Consecutive Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) paper leaks over the last five days have added to the stress of students who are taking the ongoing state board exams, and also parents. Increased scrutiny at exam centres have made many anxious students quit student groups on social media. Most are also thinking twice before taking a call about carrying their mobile phones to the halls.
Five HSC papers have leaked back-to-back, this year. The mathematic sand statistics papers were out on WhatsApp just 30 minutes before the exam started on Monday. Saturday’s secretarial practice and physics papers and Thursday’s Marathi paper came out in a similar fashion.
Reports of images of these papers going viral on student groups on WhatsApp has led to many students to quit them. “We have been hearing about paper leaks every day now. My parents asked me to quit WhatsApp groups so that I do not receive such images,” said Ashwin Joshi, an HSC student from Andheri. “They were worried after reading about students being held for getting the images on their phones.”
His parents, Divya and Pranav, said that they insisted that Ashwin left his phone with them. “Kids are on too many social media groups these days and you don’t know who they chat with. Just to be safe, I keep my son’s phone with me during the exam and ensure he doesn’t get any wrong messages,” said Divya.
Student circles are buzzing with news of the paper leak. Some are curious while most spirits have been dampened. Dharmit Dhanak, a student of Swami Vivekanand International School in Kandivli, said that he heard about Monday’s paper leak as soon as he emerged from the classroom. "People had already started talking about the leak. But the paper was easy anyway. ANyone could have cleared the exam.” he said, adding, "We would definitely hate it if there are re-exams for no fault of ours. Why should we suffer?"
Some worried students complained that they are unable to concentrate on their exams. “I was writing my first SSC paper, Gujarati, but I wasn’t able to focus. I kept thinking if this paper has leaked too, and what will happen if it does,” said Sunny Jain, from RC Patel School in Borivli, who appeared for his SSC exam on Tuesday.
The board helpline, too, received calls from students inquiring whether re-exams will be held. “Students are asking about the consequences of the leaks and if the exams will be repeated,” said a counsellor from the helpline. “We are advising them to not worry about the exams and other things beyond their control. We just tell them to revise for the upcoming paper.”