Patna: Bihar's exasperated Education Minister P.K. Shahi admitted on Thursday that cheating-free examinations were not possible in the state, minus the cooperation of students' parents.

More than 1.4 million students are appearing in the Class 10 board examination amid widespread reports of mass copying and cheating. Shahi admitted to the media that holding 'free and fair exam' was a big challenge for the Bihar government. "The government cannot stop cheating in exam. It is also the responsibility of the society to ensure a cheating-free exam. More than the government, the parents and guardians of students should come forward to end mass cheating," he said.

The minister expressed the government's helplessness to hold a cheating-free exam. "It is not possible to fully stop cheating during exams or hold exams where students don't go for unfair means."

Shahi said the situation in Bihar was so bad that at least four to five people helped every student to cheat. "First, I appeal to parents and guardians to stop cheating to help the government ensure free and fair exams," he said.

In the last three days, more than 600 students, caught cheating in the board examination, have been expelled, an official said on Thursday. "The students were expelled on charges of adopting unfair means," said Lalkeshwar Prasad, chairman of the Bihar School Examination Board (BSEB), which is conducting the examination.

Officials said over 1,000 students were caught cheating in examination in three subjects, including mathematics and English, on Tuesday and Wednesday. But only a little more than 600 of them were expelled.

Cheating during examinations is rampant in Bihar. Attempts to stop mass copying often triggers violent protests.