In a major secrecy lapse that could lead to impersonation during the final exams beginning on March 13, Punjab Technical University (PTU) has allowed more than 2,000 learning centres (LCs) across the country to paste and attest pictures of students on admit cards at their own end.
Besides, the lists carrying particulars of students being provided to examination centre heads would not carry scanned pictures of students - for the first time in the university’s history - thus depriving exam controllers of the centre concerned with the facility to correctly identify genuine candidates allowed to take the exams.
In a circular issued by the PTU authorities, the LCs were instructed to download students' admit cards from the official website www.depexam.com, bearing particulars of their students and details of exams he or she is to undertake at a particular exam centre.
The learning centre will paste and attest student's photo on the card, which will provide him or her admission inside the exam centre, the PTU said. More than 2.25 lakh students would appear in the exams at 450 examination centres across the country. The centres are usually set up in identified colleges and schools, where the institution's authorities conduct the exams.
The PTU used to provide lists to exam centre heads carrying scanned pictures of the candidates along with detailed particulars, thus enabling them to match the picture on admit card with the list before allowing students entry into the exam centre.
Meritorious students enrolled under the distance education mode alleged that the move would encourage mediocre/weak students and the LCs concerned to work hand in glove for impersonation to achieve better results.
"The university authorities should not allow such corrupt practices which mar the sanctity of the examination process," they demanded, adding that the university's reputation would touch a new low if corrective measures were not taken promptly by the vice-chancellor.
The students demanded that exam secrecy should not be compromised. "The exams can be postponed till arrangements on the basis of the old pattern are made," they said, adding that their future was at stake due to the 'wrong' decision of the examination branch.
Sources said PTU staffers had failed to scan and collate data of pictures on admit cards in time, and consequently had to engage LCs in this regard. Vice-chancellor Dr Rajneesh Arora said he was not aware of the issue, but promised to look into the matter on Monday.
Deputy controller of examinations Dr Amanpreet Singh said the scanned black and white pictures on cut lists, being provided to exam centres in the past, were poor in quality and virtually of no use to exam staffers for comparing with admit card pictures.
On chances of impersonation due to engaging of LCs in attesting students' pictures on admit cards, he said there was no such possibility since students were also asked to bring photo identity cards issued by the university.
Interestingly, there was no data available to check whether every enrolled student was issued an ID card. Sources said such cards were also issued by the LCs, not the university authorities.
When asked why photos were removed from cards, he said the university would provide lists with coloured photos of students to exam centres in five days.