The last few months have witnessed many cases of paper leaks – entrance as well as university exams. One of the major tests in the news recently was the All-India Pre-Medical/Dental Test (AIPMT). After reports of cheating soon after the test was conducted in May, several students demanded a retest as they felt this would adversely affect their chances of bagging a seat in a medical college of their choice. Taking all aspects into account, the Supreme Court directed the Central Board of Secondary Education to conduct a retest on July 25, 2015.Candidates appearing for AIPMT say such incidents demotivate those who are hard working and talented. "What will the law abiding students do when there’s so much of corruption in the entrance exams like this? I am shocked at the sheer mismanagement of a prestigious all-India level examination (pre-medical test 2015-16) held on May 3, 2015, leading to mass copying and corruption polluting the entire process of the said tests. The national media has amply reported the sordid events and the police authorities have seriously taken cognizance of the corrupt and dishonest practices indulged in by lawless elements," says Adeeba Ahmed, an AIPMT 2015 candidate who filed a petition in the Supreme Court on the matter.
The retest conducted on July 25, 2015, was another chance for students. While some are relieved after getting this second chance, others believe the entire series of events, which included appearing for the entrance test, then hearing of the paper leak and then a retest, put a lot of pressure on them. “Appearing for the AIPMT twice in a span of three months was very taxing. I had a better chance in the first attempt and I am not sure if I would be able to score better in the re-test,” says an aspirant.
In her petition, a copy of which is with HT Education, Ahmed says that she is “aggrieved by the devious and unscrupulous mechanism adopted by certain vested elements in indulging, on a large scale, in unfair means vitiating the entire process of the said test to the detriment and harm of honest participants. The test for entry into the basic medical education in the country is extremely prestigious as a benchmark and hence, it is reasonably expected that a great degree of fairness is ensured by the concerned authorities in maintaining probity and honesty in the process of such tests.”
Recalling the chain of events, Ahmed says that it was reported that many of the applicants were using ear devices and specially configured phones etc. to cheat. “The examiners/invigilators were mute witnesses to this sordid drama in one of the most prestigious tests of the country. On finishing the tests, I was also informed by many of other students that a rumour was abuzz that the examination was likely to be cancelled in view of reports of large-scale cheating and unfair methodology adopted by vested and lawless elements. This shows that corruption and dishonesty in the examination was rampant and wide. The entire process of examination has been vitiated with dishonesty and unfair means. This eventually happened and a re-test was conducted,” adds Ahmed.
Parents of candidates are furious too. “A loud message needs to go to these lawless elements who are polluting the probity of the examination. The entire process of the examination has become vitiated as every single mark is relevant for qualifying the said test,” says Firoz, Ahmed’s father.
Incidents of paper leaks were not just limited to AIPMT this year. There were reports of leaks in tests at the School of Open Learning, Delhi University, Jamia Millia Islamia’s engineering and dental exams, Rajasthan University, Bangalore University and Uttar Pradesh civil services exam.
“Final-year papers in economics, English, and financial management of BCom were leaked on WhatsApp, a web-based mobile messaging service on three days in June 2015. More importantly, the regular colleges of Delhi University have Choice ce Based Credit System (CBCS) ) implemented and such cases of paper leak will collectively result in overall devaluation of SOL students’ hard-earned degree. DU authorities should admit this failure. Why were our exams conducted in schools? Why were our exams not conducted in the constituent colleges of the university? DU had a summer vacation back then and colleges could have been used for conducting exams. Why is there such discrimination with SOL students,” asks Shankar, a student of SOL.
Students even sent a memorandum to the executive director of SOL drawing attention to the matter and demanding a probe. Nothing happened.
At Jamia Millia, this was the first-ever case of an alleged paper leak. “Cheating or paper leaks are not something alien to this country. However, earlier students used to do it on their own without the knowledge of their parents but now the parents are ready to go extra mile to buy a degree for their wards. A student who has passed an exam by using corrupt and illegal methods can never be an honest citizen in his or her later life,” says Obaid Siddiqui, professor, Jamia Millia Islamia.
Besides the issues of paper leaks, a number of students have been impacted by the paper pattern/wrong questions and marking scheme in Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University’s medical entrance test, Common Law Admission Test and Maharasthra CET.