A day after images of Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) exam’s Marathi paper were leaked on social media minutes before it was handed out to examinees, the Maharashtra state board on Friday submitted a complaint with the Vashi police station but hasn’t taken any step to beef up security for the upcoming exams. It has ruled out a re-exam saying that the students were inside the exam hall when the images were released.
Officials from the Mumbai divisional board, which includes Thane, Palghar and Raigad, approached the police on Friday evening, to complain against the question paper being leaked on social networking app WhatsApp. The images received by the board show that students received the pictures at 10.46 am, minutes before the exam paper has handed out to them at 10:50 am. “We have filed a complaint with the police and submitted all the images that we received,” said Dattatray Jagtap, divisional chairperson of the board.
The police said they have received an application from the board but no FIR has been registered till now. “The board officials have submitted a complaint. So we will do an inquiry and then register a case accordingly,” said Sanjay Chavan, sub-inspector, Vashi police station.
Although the board suspects that the images were taken at an exam centre, it is unclear if they were taken in Mumbai or outside. “We have asked the cops to find out where the paper came from, it might not have necessarily been from Mumbai,” said Siddheshwar Chandekar, divisional secretary, Maharashtra state board .
The board believes the paper didn’t reach many students, as they were inside the exam hall by 10. 30 am. “This means that chances of students having received the leaked paper are slim,” said Chandekar.
Even after Thursday’s incident, the board has not given any instructions to improve the security at exam centres. As of now, students and teachers have orally been told to not carry their phones to the exam hall, but they are not frisked. “We ask teachers to frisk students only if they suspect that some thing is amiss,” said Chandekar. Adding that it is also not possible to install CCTVs at all exam centres, he said, “Students are finding newer hi-tech ways to cheat, it is difficult to compete with them.”
‘New pattern could be reason for leak’
Students and teachers in Mumbai are surprised that the Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) Marathi paper was leaked on WhatsApp on Thursday, as it is easy to pass due to its new activity-based format. But they agree that the format could just have been the reason behind the leak.
This was the first time that the activity-based format was introduced for Marathi. The new pattern doesn’t require students to memorise answers, instead they are tested on their application of the language. Even when the English paper was turned to activity-based format last year, students had complained that it was tough.
Teachers admitted there is a possibility that since the paper contained lots of objective questions, it might have been easy for students to copy, said teachers. “The only reason this paper might have leaked is because the pattern was new and students were apprehensive about it,” said Uday Nare, a teacher with Hansraj Morarji Public School and Junior College, Andheri.
Till last year, papers like book-keeping and accountancy were leaked, which are considered tough, but Marathi doesn’t usually fall in the same category. It records above 90% pass rate every year, and those opting for it are mostly students who have learned the language in schools.
Teachers said 20 out of 100 marks are for oral tests conducted by schools or colleges. “Since the oral exams are conducted internally, students score at least 15 marks in it. So it’s not tough for them to meet the minimum passing criteria,” said Shantilal D Shah, principal, MVM Junior College, Andheri.