May 29 (IANS) Following strict measures against cheating, more than 50 percent of the students appearing in the class 10 exams conducted by the Bihar School Examination Board failed with the pass percentage only 44.66, according to the results announced on Sunday.

The pass percentage was expected to drastically fall this year due to strict measures against cheating, including CCTV cameras and prohibitory orders against 'unlawful assembly', in conducting the exams in last March. Last year, the pass percentage was 75.17 percent.

About 15.73 lakh students appeared in the exams this year.

According to board officials, only 10.86 percent students passed with first division, 25.46 percent a second division and 10.32 percent students passed with third division.

Interestingly, 42 students, who figure in the top 10 rank list of the class 10 exams belong to the one school - the Simultala Awasiya Vidyalaya in Maoists-affected Jamui district. Several examinees there scored the same number of aggregate marks to make it to the elite list.

A senior official of the board told IANS that only 44.66 percent pass rate vindicated their bid to conduct a cheating-free exam this time. "We have successfully conducted a cheating free exams that resulted in drastic fall in pass percentage of students."

This year, CCTV cameras were installed at entrance of examination halls and videography was conducted through the duration of the examination. Use of all communication gadgets, including mobile phones, inside the examination halls was disallowed.

Mass cheating in board exams has been reported in Bihar for years. Every year, the media carries images of cheating going on at exam centres, such as scores of people climbing through windows to hand over cheating material to examinees with impunity.