Times News Network
Mumbai, Feb 26: Never confess. I repeat never ever confess.
If spotted, swallow the chits.
If caught red-handed, make allegations of bias against the person who caught you.
These are not notes from an Al Qaida manual but quotes from a special session conducted by a handful of city coaching classes on 'cheating and how to cope if caught'. Listening in rapt attention are hundreds of 16-year-olds who will appear for the SSC exam in a fortnight. In these special sessions, Gen Next is also taught how to get rid of the guilt that comes with copying.
TOI has learnt from students and parents that this happens in at least five coaching classes across Mumbai; in Mulund, Sion, Andheri and Thane.
It is never announced beforehand that tips would be given on cheating. Also, like a student who attended this lecture in a coaching class in Sion on Saturday said: "I was told it is a general lecture for important tips on how to write the exam and how to revise before the exam. But after some time, we were being told how to copy safely and escape if caught copying."
Recreating the scenario in the lecture hall, this tenth grader with some other friends added: "Soon after the basic instructions, like carrying your hall ticket and sharpened pencils was over, the professor said, 'if you get too tensed, it's fine to copy. There are ways to do that without getting caught'." Quoting the teacher, she added: "You can either carry chits or in desperate situations even your text, in case your exam seat is a window seat."
On carrying chits: "To use this method of copying, you will have to practice how to swallow paper quickly. Try doing that at home before you go for the examination," the professor recommended. According to them, chits can be safely hidden in socks and under shirt sleeves. For girls, professors say, writing on thighs is pretty safe. Copying from neighbours: In case you ask a neighbour to throw his supplement and the supervisor notices it, blame that neighbour. Pick up the supplement and loudly tell the neighbour to "take care of the supplements".
At another class in Mulund, children were told that it was fine to "get objectives checked from neighbours." Similarly, a student who appeared for her tenth grade exam last year said that professors at Bharat Classes, where she went for tuitions did mention that if they indulged in the crime, they must be "bindaas". Students were advised that if they take their texts inside, caution must be taken to ensure that their names are not written on the texts. Also, when the supervisor notices the book, throw it from the window or ahead. "This will ensure that there is no clarity on the real owner of the book," a professor in that coaching class said.
Lastly, most classes laid emphasis that no bribe must be given to supervisors. The word "sorry" must never be uttered, they advice. Like a student who attended a session in Andheri said: "My professor told me that even if the supervisor takes you to the principal, go there and argue. Ask them what proof do you have? It's fine if you waste some time. To waste 20 or 30 minutes is better than wasting three years." She added, quietly, "The professor who spoke about this also said that I should confidently blame the supervisor and say that s/he is biased with me, doesn't give me supplements quickly and now she's charging allegations of cheating against me. But I am a good student and I will not accept that I cheated. Because I didn't."
When this correspondent telephoned the proprietor of Bharat Classes, he applied the same technique that he taught his students. "This is a wrong number, I don't run any coaching class," said the man. The telephone number was tried again six times, but there was always the same reply.
Jagdish Walawalkar, president of Maharashtra Class Owners' Association, condemned this practice. He said there were "black sheep" in every industry and he was ready to cooperate in any awareness campaign.
He said he also assumed that some classes may be doing this for the batches of students taking the exam privately. "These students fail in the previous few years and not only is it difficult to train them, but also they lack interest in studies. However, it is a shameful act and the guilty must be punished. No teacher must indulge in such act," he said.