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18 August, 2015 00:00 00 AM
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The relevant ministry dismissed part of the TIB report which brought allegations of negligence and corruption by the government authorities. But TIB asserts that government employees have been part of a big nexus in leaking question papers prior to the public examinations

Unholy nexus behind question paper leaks

Sarwar Md. Saifullah Khaled
Unholy nexus behind question paper leaks
A sit-in was staged to protest leak of question papers in the last HSC examination

The leaking of question papers of different public examinations in the last few years has worried the civil society of the country. Such leaking of question papers of different public examinations is bringing down the moral of the honest examinees and the standard of education in the country. This along with less than expected standard of education in the country forces many wards of the members of the affluent section of the society to migrate abroad for better education  causing loss of huge amount of foreign exchange and at the cost of resources  spent domestically in the education sector.
A new study of the Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) reveals that coaching centers  and government employees have been part of a big nexus in leaking question papers prior to all the public examinations. The study says it is quite impossible to leak question papers unless a section of the government employees, who are deployed in printing and distribution of question papers, are not involved. Revealing that officials of Primary Education Directorate, Education Boards, Bangladesh Government Press as well as local administrations have reportedly been involved in question paper leakage incidents, the TIB study found that student wings of ruling party, coaching centres, guidebook traders, photocopy shops, applicants and sometimes guardians as well play active role in circulating the leaked question papers.
The TIB anti-graft body conducted the study entitled, 'Question Paper Leakage in Public Examinations: The Processes, Reasons and Way Forward' during January to July 2015, aiming to identify the processes and reasons behind the question paper leakages and to provide recommendations to check it. The research shows that there were a total 63 allegations of question papers leakage in the last four years (2012-15). Despite taking some measures after the allegations of question papers leakages surfaced, the authorities concerned repeatedly ruled out all these allegations. As the authorities concerned have a tendency to refuse the allegations of question papers leakage and did not make probe reports public after conducting investigations into the allegations the incidents of question papers leakage continues, deteriorating the country's education sector.
The leaked question papers were being sold at a range of Tk 2-20,000 while social media have been used to circulate them. The leaking question papers have emerged as a 'growth industry' in the country where a section of government employees are involved. The coaching centres and guidebook traders are also involved in it and about Tk 320 billion is being exchanged in coaching trade in the country each year. The study recommended amending the government's existing policy on coaching centers  to impose restriction on coaching trade and to increase facility to teachers to ensure education-friendly atmosphere in schools, colleges and other education institutions. It also suggested strengthening monitoring on use of ICT and bringing offenders involved in question papers leakages to justice.
The relevant Ministry on August 05, 2015 dismissed part of the TIB report which brought allegations of negligence by the government authorities . But TIB asserts that coaching centres and government employees have been part of a big nexus in leaking question papers prior to all the public examinations. The TIB argues that it is impossible to leak question papers unless a section of the government employees, who are deployed in printing and distribution of question papers, are not involved.   
The Education Ministry claims that if there is any allegation against the ministry “it is not true”; the ministry claims that it is taking action against those involved in question papers leakage of the public examinations. Referring to the detectives arresting nine members of two syndicates involved in leaking question papers of different examinations from Jessore and Dhaka city on August 02, 2015, the ministry advised “to watch … and then you will get your answer whether the Education Ministry has taken any steps in this regard … and then make comments”. Sources at the Detective Branch (DB) headquarters here said six members of a syndicate were arrested by DB police from different areas of Jessore district on August 2, 2015.
The arrestees are students of Jessore Polytechnic Institute and another private Polytechnic Institute of the district. During preliminary interrogation, the arrested ones, who  were involved in leaking question papers of Polytechnic Institutes through Facebook, revealed that they used to collect questions before each examinations of Polytechnic Institute and then circulated those through facebook and blue tooth technology among their friends. But it has not been mentioned from where they collect the question papers. Besides, a DB special team conducted drive in Demra area and arrested three persons on August 2, 2015 night. All of them are teachers of Gulam Mostafa Model College of Demra in the capital. Earlier, the DB police arrested six members of the gang, who had been involved in leaking SSC examination questions. On the basis of the statement of one of them, the detectives arrested the three teachers from Demra area.
But it is notable and arguable that none of them are “government employees, who are deployed in printing and distribution of question papers” of public examinations. Then where from they get the relevant question papers if not from those who “are involved” in the process of printing and distribution of question papers. Further investigations, that are usually not made and/or revealed, may bring the cat out of the bag. It is necessary to go deep into the matter since leakage of public examinations question papers are a threat to the moral of the nation. The students who come out of the educational institutions through this process will be of no use to the nation since they will  very likely be corrupt and harmful in their working life. If the process continues the nation will become not only a corrupt one but also a merit less one full of inefficient persons who can hardly be counted as human resources.         

The writer is a retired Professor of Economics, BCS General Education Cadre

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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