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Take strict measures to curb question paper leak: Activists to school board

By Ankita G Menon, Thane
PUBLISHED ON JAN 30, 2020 12:37 AM IST

A year after SSC question paper leak case, in which teachers and coaching institutes were involved, activists and educational organisations want strict guidelines to curb such misdoings.

They have demanded Maharashtra State Board for Secondary and Higher Secondary Education (MSBSHSE) Mumbai division at Vashi to issue strict guidelines to schools on handling question papers.

The activists have alleged that the board does not have an action plan to prevent paper leak although the examinations are a month away.

In 2019, Secondary School Certificate (SSC) examination papers were leaked in Bhiwandi by teachers and coaching institutes. Samvad Foundation, the whistle-blower, has written to the board asking for an action plan so that there is no repeat of the incident.

Govind Sharma, president, Samvad Foundation, said, “Last year, the board did not conduct a re-examination even after the paper leak. This is not fair to students who have worked hard for the exams. Moreover, till now they have not revealed any action plan to prevent such incidents. We have drafted a letter to the board asking its plan to curb paper leak, selling of question paper and malpractice during exam.”

Activists said there should be some directives from the board on inclusion of teachers connected to coaching classes in transferring, distribution and handling the question papers.

S Mulani, an education activist from Mumbra, said, “Strict measures should be taken to ensure that those working in coaching classes should not be appointed as invigilators or be involved in any board-related work.”

“It is the duty of the school to ensure that mobile phones are not used by teachers while handling question papers. The board should also take action against schools which violating the rules. The flying squad should also be vigilant about parents waiting outside exam halls and the staff within the school,” said Mulani.

Teachers and parents hope the board will introduce new rules or regulations before the board exams.

Kiran Sonawane, chairman of Bhiwandi Vidyarthi Sangh, said, “It is unfair on students if question paper leaks. There is no point in conducting exams if question papers continue to leak.”

Last year, a school teacher, who taught in a coaching institute, was involved in paper leak through a social messaging app just minutes before the exam was to begin.

An official from MSBSHSE said, “As per rules, no teacher whose child is in SSC or HSC is supposed to be part of the evaluation or invigilation team.”

“However, there are no rules for teachers with coaching classes. The decision should be taken by individual schools. We have also asked schools and colleges to be vigilant. We have formed special squads to inspect examination centres at regular intervals,” he added.

Thane schools check teachers’ background

With an aim to ensure transparency in the examination process, school principals have unanimously decided to not allow teachers who also work in coaching institutes in the team managing examination papers during the Senior Secondary Certificate (SSC) and Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) board exams.

Anil Sonawane, teacher coordinator from Padmashree Annasaheb Jadhav school and Junior College, said “We have done a background check of all teachers and made a list of teachers associated with coaching institutes. As of now, we do not have any such directive from the board. The teachers on the list will not be involved in managing the question papers.”

The police had arrested seven people, who were involved in selling the question papers.

“Many schools teachers were involved in selling question papers. Hence, we ensured that teachers are neither associated with coaching classes nor should they take tuitions at home,” said a trustee member at Evershine English School, Kalher.

“We have not only done a background check of teachers but have also interacted with parents and asked them to inform the school immediately if any teacher or coaching institute offers question papers,” added the trustee member.

Students are also alert after last year’s question paper leak.

They are avoiding being part of any WhatsApp group that claim to share probable questions.

“One of my friends suggested that a WhatApp group with former toppers helps in preparation for exam. The group also shares probable questions. Although it sounds helpful, I would stay away from such groups which can be misguiding or can also be involved in illegal activity,” said a Class 10 student of Shree Halari Visa Oswal School, Bhiwandi.

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