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Dhaka Tribune

Errors in question papers: Experts call for revamping education system

Examinees and their guardians have recently expressed concern over several errors and controversial questions in the ongoing HSC examinations

Update : 13 Nov 2022, 11:45 PM

The regular presence of errors in question papers for the Secondary School Certificate (SSC), Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC), and other major examinations of the country highlight the pressing need to revamp the country's education system, academics have said.

They said institutions that train teachers hold some of the responsibility for the errors, as they continue to persist even though teachers and moderators have been provided training.

Examinees and their guardians have recently expressed concern over several errors and controversial questions in the ongoing HSC examinations. Similar concerns have been raised by students taking the SSC exams, which has also had some exams suspended due to question paper leaks.

One student told Dhaka Tribune: “Many of us prepared well but are still worried about whether the exam went well because there were mistakes in the question paper.”

Another student said it was hard to believe that exam papers would be properly assessed when the questions themselves included errors.

Guardians said the mistakes were worrying as an improper evaluation would hurt their children's higher education and employment prospects.

Prof Shaikh Ekramul Kabir, a member of the Education Policy-2010 formulation committee, said the occurrence of these mistakes, question paper leaks, and communal issues are proof of the huge loopholes that exist in the education sector.

He said: “Institutions which train teachers are equally responsible as such incidents are happening even after giving proper guidelines.”

Prof Kabir stressed the need for rigorous screening of teachers before they are appointed.

“We need qualified teachers who can inspire talented students to join the teaching profession after completing their higher education,” he added.

Former Dhaka Education Board chairman Prof Ziaul Haque also called for the appointment of ethical and qualified teachers.

The Bangladesh Examination Development Unit (Bedu) was formed by the Ministry of Education in 2002. It has been monitoring how teachers evaluate exam papers and providing them with training.

Talking with this reporter, Bedu officials said those involved in the preparation of question papers are properly trained, and they must have had personal motives to prepare such question papers.

Robiul Kabir Chowdhury, senior specialist (examination and evaluation) of Bedu, said: "We are providing sufficient training and logistical support to follow international standards in making master trainers across the country."

He added that teachers received specific training for making question papers for board-level as well as internal exams.

“During the training, we also provided a guide to the teachers stating what to avoid and what to accept as question makers,” said Prof Robiul Kabir.

Shamima Akhter, a specialist (exam and evaluation) of Bedu, said incidents like the recent controversy could not be stopped unless there is a change to the mentality of moderators and question makers.

Errors and question leaks in the SSC exams

The SSC examination started on September 15 of this year. Exams on four subjects -- Mathematics (109), Chemistry (137), Physics (136) and Agriculture (134) -- under the Dinajpur Education Board have been suspended due to question paper leaks.

Students in a Narail centre under the Jessore Education Board were provided Bangla Second Paper questions for the Bangla First Paper exam. The education board later cancelled the exam.

There were also question paper mix-ups in the exams of Physics and Bangladesh History and Civilization at Mothertech Abdul Aziz Higher Secondary School under the Dhaka Board of Education.

In all the centres of Dhaka Board, the exam was supposed to be conducted on the 4th question set, but both the exams were conducted using the 2nd set, which was prepared for the old syllabus.

The Dhaka Board is looking at the accounts of all the students who took the exams separately.

Errors, mix-ups in HSC questions

In the ongoing HSC exams, the Bangla first paper for Business Management and Technology (BMT) under the Bangladesh Technical Education Board has been postponed due to printing mistakes in question papers.

The technical board was forced to postpone the examination as the creative questions were made as per the old syllabus for students of the new syllabus.

Apart from this, the Bangla second paper showed quite a few numerical and linguistic mistakes in question numbers 1, 2 and 3 in the HSC examinations under Dhaka Board.

Frequent numerical and linguistic mistakes also found in exam papers from previous years.

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