The SSC and equivalent exams in 2018 saw record question leaks on almost every exam day. No other year has seen question papers leaked so widely and routinely. Authorities initially denied that questions were being leaked and only in the face of unanimous animosity did they concede it was a possibility. Even as Education Minister Nurul Islam Nahid boasted to reporters that questions had not been leaked for a particular subject, the usually channels for leaked scripts on social media successively successfully proved him wrong.
In face of overwhelming nationwide criticism for failing to prevent the academic travesty, the Education Ministry has resorted to overhaul the exam system.
When the SSC 2016 questions were leaked, police claimed the people involved had been arrested. But then 2017 saw SSC scripts leak as well. However in 2018, the question leaks became a routine, in spite of ill-contrived and half-hearted attempts to prevent it, the leaks continued unabated, in an almost artistic manner.
Questions for most exams were available an hour before they were set to start, giving candidates half an hour of time to memorize the answers due to a fresh directive which demanded students enter the exam centres 30 minutes before start time.
As the media scrutinized how SSC question papers are made and revealed the vast number of people involved in the making, exposing the many loopholes which could be, and possible are, exploited, the government vowed to crack down on those responsible.
But the government’s actions remained limited to passing off responsibility to anyone else. There have been hints of dropping the MCQ section from the exams and outlandish plans – like shutting down internet to prevent question leaks, but this digital chokehold was rescinded almost immediately.
Dhaka Education Board Acting Chairman Shahedul Khabir Chowdhury said education authorities and law enforcement agencies are working together to prevent this from occurring again. But he too admitted the leaks this sessions far surpassed anything that has happened before.
This article was first published on banglatribune.com