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Two CBSE schools get identical papers

Two CBSE schools in Navi Mumbai ended up with almost identical question papers for two subjects last week for their Class 9 final exams, giving some students an unfair preview, reports Bhavya Dore.

mumbai Updated: Mar 10, 2010 01:17 IST
Bhavya Dore

Two CBSE schools in Navi Mumbai ended up with almost identical question papers for two subjects last week for their Class 9 final exams, giving some students an unfair preview.

Khargar’s Apeejay School held its English exam on March 3, a few days before its Nerul branch, giving the latter’s students an advantage.

But for social studies, the Kharghar students got a sneak preview because they took the exam later. Before this year, CBSE schools set their own exam papers for Class 9. But this year, in a bid to usher in uniformity, the board created a common question bank. It then randomly generated questions papers from this larger bank and sent different sets on a CD to its 11,000 affiliated schools.

But clearly, in some cases, the system is not generating papers that are dissimilar enough. This is a problem because students in schools located close to each other are bound to discuss exams. A similar problem occurred last month in Delhi schools.

“It is disturbing that the board couldn’t get such details right,” said Indu Mathur, principal of Apeejay School, Kharghar. “I had parents coming to me en masse, saying that students had exchanged information about some exam papers. There should have been a centralised timetable.”

The board has merely specified a period within which all schools are supposed to hold their exams. While this gives schools some flexibility to set their own exam timetables, it also leaves open the possibility of two schools holding an exam for a particular subject on different days. The board has now told the schools that for the remaining papers they can choose from a fresh question pool that it will put on its website.

“But what about the exams students have already written?” asked Mathur. “We have no direction yet on that.”