POST TIME: 16 February, 2018 00:00 00 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 16 February, 2018 01:25:18 AM
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Staff Reporter

Question paper leaks continue unabated

Question paper leaks of the ongoing Secondary School Certificate (SSC) examinations apparently continue unabated as the Chemistry question papers of yesterday’s exam were also leaked and found circulating in various social media platforms. Members of Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) detained 13 people, including 10 students, for their alleged involvement in leaking out Chemistry question paper of the SSC exam in Lalpur upazila of Natore.

Following various ‘futile’ attempts by the government to stop the question paper leaks, Secondary and Higher Education Division Secretary Sohrab Hossain yesterday said the government is now planning to introduce a new method of holding public examinations from next year, as it is not possible to prevent question paper leak under the current system.

Meanwhile, in the wake of widespread question paper leaks, the High Court yesterday formed two separate committees ----one judicial and another administrative -- to find out those involved in SSC question paper leak and to determine

the strategy to prevent question leak. The court also issued a rule asking the authorities concerned of the government to explain in two weeks why their inaction to stop SSC and equivalent question papers leak should not be declared illegal. Before passing its order, the HC bench described the ‘epidemic of question leak as an issue more serious than drug addiction’.

Speaking to journalists at his secretariat office yesterday, Secondary and Higher Education Division Secretary Sohrah Hossain said, “All the public examinations will be held in a new method from the next year. We are trying to formulate such a methodology that would be totally leak proof.”

“Around 27,000 to 28,000 people are involved in the process of printing question papers and reaching those to the examination centers. In this process, no one can ensure that question papers won’t be leaked,” he added.

 “Under the current system, it is natural the question will be leaked. It is not possible to prevent it. So we have to move with such a method that will now have any chance of leak of questions in the public examinations,” Sohrah Hossain said. The education ministry secretary said the new method will be introduced after consultation with concerned persons who can suggest for the new method.

In reply to a query over the High Court rule which sought explanation from the government over its failure and inaction to prevent the leak, he said, “We’ve not received the copy of the court yet. But we’ll obey its order once we receive it. If we have any inaction we will place it before the court.”  The secretary further said they are not in a position of giving any assurance of preventing question leak in the next examinations. “We have repeatedly said around 30 thousand teachers and employees are involved in this process. We think all are honest and sincere but if anyone is dishonest, it puts into question the honesty of all.”

Asked about whether SSC examinations would be cancelled, he said, “A committee is working in this regard. Besides, there must have proofs of questions leak. When the questions have been leaked, how many have been affected, it needs evaluation. We will take steps as per the committee recommendation.”

Meanwhile, the HC bench comprising Justice Zubair Rahman Chowdhury and Justice Iqbal Kabir  ordered the forming of two probe committees.

The five-member judicial committee will be led by the Dhaka district and sessions judge and chief judicial magistrates of Gazipur and Narayanganj, deputy secretaries of law and education ministries also work as the members of the committee.  On the other hand, the five-member administrative committee will lead by BUET professor Mohammad Kaykobad and professor Sohel Rahman, director general of secondary education board, a DIG range officer of CID and an expert of computer society, the HC order said.

Both the committees have been asked to start their work within seven days after receiving the HC order. It also asked the committees to submit their probe report before the HC in 30 days after they start their functions.

While passing the order, the HC observed, “The students who are taking the SSC and HSC exams today, will lead Bangladesh in five to ten years. If they go through this, there is a risk that the whole nation will collapse.”  In its order, the HC bench directed the judicial committee to find out how the question papers were leaked and who are involved in the leakage of question paper.  After conducting investigation the committee will give its recommendations by determining on what steps should be taken against the offenders, according to the HC order.

The HC bench directed the administrative committee to find out way of stopping the question paper leak.

The HC bench came up with the orders after hearing a writ petition filed by four Supreme Court lawyers including Ainunnahar challenging the legality of the government failure to prevent the question paper leak.

The HC also issued a rule asking the authorities concerned of the government to explain in two weeks why their inaction to stop SSC and equivalent question papers leak should not be declared illegal.

The secretaries to the ministries of education, primary and mass education, law and its draft wing, home ministry, ICT, BTRC chief and its secretary, inspector general of police, chief of the Secondary and Higher Secondary Education Directorate and the chairmen of all the eight education boards have been made respondents to reply to the rule within two weeks.

The SC lawyers submitted the writ petition to the High Court yesterday seeking its order on the government to cancel the ongoing Secondary School Certificate examinations due to the question paper leak.

Barrister Jyotirmoy Barua appeared for the petitioners while Attorney General Mahbubey Alam with the Assistant of Deputy Attorney General Moniruzzaman represented the state during the hearing.

Meanwhile, Images of Chemistry MCQ question paper began circulating in social media an hour before the exam that began yesterday at 10:00am. The question papers found in social media platforms were found to be identical to the original question paper.

RAB members picked up a teacher, 10 students and 2 others from Chandpur High School exam centre in Lalpur upazila around 9am, said RAB-5 sources.

RAB officials said tipped off, a RAB team went to the school and searched mobile phones of the examinees. As the question paper received through mobile phones was found to be similar to the original question paper, they arrested 13 people including 10 students and one teacher, from the centre.

The detainees were taken to Lalpur upazila parishad for questioning, the sources said. The comment of the Secondary and Higher Education Division Secretary and the order of the HC bench came at a time when the question paper leaks have become a regular phenomenon.

Questions of different public examinations have been leaked over the last few years, and all the question papers of the ongoing SSC examinations have reportedly been leaked. Education Minister Nurul Islam Nahid, on February 11, announced Tk 5 lakh bounty for information on question papers leaks. His ministry also formed an 11-member probe body to investigate the allegations of question leak in SSC Bangla first paper and second paper examinations.

Nahid made the announcement after an emergency meeting in the wake of widespread allegations that the “Kha” set question papers (multiple choice questions) of Bangla first and second parts had been leaked.

On February 5, Jatiya Party lawmaker Ziauddin Ahmed Bablu in parliament demanded that the minister steps down for his failure to stop question paper leak. Speaking on point of order, he also called upon Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to sack him and appoint another person in his place “to save the academic life of millions of students”.