Guardians of many Secondary School Certificate examinees on Thursday alleged that multiple choice questions of the Bangla first paper exam, held on the day, were leaked about half an hour ahead of starting of the exam.
The allegation surfaced when the education ministry chalked out a series of arrangements to prevent question leak, which included closure of coaching centres during exams and students requiring taking seats 30 minutes ahead of starting of exams and enhanced monitoring while opening question packet.
Parents of several examinees in Dhaka said that they had found multiple choice questions posted at several social media sites, including Facebook, in between 9:20am and 9:44am and all of those questions matched with the leaked ones.
The first test of this year’s SSC exams began at 10:00am.
Education minister Nurul Islam Nahid in the morning and Dhaka education board secretary and acting chairman Shahedul Khabir Chowdhury and inter-education boards controller of examinations convener Tapan Kumar Sarkar in the afternoon denied the allegation of question leak.
‘The particular exam would be cancelled if any allegation of question paper leakage was proved,’ said Nahid after visiting the Government Laboratory School centre.
‘The BTRC [Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission] and the intelligence agencies are working on the question leaking issue,’ he said.
‘We are at high risk as the exams are held with unified question papers across the country. We want to complete the exams in a fair way,’ he said.
Guardians of several examinees from Uttara, Rampura and Mirpur areas of the capital alleged that they had got several photographs of the MCQ questions of Bangla first paper exam.
They said that they had found uploaded pictures of set-B questions on Facebook groups ‘Psc Jsc Ssc Hsc Job Degree Honrs Nebondon Polytechnic Reall Out Question’ at 9:44am, ‘All Exam Suggetion Roki Vai’ at 9:34am and ‘SSC Exam question 2018’ at 9:20am.
At several exam centres in Dhaka, the guardians said that they had found set B MCQ questions posted on several social media sites, including Facebook, Whatsapp, and IMO, and the exam was held on set A. ‘But all the questions of set A matched with the ones of set B which was leaked, but order was different,’ said a guardian.
A student needs to answer MCQ questions for 30 out of 100 marks for the paper.
Leakage of question papers of public exams has become a regular phenomenon in recent times, with the government failings in taking protective measures to stop it.
Allegations of question leaks one after another of Primary Education Completion exams after Class-V, Junior School Certificate exams after Class-VIII, Higher Secondary Certificate and SSC Examination after Class-X in 2017 surfaced ahead of the exams.
A Transparency International Bangladesh study found in August 2015 that 63 question papers of public exams were leaked in four years. The study said that although question leaks had happened since 1970s, ‘in the past five years it became a regular phenomenon’.
The study blamed coaching centres along with other factors for question leaks of public exams.
Anti-Corruption Commission in December last year had sent a set of recommendations to education ministry asking it to close down the coaching centres as they were one of the potential sources of question leakage.
The English second paper test in 2014 HSC exams was postponed after allegations that the questions had been leaked.
Question papers for 2014 SSC exams were also reportedly leaked. In December and November 2013, question papers for some subjects of Primary Education Completion exams and JSC exams were leaked. The government rejected the allegations in all the cases.
The exam control room said that 9,742 students were absent on the first day of SSC and equivalent exams on the day. Besides, 26 examinees were expelled for copying at the exams.
This year, 20,31,899 students are taking the exams, of which 16,03,078 students taking SSC exams under eight general education boards, 2,89,772 taking Dakhil exams under the madrassah education board and 1,14,779 in vocational exams under the technical education board.
The written exams will continue till February 25 while practical exams will be held between February 26 and March 4.