The Bihar government on Saturday received a report on a re-assessment of 14 toppers of Class 12 examination which was meant to find out if they really deserved their high grades or had cheated their way to the top.
“We have sent the report of re-test of toppers to the state government which will now decide about change in the list of toppers or their merit,” said Lalkeshwar Prasad, the Chairman of the Bihar School Examination Board (BSEB), which conducts the Class 12 exam.
“Action would be taken on the basis of the report of re-test and whoever is found guilty at whichever level,” he said.
The 14 students were called for a re-assessment by the BSEB after Aaj Tak TV channel showed a sting in which Rubi Rai, who topped the Class 12 exam in the Arts, said: “Prodikal (read political) science is about cooking.”
The sting showed Saurabh Shreshtha, a Science topper, saying: “Most reactive element in the periodic table is aluminium.”
The failure of two of the students to sensibly answer some questions about the subjects they ‘topped’ in suggested that education in Bihar continues to be a very dubious affair with the possibility that cheating and fraud continue on a large scale.
All 14 toppers, except Ruby Rai, appeared on Friday for the re-assessment before a panel of experts and anti-corruption wing of the BSEB which tried to find out if they are toppers for real or used impersonation, bribery or other fraudulent means to pass the exam.
Ruby, who failed to appear for the assessment, had scored 444 out of 500 marks in the Arts stream and Saurabh Shreshtha 485 out of 500 in Science.
Both belong to V.R. College in Vaishali district, which reportedly has a dubious reputation of consistently churning out ‘toppers’ without any evidence of academic excellence.
Four of the students who appeared for the re-assessment belong to the Arts stream and nine to Science.
The BSEB claimed this year that Class 12 exams were conducted free of cheating, citing a drastic fall in the pass percentage as the proof.
Till last year, mass cheating in state board exams was reported. This year it was not reported.