CBSE paper leak: Who is to blame? An education expert on the controversy

Over a telephonic conversation, Ilyas Husain, dean of faculty of education, Jamia Millia Islamia, shares his thoughts.

 |  4-minute read |   29-03-2018
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The joy of having completed the board exam was short-lived for thousands of students and parents, for the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) ordered re-examination for Class 10 Mathematics and Class 12 Economics subjects on Wednesday after it found that their question papers had been leaked right before the examinations.

When the incident surfaced, the CBSE released a notice that merely read: “Board has taken cognisance of certain happenings in the conduct of certain examinations as are being reported. With the view to uphold the sanctity of the Board Examinations and in the interest of the fairness to the students, the Board has decided to re-conduct the examinations in the following subjects. Dates for fresh examinations and other details shall be hosted on the CBSE website within a week.”

It is shocking that when handwritten answers of the Economics paper were circulated on Whatsapp groups — indicating that the question paper has been leaked — CBSE took no serious measure to stem the leak.

Over a telephonic conversation, Ilyas Husain, a proficient administrator and educator and currently dean of faculty of education, Jamia Millia Islamia, Delhi, shared his thoughts on the unpleasant incident.

More than 20 lakh students appeared for Class 10 and Class 12 CBSE board exams. Before they could find pleasure in the happiness of their board exams coming to a close, the CBSE ordered re-examination for two subjects, Mathematics and Economics. How disappointing is it?

Very. If a leak of this kind happens regularly, it is very unfortunate for the education system and not only the CBSE but other bodies too, including the ministry of human resource development (MHRD) that controls education and should be held responsible for it.

There should be a high-level probe against all the agencies and officials who set the papers and those in charge of conducting the exams because this may not be one man’s job.

ddg_032918031506.jpgWho is to blame?

A system has to be evolved where right from the beginning to the end the entire process is conducted by a single body. That way, a single authority will perhaps take extra precautions.

If it is given to other agencies, there may be malpractices and the system may fail.

Even after reports of the paper leak, where has the regulator failed?

Earlier, it was the board that was responsible for setting up the question paper, conducting the exam, allotting centres, appointing invigilators and the system was successful to a great extent.

Many feel that today it is given to outsourcing agencies. I don’t know if they are involved, but when the exam is outsourced it puts a big question mark over the agencies in charge of conducting them.

The HRD minister has promised to put in place a system to make paper leaks impossible in the future. Isn’t there a delay in initiating action?

This is not new, it has happened in the past, too. This is perhaps the third or fourth paper that has been leaked in many years. Knowing that information related to paper leaks was found, these regulators should have evolved a mechanism to block its passage.

The paper was circulated among teachers and students. Nobody took note of it at the time. Only after the exam began did the invigilator find that the same paper has appeared before. This should have been probed at an early stage. In fact, the CBSE was informed about some handwritten paper being circulated, they denied knowledge of it - they should have taken serious note of it.

CBSE had resumed board exams for Class 10 from this year. Do you think such incidents indicate that students are pressured into cheating?

I don’t think so. These board exams have been held peacefully for so many decades. Students are prepared to take any kind of pressure and that forces them to study more. There is a possibility that some of them are involved in cheating; it happens every year.

This break from board exams may not be the reason for such cheating.

Is re-exam a fair deal?

There are so many students and parents who, I have come to know, are approaching the high court saying exams for every paper should be re-conducted. The leakage was reported in Delhi.

Now, the question is that if those who have got the access over those leak papers will have some advantage over the others. So, in case they appear for exams knowing answers to the leaked paper, I think there is no way out but for the exams to be re-conducted.

The students who are sincere and who have studied well will have an advantage again in this case.

Also read: CBSE's re-exams for Class 10, Class 12 papers are a nightmare for students

Writer

Harshita Das Harshita Das @harshitadas25

When not reporting on education, you can find me either travelling, socializing, exploring restaurants or cooking.

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