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Startling pictures of cheating in HP school examinations

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cheating-in-himachal

KANGRA – Not long ago, like rest of India, people in Himachal were laughing and expressing concern for completely degraded educational standards of Bihar. Some pictures showing blatant cheating in examinations went viral on social media. Soon they reached mainstream media channels.

People were hanging precariously from window sills, perching on narrow ledges in order to pass cheating sheets & notes to students sitting inside examination halls.

Now, it’s their turn to laugh at Himachal for exactly the same reason. Some pictures have appeared in some dailies like Amar Ujala showing similar pictures of a Govt. School in Kangra District of Himachal Pradesh.

According to the statement of the principle and other witnesses, over 50 people, which included friends and relatives of students, were wandering around the examination centre at Govt. Senior Secondary School Jwali in Kangra.

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The Himachal Pradesh Board of School Education (HPBOS) was conducting examination for compartment in English, Maths, Physics, Economics, and Accountancy.

Parents, relatives, and friends were seen exchanging cheating sheets through open windows.

Surprisingly, the principle of the school, GS Bagga, had already submitted a written application for security at the school as he was expecting it. However, the DSP provided only one homegaurd for security at this centre where 600 students were taking exams.

The DSP Jwali Dharm Chand Verma excused himself by saying that the school did not inform him about the severity of the situation on time. Otherwise, he would have definitely sent extra security to the school, claimed the DSP.

On the other hand, the HPSOB Secretary denied any report or complaint of cheating.

Most of the people will blame the students. But the students are not solely responsible. The standard of education at Himachal’s government schools has degraded to such an extent that students are forced to take the wrong path to pass examinations.

According to the annual Status of Education Report-2012 (ASER) for Himachal Pradesh:

The class V students, who could read class II level test, had gone down from 82.3 per cent in 2007 to 72.8 per cent in 2012. In the same period, the percentage of students in Class V, who could solve three digit problems, declined from 66.9 per cent to 48.7 per cent.

In April 2015, a report by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) revealed:

In a state with 82.8 percent literacy, 20 per cent of Class 3 students in Himachal Pradesh’s government schools cannot identify alphabets or numbers. Moreover, 74 per cent of eighth standard students don’t have class-appropriate competence, says a report by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG). Additionally, 31 percent of schools in the state, catering to 118,036 students, are running from either one or two-room structures.

Meanwhile, the Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh had put the blame on the decision of introducing grade system and abolish the examination culture. An article in Hindustan Times reported following statement from the CM:

In order to check the falling standards of education, the state has proposed to conduct examination of Classes 5 and 8 till continuous comprehensive evaluation (CCE) is implemented strictly in the state.

The HP Govt. is already facing criticism for startling drop in enrollment rate in Himachal’s Govt. Schools. The SSA report had also highlighted:

The number of children enrolled in government primary schools in the state has dropped by 2.5 lakh between 2004-05 and 2014-15, while there has been an increase of 1.75 lakh in enrolment in private schools.

The students with a weak base in subjects at primary and high school level are likely to find it hard to push through senior secondary examinations. So, it’ll not be justified to blame the students only. The government shares credit for such a shameful situation for the state of Himachal Pradesh.

Images: Amar Ujala

Madan has studied English Literature and Journalism from HP University and lives in Shimla. He is an amateur photographer and has been writing on topics ranging from environmental, socio-economic, development programs, education, eco-tourism, eco-friendly lifestyle and to green technologies for over 9 years now. He has an inclination for all things green, wonderful and loves to live in solitude. When not writing, he can be seen wandering, trying to capture the world around him in his DSLR lens.

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Quarantine Facility for Migrant Labourers Responsibility of Industrialist/Contractor: HP Govt

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Himachal-pradesh-new directions for migrant labourer entry

Shimla-As the relaxation in entry and quarantine rules for migrant labourers seems to be backfiring, the Chief Minister Jairam-led Himachal Pradesh Government has come into a damage control mode. Today, the Government said that it has decided that the industrialists or their contractors in the industrial area would be allowed to bring labourers after due approval of the administration. They would be kept in quarantine as per guidelines issued by the Health Department, it said.  

As per the Government directions, big industrial units will have to create adequate quarantine capacity, whereas small units can pool for creating the quarantine facility. The Industries and Labour and Employment Departments have also been asked to keep a strict vigil on industrial units to follow the SOP issued from time to time in this regard, the Government said.

The directions came following a widespread criticism of recent decision taken by the State Government to allow entry of all including tourists to Himachal with merely registering on an online portal and furnishing a COVID-19 negative test report of an accredited laboratory. Any such person did not require any prior permission and their details were confirmed only on their arrival at the State borders.Also, quarantine rules were relaxed for migrant labourers after industries and apple growers faced a shortage of labour due to the return of these workers to their home states amid corona pandemic. However, with an explosion of COVID-19 cases among workers of factories in the BBN area, the government seems to be backtracking to control it. 

All Persons with ILI Symptoms to be Tested

The Chief Medical Officers have been asked to increase the testing capacity of COVID-19 in their respective districts. Directions have been given that all the persons with ILI symptoms should be invariably tested for COVID-19 besides ensuring proper testing of all the primary and secondary contacts of COVID-19 patients.

Temples to Remain Closed for Now

Given the festive season, the State Government has decided not to open the temples and other religious places in the State for the time being to avoid overcrowding.  The officers have been asked to strictly enforce the decision of allowing the participation of not more than 50 persons in marriages and other family functions.

The Government also informed that about 1560 people of the State have arrived from 78 cities of 61 countries to the State after being medically examined. Out of these 1117 persons had arrived at New Delhi Airport, 192 at Amritsar Airport and 248 persons at Chandigarh International Airport. As many as 613 flights were attended by the Officers of the State Government at New Delhi, Amritsar and Chandigarh Airports.

 

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Himachal: After Widespread Backlash, HP Govt Again Make Changes in Rules for Entry, Quarantine

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Himachal Pradesh New Rules for Entry

Shimla-Rules for entry into Himachal Pradesh were again changed by the State Government on Tuesday. After facing widespread criticism over its decision to open the State borders for all including tourists amid sharp increase in COVID-19 cases, the Government has yet again accepted that opening State borders for entry without e-pass or any permission has created problems of its own.

Additional Chief Secretary Health R.D. Dhiman on July 14 said that e-passes are not being issued presently to the people entering the state. They are being allowed to enter the state based on the information they provided, but many people are hiding their proper address and identity, he accepted. Also, instances have been reported where such person entered the state by furnishing fake COVID-19 negative report or lying about their purpose of their visits.

“Keeping this in view now every entrant will have to verify the required information and only after certifying this information they would be registered to enter the state otherwise strict legal action would be taken against them,” said Dhiman informing about the new guidelines.

Further, after the appearance of a record 69 cases in the Baddi area -the industrial hub of the State – on Monday, Chief Minister Jairam Thakur-led State Government has been facing backlash over relaxing quarantine rules for migrant labourers coming to the area.

Also Read: Himachal Reports 78 Cases in Single Day Including Record 69 from Solan Alone

Following this backlash, the State Government was compelled to again make changes in the rules regarding the condition of quarantine for migrant labourers entering the state. 

“The return of industrial labourers has also begun from other states. However, keeping in view the increase of COVID-19 patients due to people coming from other states, it has been decided by the State Government to keep the industrial labourers in either institutional quarantine or in-home quarantine,” Jairam said. 

The contractor and industrial institutions would be completely responsible for it, he said.

“They would be allowed to work after their report for COVID-19 is found negative,” he said.  

It’s pertinent to mention that it is almost impossible for such labourers to follow home-quarantine as they mostly live in shared spaces with common facilities like a toilets/washrooms and water supply. In many cases, they use common toilets located outside their living spaces. 

Further, as per the orders, the inter-state movement of public transport buses would remain prohibited. However, taxis can ply through registration on COVID-19 e-Pass portal. Taxi drivers coming into the State for dropping would be exempted from quarantine if they return within 24 hours of the entry.

Also Read: Institutional Quarantine Mandatory for All Persons Coming from These 20 Cities/Districts of India

The State Executive Committee under Disaster Management Act, 2005 has partially amended orders issued on 2nd July 2020. As per the amendment, the medical colleges would remain closed for final year students from 15th July 2020 in the State. Similarly, Medical Training Institutions would also remain closed. 

As per the amendments, the condition of quarantine for the students and accompanying parents moving in and out of State for competitive examinations has been waived off, if they exist or re-enter the State or vice-versa within 72 hours.

The State Government has also decided that any person having been tested negative for COVID-19 through RT-PCR Test (Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction) by an ICMR accredited/approved laboratory not earlier than 72 hours at the time of entry would also be exempted from the requirement of quarantine.

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Himachal: Institutional Quarantine Mandatory for All Persons Coming from These 20 Cities/Districts of India

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HP Govt new list of high-load cities

Shimla-The Himachal Pradesh Health Department has revised the list of cities/areas/districts having high-load of COVID-19 cases. Earlier, the government had listed 13 such regions in various states. The updated list has mentioned 20 such cities/districts. All the mentioned places come under the red zone and an institutional quarantine is mandatory from anyone travelling from these areas to Himachal Pradesh.

The updated list includes the following:

  1. Mumbai, Maharashtra,
  2. Chennai, Tamil Nadu
  3. Thane, Maharashtra
  4. Pune, Maharashtra
  5. Hyderabad, Telangana
  6. Ahmedabad, Gujarat
  7. Delhi (All districts)
  8. Bengaluru (Urban), Karnataka
  9. Palghar, Maharashtra
  10. Kolkata, West Bengal
  11. Aurangabad, Bihar
  12. Chengalpattu, Tamil Nadu
  13. Surat, Gujarat
  14. Raigad, Maharashtra
  15. Gurugram, Haryana
  16. Nashik, Maharashtra
  17. Thiruvallur, Tamil Nadu
  18. Ranga Reddy, Telangana
  19. Madurai, Tamil Nadu
  20. Faridabad, Haryana

So far, India has reported over 9 lakh infections, which makes it the third worst-hit country after the United States (3,363,056) and Brazil (1,884,967).

The COVID-19 death tally for India was 23,727 till yesterday, 3,11,565 patients are still under treatment, and 5,71,460 have recovered. The rate of increase in the appearance of new COVID-19 cases continues to grow.

Despite the increasing rate and number of cases, Himachal Pradesh Government has opened the State borders for tourists and other visitors without obtaining any permission or E-Pass. All that one needs to enter Himachal and roam around without any restrictions is to present a COVID-19 negative certificate not older than 72 hours and a pre-booking of hotel/homestay for a minimum period of five nights.

The decision of the government to allow tourists amid a sharp rise in cases, both in the State and India, has invited scathed criticism. Even hoteliers in Shimla, Dharamshala, Manali etc. have decided to remain closed despite the government’s permission to resume operation. The SOPs issued by the state government are not acceptable to these hoteliers.

At the same time, relaxation given to migrant labourers in quarantine rules also appears to be backfiring as a large number of such labourers have been tested positive in the industrial hub – Baddi in Solan district. Yesterday, the district reported a record 69 COVID-19 cases, of which 59 were reported from a textile factory.

  

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