After the Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC)’s bookkeeping and accountancy question paper was leaked on Friday, the Mumbai division of the Maharashtra education board has asked examination centres to check students’ pockets before they enter exam halls to ensure that they do not carry mobile phones into classrooms.
Supervisors have been advised to switch off their phones or leave them outside the classrooms.
Although there are rules against carrying mobile phones inside the hall, the board issued a set of revised rules on Saturday.
“Recent incidents have brought it to our notice that students are continuing to sneak in mobile phones into the exam hall, despite rules prohibiting it,” said Siddheshwar Chandekar, divisional secretary.
On Friday, a student of Rawal College, appearing for the exam at Royal College, Mira Road, was caught with images of the leaked HSC paper on his mobile phone during the exam. Another student was found with answers of the physics paper keyed into his phone at a Ghatkopar exam centre on February 25.
Chandekar said that the new rules have been issued to improve vigilance at exam centres. “We have told centres to strictly enforce the existing rules and ensure that students do not carry mobile phones to the exam hall. They should check the pockets of students before entering the hall,” said Chandekar.
However, the rules are not binding on the supervisors. They have a choice to either switch off their phones or leave them with the chief conductors. They will not be frisked. “We cannot ask the centre authorities to check supervisors to ensure that their phones are switched off as they are part of our own system,” said Duttatray Jagtap, divisional chairperson.
Supervisors have been the prime suspects in similar cases occurring for the past three years. In many of the cases, the supervisors were found to be hand-in-gloves with the accused in leaking the papers. Last year, a supervisor from a Malad school was found to have clicked pictures of the bookkeeping and accountancy paper as soon as the packets arrived at the school. He had done this on the insistence of the school trustee.