrongdoers but also to serve as a deterrent for potential offenders. As Assam takes a firm stand against exam malpractices, the success of this legislative effort will be measured by its impact on ensuring the fairness and credibility of future examinations in the state.