Home >Politics >Policy >Fake school boards on HRD ministry’s radar

New Delhi: The central government has initiated a process to identify fake school boards, hoping to warn students against joining them and prevent students from such boards entering premier engineering institutions such as the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs).

The Union human resource development ministry has discussed the issue twice in the past one month and has asked state school boards and the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) to spot them and prepare a detailed list of their activities, two government officials said on condition of anonymity.

According to an 8 November Mint report on the recommendations of a government committee to reform the admission process for India’s top engineering schools, the centrally funded National Institutes of Technology (NITs) will cease to assign weightage for school board marks, and will have a single centralized entrance exam along with the IITs from 2017.

The centre believes that compiling a list of illegal boards is necessary before the revamped entrance process takes effect, to prevent possible misuse.

“NITs will not give 40% weight to school board marks, most probably from 2017. Since this weightage will go, the due diligence at the state level may reduce and these sham players may take advantage of the situation to push their students," said the first government official.

Though IITs have not reported any incidents involving fake boards, they are not immune to the menace of fake certificates, the second official said.

In 2012, several hundred applicants submitted fake certificates to IITs to claim the benefit of reservation for other backward classes. The official said authorities believe that more than 12 fake boards are operating secretly and can misuse technology for entry into top engineering schools.

Under the new system, the weightage for board marks may be replaced by an eligibility cut-off, where the government believes the fake boards may create mischief.

“Fake certificate is a challenge. Fake board threats cannot be taken lightly at a time when the joint entrance exam is set to be revamped. Some fear that such illegal boards can also act as fake certificate factories," the second official said, adding that the list of fake school boards may be displayed in the websites of the CBSE and some 42 state school education boards.

Authorities cannot take any chances on the possible misuse of the system before merging the NIT and IIT entrance examinations, said R.P. Sinha, a former chairman of the Bihar School Education Board. He said flagging fake boards will benefit students because even before entering higher education, they will be aware of where not to go for school education.

The first official said that the higher education regulator, University Grants Commission (UGC), has been doing a similar exercise for the past few years and have notified fake universities operating in the country. Their names and locations have been uploaded on the UGC website. So far, the UGC has listed 22 fake universities from 10 states. With nine fake universities, Uttar Pradesh leads with the largest number, followed by Delhi (five).

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