POST TIME: 13 February, 2018 12:26:43 AM
Curbs on cell phones near exam halls, now
Ministry comes up with new idea to stop question paper leak

Curbs on cell phones near exam halls, now

Following several failed attempts to stop question paper leaks during the ongoing Secondary School Certificate (SSC) and equivalent exams, the education ministry has come up with a “digital” idea to tackle the menace. With the leak-tainted exams reaching their halfway mark, the ministry has now barred people from carrying mobile phones within 200 metres in the vicinity of exam centres. The only exception would be the centre secretary, who can carry a mobile phone for emergency use only, but not a smartphone Besides, the ministry has directed the authorities concerned not to allow examinees to enter the centres if they fail to report 30 minutes prior to the paper.


Officials said they have taken such “emergency measures” to curb question paper leaks so that the examinations are held amid a fair environment and free of rumours.

A letter dated February 11 and signed by the education ministry’s deputy secretary, Abu Ali Md Sazzad Hossain, said they have noticed that many persons loiter around the examination centres with their smartphones.

The letter directed the authorities concerned to arrest persons who would be found carrying mobile phones inside or within 200 metres of examination centres.

The letter also faulted the examinees for reporting late to the examination centres despite the instruction to take their seats 30 minutes before the start of the exam. No examinee will be allowed to enter after the cut off time, it added.

The ministry directive was sent to the director general of the Directorate of

Secondary and Higher Education, divisional commissioners of Dhaka, Chittagong, Rajshahi, Khulna, Barisal, Sylhet, Rangpur and Mymensingh, chairmen of all boards, deputy commissioners and district magistrates.

Ministry sources said mobile phones were the main device used to leak question papers on social media platforms like Facebook, WhatsApp and Imo. Before coming to the examination centres, many guardians and examinees browse popular social media pages for leaked questions, they added.

Amid such a scenario, SCC examinees will sit for their physics, history and emergence of Bangladesh, and business paper exams today.

Faced with widespread criticism following media reports on the issue, the education ministry has announced a reward of Tk 5 lakh for giving information on the persons involved in paper leaks. Meanwhile, law enforcers have detained over 50 persons for their alleged involvement.

The ministry has also shut down all coaching centres before during the examination period.

Besides, the ministry had requested Bangladesh Telecommunication and Regulatory Corporation to shut down internet services for 30 minutes on Sunday to curb paper leak.

Also on Sunday, the BRTC had directed mobile operators to reduce the internet speed from 8 am to 10.30 am. Yesterday, however, the commission withdrew its decision.

Notwithstanding this, the internet speed was slow from 8 am to 8.30 am yesterday, causing great inconvenience to various service providers and their customers.

The government restriction on carrying mobile phones near examination centres has not gone down well with many academicians.

“This prohibition will only increase the suffering of guardians. It is an illogical decision,” said Dr Syed Manjoorul Islam, professor of English at Dhaka University.

“This is nothing but a cosmetic move by the government and it would not function properly. The government should have admitted to the leak, but it has chosen to deny it. The denial has encouraged the culprits to carry on with their evil acts,” he added.

The academician suggested that the government should do more to plug the leak. “When you only blame the teachers, it shifts the focus from the masterminds. The government must try and catch the main culprits,” he said.

According to Manjoorul Islam, the government should give emphasis on written examinations rather than on multiple choice questions. He also said examinations like Primary Examination Completion (PEC) and Junior School Certificate (JSC) should be scrapped to reduce burden on students. “Such steps would remove the risk of question paper leaks,” he added.