Citizens' Issues
Videography, webcasting to help Bihar curb cheating in exams
Patna : In a major reform of the system, mass cheating in Bihar may be curbed - and even become a thing of the past - if a plan to use high-tech gadgets and deploy extra security forces at exam centres bears fruit.
 
Mass cheating has been reported in Bihar for years and had become an annual feature hitting the news in March every year when reports and visuals of guardians and friends helping their wards surface on a regular basis.
 
Ahead of the Class 10 (matric) and Class 12 (intermediate) exams in Bihar in February and March, the education department has directed officials to began preparations for cheating-free exams by installing CCTV cameras and ordering videography and live webcasting of examination centres. Additional security forces are also being deployed.
 
"We have decided not to tolerate and compromise on this any more. The Grand Alliance-led government is committed to ensure cheating-free exams," Education Minister Ashok Choudhary told IANS. 
 
Choudhary said stern measures would be taken against anyone attempting to cheat.
 
According to education department officials, nearly 14 lakh will appear for intermediate exams from the last week of February and around 15 lakh students will write the matriculation exams in March. 
 
Lalkeshwar Prasad Singh, chairman of Bihar School Examination Board, said that CCTV cameras would be installed outside the exam centres and videography would be conducted inside the examination centres.
 
Thousands of security personnel would be deployed in and outside of examination centres. Officials said not more than three students would be allowed to sit on a bench during any exam to minimise the chances of cheating.
 
All district magistrates and superintendents of police have been asked to invoke Section 144 of the CrPC and ban illegal gatherings and groups at all examination centre an hour before exams begin. In addition, parents, guardians, family members and friends would be kept away from the centres.
 
At a high-level meeting chaired by chief secretary Anjani Kumar Singh here on Tuesday, it was decided that if cheating is reported from any centre, exams there would be cancelled and action taken against officials and teachers.
 
Gajender Sharma, a teacher at a government school in Arwal district, termed as a positive move the efforts to curb mass cheating at exams. 
 
"It was shameful to see last year photographs going viral, nationally and internationally, showing people climbing a school wall in the state to fling answer sheets to students inside the building," Sharma said.
 
Manish Sahu, a leader of the National Students Union of India, said the state government's committment to ensure cheating free exams should be supported by all.
 
"Students,their parents and family should come forward to help concerned government agencies to conduct cheating-free exams," Sahu told IANS.
 
However, Manish Kumar Singh of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad seemed skeptical.
 
"It is big task and not possible," Singh told IANS.
 
After reports of mass cheating last year, the Patna High Court too directed the state police chief to deploy adequate security forces to ensure a check on cheating.
 
Last month the education department suspended four headmasters of government-run schools where large-scale cheating was reported in the 2015. Exam centres from where widespread cheating was reported would be blacklisted, officials said.
 
A retired school teacher, Amir Hasan, recalled how in 1996 when the Patna High Court took cognizance of rampant cheating in the state, only 12 per cent students could pass the board exam.
 
"Whenever authorities act tough in exams, the pass percentage falls drastically," he said.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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A cup of coffee can help stick to fitness regime
London : Struggling to stick to fitness regime? Have a cup of coffee! According to an interesting study, the use of caffeine could help people stick to their fitness plans.
 
Researchers said that reducing perception of effort during exercise using caffeine (or other psychoactive drugs like methylphenidate and modafinil) could help people to stick to their fitness plans. 
 
“Perception of effort is one of the main reasons why people find it difficult to stick to their fitness plans,” said professor Samuele Marcora, director of Research at University of Kent in the United Kingdom.
 
Marcora pointed out that perceived exertion is one of the main reasons why most people choose sedentary activities for their leisure time.
 
Together with lack of time, physical exertion is one of the main perceived barriers to exercise, the researchers explained.
 
Compared to watching television (zero effort), even moderate-intensity physical activities like walking requires considerable effort, they added. 
 
Marcora suggested that the use of caffeine or other psychoactive drugs to reduce the perception of effort during exercise can make the healthy choice easier.
 
He also stated that whilst there is no strong ethical opposition to the use of psychoactive drugs to help quit smoking (nicotine) or treat obesity (appetite suppressants), the negative perception of doping in sport may prevent the use of stimulants and other psychoactive drugs to treat physical inactivity, which is responsible for twice as many deaths as obesity.
 
The paper was published in the journal Sports Medicine.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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Nikki Haley caught in Trump's crosshairs
Washington : Nikki Haley's call to Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump to tamp down on his anti-immigrant rhetoric won praise from Republicans and Democrats alike, but the real estate mogul was not amused. Supporters of Trump were angered that Haley called him out and many took to Twitter and mocked her Indian heritage, making fun of her Indian given name.
 
"Some people think that you have to be the loudest voice in the room to make a difference," South Carolina's Indian-American governor said in the Republican Party's response to President Barack Obama's State of the Union address Tuesday night.
 
"That is just not true. Often, the best thing we can do is turn down the volume," she said without naming Trump, who has rattled the Republican establishment with his rhetoric particularly his call to temporarily bar all Muslims from entering the US.
 
Haley acknowledged on Wednesday morning that she was referring to Trump when she warned Americans not to follow the angriest voices in politics.
 
"Mr. Trump has definitely contributed to what I think is just irresponsible talk," the daughter of Sikh immigrants from India told NBC.
 
The remarks drew praise from many Republicans and Democrats and even the White House for "willing to do something that a lot of other leading Republicans have been unwilling to do, which is to actually articulate a commitment to some core American values."
 
"Look, that doesn't mean that we agree with Governor Haley on everything; we surely don't," Obama's press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters.
 
"But her willingness to stand up for some important principles was noted, and it took courage. And for that, she deserves credit," he said.
 
White House chief of staff Denis McDonough also expressed approval for Haley. "I have a lot of admiration for the governor," McDonough said Wednesday describing parts of her speech as "admirable."
 
Haley's speech also renewed speculation that she would be a strong pick as a vice-presidential candidate.
 
Haley told NBC that she hadn't thought about any of the vice-presidential rumours, but added: "If a candidate wanted to sit down and talk, I would sit down and talk. That's a big decision."
 
Later she told CNN that she considered Trump a friend and urged the billionaire not to take her comments personally and said that she also had concerns about some of his rivals.
 
But Trump would have none of it. "She's very weak on illegal immigration," Trump told Fox News making it clear that Haley was unlikely to be his running mate for the Nov 8 presidential election.
 
"Well, considering I'm leading in the polls by a lot, I wouldn't say she's off to a good start" to be his vice presidential candidate, Trump said. "Whoever I pick is also going to be very strong on illegal immigration."
 
He also suggested that Haley was a hypocrite saying "Over the years, she's asked me for a hell of a lot of money in campaign contributions."
 
The reviews were more mixed among other Republican presidential candidates. Former Florida governor Jeb Bush described her speech as "remarkable" for talking about a "broader hopeful, optimistic Republican message."
 
Senator Marco Rubio of Florida also said he was "impressed" with Haley. But former HP chief executive Carly Fiorina argued that Americans have a right to be angry about issues such as illegal immigration.
 
Ann Coulter, the conservative commentator, said that Trump should deport Haley even though she was born in the US.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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