The written examinations will begin on Saturday and continue until February 26
Government is putting in place all measures to stop the menace of question leaks as a record 2.1 million students prepare to sit for the Secondary School Certificate (SSC) and equivalent examinations scheduled to begin from tomorrow.
Given the reality of public exams frequently being hindered by incidents of question leaks in recent years, the new government and education ministry with a new minister in charge took up a foolproof measure to hold a question leak-free exam as the students appear for their test of merits.
Just two days prior to the SSC exams, Criminal Investigation Department (CID) on Thursday arrested nine members—including the masterminds—of the largest gang that has been involved in leaking question papers.
The CID now claims to have arrested kingpins of the question paper leak gangs that did the question leaking job through printing presses and digital devices.
The latest arrest has made the CID team so confident that they are now hopeful of holding a question paper leak-free exam.
On the very first of her joining office at Bangladesh Secretariat as education minister, Dr Dipu Moni vowed to tackle the question leak menace assigning it as her main challenge.
Briefing reporters at the secretariat on Thursday, Dr Dipu Moni, confidently said that no such incident will happen this time.
In addition to prevention of leakage, a monitoring cell of the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) is working to stop the spread of rumours in social media during the exams, the minister said.
The government along with law enforcement agencies are taking all these measures as public exams and recruitment tests, in the last several years, witnessed a spate of question leaks.
Mostly the multiple choice questions were leaked and found online in Facebook and Whatsapp groups, at least an hour before the exams.
But this time, the government seemed to be more prepared than past.
Coaching centres have been directed to remain shut from January 27 to February 27.
Question papers will be delivered to every examination centre in sealed packets of aluminium foil paper in order to prevent leakage, first of its kind of any such initiative.
Dr Dipu Moni thinks it will be easy to determine whether the packets have been opened [before they reached the exam centre] as these are special envelopes.
Previously, the question papers used to be sent out to exam centres in paper envelopes wrapped in high quality tape.
Besides, 200 yards areas surrounding each of the exam centres have been declared off-limit for people other than examinees on exam days.
The examinees will have to appear at the centres 30 minutes before the exam begins, a system introduced in 2017. But the new step taken this time is that if anyone fails to show up on time, they will have to write down their name, roll number and explanation behind the delay before being allowed to make an entry inside the centres.
Only the centre secretaries will be allowed to carry their phones, but the type of the phone has been determined as feature phones, which would have no internet or camera access.
To ensure monitoring, elite force Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) will continue to focus on cyber monitoring and conduct undercover drives across the country.
RAB director general Benazir Ahmed recently said they have already started monitoring and patrolling Bangladesh's cyberspace—including all social media platforms—to prevent question paper leaks, in addition to strengthening intelligence and surveillance activities.
Undercover operations are also underway, he added.
A total of 2,135,333 students, including 1,070,441 boys and 1,064,892 girls, are expected to sit for the SSC and equivalent examinations from 28,682 institutions in 3,497 centres this year. The written examinations will begin on Saturday and continue until February 26. Practical examinations will be held from February 27 to March 5.