With over 3.8 lakh students in Mumbai division appearing for Secondary School Certificate (SSC) exams starting from today (Tuesday), the Maharashtra state education board which is on a high alert after five consecutive question paper leaks will be strict on latecomers.
The board has instructed supervisors to make a separate note of students walking into the exam rooms after 11.00 am, take down their details and interrogate them on why they were delayed.
During SSC and HSC exams, students are expected to gather in the exam rooms by 10. 30 am and question papers are handed out at 10: 50 am, so that they get 10 minutes extra-time to read the paper.
Although the exam begins at 11 am, students are allowed to enter the exam hall till 11. 30. But on Monday, the board instructed all the centres to keep track of such students.
According to Siddheshwar Chandekar, divisional secretary of the board, this step has been taken as during the last five papers, images of the question paper appeared on WhatsApp, 10 to 20 minutes before the exam. Discouraging latecomers, will help in curbing the numbers of students viewing the images.
“Students who walk in late are suspected because they might have seen the leaked images,” said Chandekar. “This is the only thing we can do, since it is impossible to control technology.”
Teachers said that this is a wise move, considering that it is not practical to ban latecomers altogether. “Mumbai faces heavy traffic congestion so it is natural for students to get late, but we suggested that the board should at least keep an eye on these students,” said Uday Nare, former board member, and teacher, Hansraj Morarji Public School, Andheri.
But the leak has worried exam takers, many said that they do not want re-exams.
Dharmit Dhanak, a student of Swami Vivekanand School in Kandivli, said"People had already started talking about the leak. But the paper was easy anyway. Even if the paper had not gotten leak, anyone could have cleared the exam," he said, adding, "We would definitely hate if there are re-exams just because of others' secrecy failures. Why should we suffer?
"The paper was very much to our favour. I just hope there are no re-exams for a paper like Mathematics. It takes a lot of practice to finish the paper on time," said Shikha Rawal, adding that re appearing for exams would deflate everyone's morale who had studied hard and also affect upcoming papers.