At a time when the CBSE has announced re-examinations of the Class XII economics and Class X maths papers after both were leaked hours before the exams, the state government and its boards have only ordered probes into alleged reports of Madhyamik question papers circulated on Whatsapp.
In all, three papers were alleged to have been leaked. In two of the cases, probes announced have yielded no significant results. The purported leaks, as well as an incident in Jalpaiguri where a headmaster allegedly helped a school topper by providing him question papers hours before the exam, has raised serious questions regarding the surveillance put in place by the West Bengal Board of Secondary Education (WBBSE), which conducts the Madhyamik examinations.
The state government called for a probe after a Class X Life Sciences question paper began circulating on Whatsapp, hours before the exam on March 20. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had said, “So far we have learnt that it is fake. The papers in circulation are not of today’s examination. I will also ask the police to look into this matter.”
The WBBSE had claimed that the circulating papers were model question papers on Life Sciences, which it had released in 2017. “Some people with cruel intentions have released the wrong question papers to confuse students. The question paper in circulation is the same one we had released last year as a model question paper on Life Science. The culprits have reprinted them as 2018 question papers before circulating them. It was done to disrupt the examination. We have already taken up the matter with higher authorities and have lodged a complaint at the cyber crime cell of Kolkata Police, urging them to start an inquiry,” WBBSE president Kalyanmoy Ganguly had said. However, there has been no further development in the matter, said sources in the board.
On the first day of HSC examinations on March 27, the West Bengal Council of Higher Secondary Education (WBCHSE) had ordered a probe into the alleged circulation of the Bengali question paper on Whatsapp hours after students began writing the exam in Malda district.
“We feel that some students who had gone to the washroom during the exam circulated the paper. Some people or organisations which were behind this incident have done this to malign the image of the board. We will probe the matter to find out the racket responsible,” WBCHSE president Mohua Das had said. Since then, no action has been taken so far, said sources in the WBCHSE.
On Thursday, similar reports of the alleged circulation of English question papers, after the exam commenced, surfaced in Malda district. This time, the WBCHSE president was not available for comment. Speaking to The Indian Express, former principal of Presidency College Amal Mukherjee called the alleged leaks “regrettable”.
In the Jalpaiguri case, headmaster Haridayal Roy of Subhasnagar High School had allegedly helped a Class X student so his school gets featured in the merit list of Madhyamik students. “I have unpacked it for certain reasons. I will give proper reason on why I did it to the appropriate authorities,” Roy had said.
The WBBSE had issued a showcause notice to the headmaster and summoned him to its headquarters in Kolkata on March 23. The board had assured strong action against him if the allegations were found to be true. Later, the state education department relieved Roy of examination duty at his school. Since questioning him Friday, the education board is yet to submit its final report.
Responding to queries on whether any action had been taken, state Education Minister Partha Chatterjee on Thursday said, “We are not in a hurry to take a decision in this regard. The board is yet to submit its report…There was a probe into the matter and the board will definitely take action against the person who will be found guilty. There is no point losing our sleep over the internal probe as Madhyamik examination is over. We have to see that such incidents are not repeated in the next board exams.”
Asked about the alleged HSC paper leak, he said, as per PTI, “No such leak has been proved. Circulation of some images on WhatsApp cannot be described as a leak.”