With pressure mounting over leaks, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has decided to implement a new measure and have examination centres print question papers, starting Monday’s exam. The untried measure has seen only one dummy run, last week.
On Monday, when the CBSE starts implementing this, Class 10 has French/Sanskrit/Urdu-B paper, and Class 12 has Language Elective.
All the centre superintendents in Delhi received a circular intimating them about this on Saturday, sending confusion down the ranks. With just a day to make the preparations, from high-speed Internet to A4 sheets to calling in computer teachers, the superintendents, who are mostly principals of schools that serve as exam centres, were worried and sceptical.
In Delhi, there are 744 centres for Class 10 and 733 for Class 12.
An email sent to the CBSE went answered, and the Express could not confirm if the same measure would apply to examination centres outside Delhi.
The ‘strictly confidential’ note sent by the CBSE to examination centres in Delhi, and seen by The Sunday Express, contains 10 sets of instructions, detailing the arrangements for handling the encrypted question papers. “In the light of the recent developments CBSE has devised a mechanism of providing encrypted question paper at the examination centres just before the commencement of examination,” the circular says.
The instructions include identifying a safe and secure room for installation of computers and printers, ensuring high-speed Internet connection, and arranging a back-up dongle connection — just in case. “As far as possible CCTV camera be installed in the room where printing is taking place”; and “adequate number of computers with UPS or laptop and high speed printer or photo copier for printing of adequate number of question paper required as per the candidate allotted at the centre” be provided, are the other instructions.
Each school has to ensure that computer teachers/staff are at the centre by 7:30 am on all exam days to handle downloading and printing of the encrypted question papers, and to arrange the A4 sheets, “at least 10 pages per candidate”.
That’s not all. Each school has to send details of the number of printers, computers installed, name of the computer staff/teacher in charge with their details, to the board email-id by Sunday 4 pm.
“The centres which do not have the required facility shall hire the same and expenses incurred shall be reimbursed as per norms of the board,” the circular adds.
“The room identified for printing of question paper should be safe and entry should be restricted to the concerned staff on duty as per assignment given by the centre superintendent. No mobile phone/communication device shall be allowed inside the exam centre except for the centre superintendent,” it says.
The centre superintendent has to personally supervise the arrangements and ensure adequate security arrangements.
On exam day, the question paper will be available on the CBSE website. The same user id and password as used for registration can be used. After downloading the zip file of the question paper, the centres have to use the password provided by the regional office minutes before and extract it.
“Now that we have received the order, we have to do it. But we don’t know how this is going to happen. It is very challenging. With just a day to make preparations, I am very worried,” said a principal of a government school, who didn’t want to be named.
A K Jha, the principal of a government school in Sector 8, Rohini, questioned the “short notice”. “The circular came to us only in the evening.”
Meanwhile, all of Saturday, exam centre superintendents were undergoing another exercise. They were taken on a tour of the nodal banks called “strong rooms”, where question papers are kept before being taken to examination centres. The message that was drilled into them: there was no way the leak could have happened from the banks.