Education minister Nurul Islam Nahid said on Friday that the government was planning to introduce some new procedures to tackle question leaks in the upcoming Higher Secondary Certificate examinations.
‘We may not be able to change the whole process of question making and circulating in a month as the HSC is scheduled to start on April 2,’ he said as his ministry has been facing severe criticism since the start of Secondary School Certificate exams for its failure to stop leaks.
‘But massive changes will be brought in the public exam processes next year,’
he said while addressing as chief guest in the concluding ceremony of the ninth National School Debate Competition at Bangladesh Film Development Corporation in Dhaka.
The minister said that they had taken all the ‘humanly possible’ measures to stop question leaks during the SSC exams.
Nahid said that his ministry was yet to get to the bottom of the question leaks.
He said that 153 people were arrested for their alleged involvement in question leaks and 53 cases were filed.
This year, the largest-ever reported spate of SSC question paper leaks started with the beginning of the public exam on February 1. The menace continued till February 22 when questions of Bangla 1st and 2nd papers, English 1st and 2nd papers, religion and moral studies, general maths, physics, chemistry, Bangladesh and global studies, biology and higher maths were reportedly leaked at least one hour before the starting of the exams.
Addressing the session, secondary and higher education division secretary Sohorab Hossain said that the questions could be leaked in various ways in the existing process as about 1 lakh people were engaged in circulating the papers to the examinees.
‘Therefore, we are trying to change the whole system from next year for all the public exams,’ he said.
The perpetrators continued to leak question papers despite a series of government steps like ban on use of cell phone around 200 metres of exam centre, closure of coaching centres during exams and students needing to take seats 30 minutes ahead of starting of exams and enhanced monitoring while opening the question packet.
When government efforts failed to check the malpractice, on February 15, the High Court for the first time appointed two five-member committees, including a judicial committee, to find those involved in leaking papers.
Besides, an 11-member committee of education ministry, formed to investigate allegations of question leaks on February 4, is expected to resolve on February 25 whether any leak occurred.
As per the committee’s report, the government would retake any exam if the allegation of leak was found to be true, Sohorab said.
In the debate competition, Barisal’s Rashed Khan Menon High School won the championship participated by 880 schools from across the country. Sunamganj’s Ishakpur Public High School became the runner-up.
Sharifa Jahan, a student of Ishakpur Public High School and the leader of its debating team, was named the best debater in the final.
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