Vol. XLIII No. 20 May 19, 2019
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TELANGANA: Protests Over Discrepancies in Intermediate Results

Kambhampati Sarma

CONTROVERSY erupted after the Intermediate exam results in Telangana were declared on April 18. The success rate of first-year students was 60.5 per cent and second-year students 64.8 per cent. Girls outshone boys in the examinations. The success rate was increasing every year, whereas this year it has fallen compared to last year. This has raised doubts in the minds of the students, parents and intellectuals, and they questioned the authenticity of the results.

Many discrepancies occurred in the results. Thousands of students are in a state of confusion. More than three lakh students have failed in the examination. 23 meritorious students were compelled to commit suicide because of mental agony caused by the mistakes in the results. Parents have faced irrecoverable loss. In the history of Intermediate Board in Telangana, these kind of discrepancies never happened and it is for the first time that such a large number of students were victimised. The government has to take full responsibility.

A student, who got 99 marks earlier, was given a zero. Toppers who scored 900 marks also failed in some subjects. The authorities admitted that many mistakes have happened. Media has reported that some answer papers have gone missing. Such discrepancies have angered the students and parents as well.

The work of posting marks for Intermediate results was denied to the Centre for Good Governance and was given to a private firm, Globarina. Mistakes occurred in various other areas too, like in the fees paid for exams, in the issuing of hall tickets etc. In all these, the software had failed. It is understood that each examiner was given 45 answer papers daily, even though only 30 papers are to be given.

A three-member committee has agreed to the primary allegations, and identified the failures of Globarina. Many of the three lakh students who failed are victims of such discrepancies. The Intermediate Board has lost its prestige. The government should respond and revamp the Intermediate Board comprehensively and save the future of the students.

Students and parents expressed their anger and staged protest outside the Board from April 22 to April 30. Police tried to crush the protest by terrorising people and making some arrests. Organisations such as SFI, AISF, DYFI, PDSU, Parents Associations and Girijana Sangham laid siege to the Board office and staged dharnas.

Newly elected MLC, A Narsireddy and former MLC, K Nageswar joined the protesters and condemned the insensitivity of the state government. They were promptly arrested and removed from the dharna site. There was scuffle and argument between police and student leaders and they were arrested and taken to different police stations. The National Human Rights Commission has taken cognizance of the situation and issued notices to the state government and other officials. The High Court had asked the Intermediate Board to solve all related problems before April 29, taking into consideration the agony of students and parents.

Though the response came after nearly a week, the chief minister has ordered the Intermediate Board to revalue and recount the answer papers free of cost. He has also appealed to students not to resort to suicides as Intermediate examination itself is not the end of life.

On April 26, CPI(M) had organised dharnas outside the Intermediate Board and district collectorates. During the protest, several leaders were arrested. Among them are G Nagaiah and Cherupally Seetharamulu, Party Central Committee members. Dharnas by student organisations and arrests from the government side, continued. All parties including the Congress, BJP and the TJS joined the protests.

The CPI(M) Telangana state committee wrote to the education minister, education department secretary and Intermediate Board secretary, demanding several actions – a judicial inquiry into the fiasco and severe action against the people responsible for it; cancellation of the tender for Globarina. The Party also demanded that families of the victims should be paid Rs 20 lakh as compensation. All those who had failed because of discrepancies in marks, should be given their answer papers at the time of free re-counting and revaluation. Re-exams should be conducted taking care that the dates do not clash with other entrance examinations and action should be taken to prevent such instances in future.