Telangana: Student Protest Over Intermediate Results Intensify As They Allege ‘Goof Up’
The southern state of Telangana has been witnessing an unprecedented situation as many intermediate students and their parents have been protesting alleging ‘goof-ups’ committed by the Telangana State Board of Intermediate Education (TSBIE). Over the last few days, the protests, which has seen an overwhelming amount of support, has also taken a political hue.
Protests in Telangana
April 24 was the third consecutive day of the protests where students and their parents assembled near TSBIE office in Hyderabad. They are demanding justice for those declared “failed” in recent exams. Around nine lakh students had appeared in the intermediate exams held in February-March.
Reportedly, as many as 24 members of the Students’ Federation of India (SFI) were taken into preventive custody, after their attempts to take over Pragathi Bhavan, the official residence-cum-camp office of Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao was foiled. Many activists of Progressive Democratic Students Union (PDSU) and Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI) were also detained by the police. Senior journalist and academic Professor K Nageshwar was also detained on April 22, for protesting against the alleged blunder.
What had happened?
A day after the results were announced last week, government colleges and lecturers on April 19 have come up and said that there have been at least 150 cases of where wrong information has been printed on the provisional mark sheets. The Times Of India in a report stated that even when many of the students had taken the exam, they were marked absent. Similarly, even when the candidate was marked absent, the result of that particular subject has been printed as either pass or fail. TSBIE is also accused of printing the wrong subject name on the students’ mark sheets. It has also been accused of failing several students, who had fared well in their intermediate first year.
Following the results, the pass percentage dipped by 2% for the first time in five years. Shocked by the results, at least 10 students have ended their lives, reported The News Minute. The irate students and their parents alleged that Globarena Technologies Pvt Ltd, the firm that is responsible for both data processing (admissions, centre allotment, etc) and result processing had made an error which led to such misleading results.
Congress demands probe
Sravan Dasoju, Congress national spokesperson has said that TSBIE is to be blamed here as it had violated several norms while handing out the contract to a new firm. Dasoju alleged that the firm was given the contract despite not fulfilling the prerequisites mandated by TSBIE. He alleged that clauses 6 and 7 of the prerequisites were not met with in case of Globarena.
As per clause 6, the bidder must have executed technology based examination for a government university with ‘single purchase order with 3 lakh enrolled students per year in the last five years. And as per clause 7, the bidder must have executed the process for a minimum of five government universities or boards and one must be from any State Intermediate Board from India.
However, as per allegation levied by Sravan, Globarena provided examination solution to 2.5 lakh students, 50,000 short of the required 3 lakh. He also told The News Minute that Globarena has never worked for any State Intermediate Board.
Denying all allegations, Globarena CEO VSN Raju said, “We got this order through the tender process. They were two companies that competed with us. However, during the technical presentation, we fared better and scored T-1. We even won the financial bid.” He also said that his firm has been working for the last 20 years and has provided technical support to 26 universities and boards.
Students who wanted to apply for re-evaluation alleged that the TSBIE website was not working at the time. For TSBIE, it is mandatory to submit revaluation applications online, the last date for which is April 25. The protesting students and committee members have also been demanding the resignation of Education Minister Jagdish Reddy.
Amidst rising tension, the Telangana government on April 22 set up a committee to inquire into the handling of the process by Globarena. A preliminary report cleared TSBIE of any goof up, which enraged the protesters even further. The three-member committee headed by Telangana State Technological service Managing Director TG Venkateswar Rao will try to determine if there were any errors on the part of the private firm. Meanwhile, Telangana state Congress demanded a judicial probe into the whole incident.