Thirty-four more people were arrested in 24 hours ending Sunday afternoon on charges of leaking questions of information and communication technology paper of Secondary School Certificate exam, with the prime source still remaining unearthed.
Earlier, at least 14 people including five teachers were arrested for the same allegation till Saturday since the SSC exams began February 1.
Frustrated SSC examinees and their parents complained that the multiple choice question of the ICT paper was leaked at least 90 minutes ahead of the exam began at 10:00am like earlier exams at social media platforms, while the education ministry officials said they had no such allegation.
Affected examinees and guardians blasted the education ministry for failing to stop the question papers from being leaked. They said that the steps taken by the ministry were mere eyewash and yielded no results.
Inter-education board controllers of examinations convener Tapan Kumar Sarkar said that they did not get any allegation of question leak in the ICT paper.
He also declined to make further comment on the issue.
Attending a programme as chief guest in Rajbari, state minister for technical and madrassah education Kazi Keramat Ali on February 9,
denied the allegation of question leak and said vested interests were trying to malign the government and the ministry as well by spreading rumours.
The education ministry said that the coaching centres were kept shut during the secondary terminal exams and the examinees were asked to take their seats at the exam halls 30 minutes before the exams.
The government on February 4 formed a high-powered committee to monitor and investigate the allegations of question leak in the ongoing public exams.
The same day, the education ministry announced a bounty of Tk 5 lakh for any help leading to the arrest of the people involved in question leak. The measures brought no visible results.
In the backdrop of widespread question leak, Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission has asked broadband and mobile phone operators to keep internet speed slow for two hours and a half starting at 8:00am from Sunday until SSC exam ends on February 24.
Many internet service providers will keep the service suspended during the period as they do not have any mechanism to slow down internet speed.
On Sunday, the instruction, however, was implemented from 9:00am and after 10:00am the internet facilities resumed, said an official of the commission.
Examinees and their parents alleged that the MCQ’s of ICT exam were posted at Facebook groups and Whatsapp groups in between 8:30am and 10:00am.
Meanwhile, Dhaka University history department supernumerary professor Syed Anwar Husain blasted the role of education ministry over the phenomenal question leak during this year’s SSC and demanded termination of the education minister Nurul Islam Nahid.
‘The entire education ministry officials including Nurul Islam should be terminated for their failure to check question leak,’ he said.
Professor Syed Manzoorul Islam suspected that some strong players, possibly a syndicate with a strong network, were behind the leaks.
He also demanded that the government find out the prime sources immediately.
On Saturday, Dhaka Metropolitan Police arrested 14 youths in the capital for their alleged involvement in leaking the ongoing SSC exam, while Rapid Action Battalion arrested one person on Sunday afternoon from capital.
Addressing a press conference on Sunday in capital, the metropolitan police’s joint commissioner (detective branch) Md Abdul Baten said they were the members of question paper leaking gang.
‘It was true that question papers were leaked but it happened only 15 to 30 minutes before beginning the examination,’ he said.
Law enforcers in Naogaon and Jaipurhat arrested seven people on Saturday night and found images of the MCQ questions of ICT paper in their smartphones, said Naogaon superintendent of police Iqbal Hossain.
In Mymensingh, a total of eight people — examinees and their parents — were arrested on Sunday for their involvement in leaking MCQ questions, said Mymensingh detective branch officer in-charge Ashiqur Rahman.
Bogra police arrested four people including a school official and a college student for their alleged involvement in question leak, said Sonatola police station officer in-charge Shariful Islam.
Examinees and their guardians said that they found uploaded pictures of set-C questions on Facebook groups ‘PSC • JSC • SSC • HSC Exam Helping Center’ at 8:30am, SSC Exam question& suggestion 2018 at 8:45am and a Facebook messenger group ‘SSC ICT 2018’ at 9:00am.
‘Earlier the questions were posted and given for money ranging from Tk 200 to Tk 5,000, but the question paper of ICT was posted for free,’ said an SSC examinee of St Joseph School and College in Dhaka.
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