The phasing out of multiple-choice questions (MCQs) from all public examinations is among a raft of recommendations which have been made following this year’s extensive SSC exam question paper leaks.
The set of proposals submitted to various stakeholders advocate reforms to various aspects of public education, including admissions to higher education and results grading.
In addition to phasing out MCQs, the ideas under consideration include training teachers to make creative questions, realizing education policies, and updating the Public Examination Offences Act, 1980.
The proposals were drawn up in response to an education ministry report on this year’s leaks which was sent to the secretary of the Public Security Division of the Home Ministry, the governor of Bangladesh Bank, and the chairman of the Bangladesh Inter-Education Board Coordination Sub-Committee on March 12.
Ali Md Sajjad Hossain, member secretary of the investigative committee and deputy secretary of the secondary and higher education division, said the education minister was due to discuss the details of the report at a press conference on Thursday.
“All examinees will have their results published, they should not be worried about this,” he said.
The report identifies four reasons for question leaks.
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These begin with the psychological pressure on students to get admitted to educational institutions such as public universities, medical and other colleges, and BUET. To counter this, the report outlines the need for reforms to the admission systems of public institutions.
The inclusion of objective MCQs in exam papers and the use of the current grading system, including GPA 5 and Golden GPA, are also blamed.
The fourth factor behind the leaks was identified as the pressure placed on students to achieve higher grades.
In a conference held on February 20 to prevent the leaking of HSC question papers in the same way SSC question papers were leaked, it was decided that the leaks occurred in six ways. The government adopted several tactics from that meeting in order to prevent further leaks.
In referencing the SSC leaks, the scrutinizing committee said no question papers had been leaked for the Technical and Madrasah Education Board exams, but the papers of 12 out of 17 SSC subjects had parts of them made public. Of these, the objective MCQ sections, with 30 questions each, were leaked, but never the creative MCQ sections.
Moreover, the report said no papers had been published openly, with most posted on secret Facebook groups with only 10-100 members. Additionally, most of the questions leaked on social media were either fake or doctored.
In total, it is suspected that around 4-5,000 students benefited from the leaks, which all occurred around 20 minutes before the exam itself.
Since it is mandatory for students to enter the examination hall 30 minutes before time, it could not have been easy for them to have memorized all the questions and their answers accordingly.
The exam bodies are confident that the overall results will not be affected by this.
This article was first published on banglatribune.com