The leaking of question papers of public examinations and recruitment tests has been one of the most talked about issues this year.
“Question leak in all sorts of exams has become an epidemic. If we fail to take effective preventive measure to stop the practice, the government investment in the education sector will go in vain,” educationist Shyamoli Nasreen Chowdhury told the Dhaka Tribune.
Questions of Junior School Certificate (JSC), Secondary School Certificate (SSC), and Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) examinations were leaked before the tests while a number of government recruitment tests were cancelled due to allegations of question leak.
The law enforcement agencies also detained a total of 23 people for their alleged involvement in leaking question papers of Dhaka University admission test 2017.
Educationalists say they fear the systematic leaking of questions before tests could destroy the education system.
“It seems that a particular group or syndicate wants to destroy the backbone of the nation,” Shyamoli said. “It is the government’s duty to figure out who is involved in this crime and punish them.”
Questions of JSC exams, which began on the first day of November, were leaked.
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Thematic picture of a student looking for answers in a answer script book from a leaked question paper on a smartphone Syed Zakir Hossain/Dhaka Tribune
Many students and guardians said the questions were available on Facebook and messaging applications like Viber and WhatsApp just before the exams.
The Primary Terminal Exams (PSC) took place last month. Many have alleged that questions of Bangla, English, mathematics and general science were leaked.
However, Primary and Mass Education Minister Mostafizur Rahman denied the allegation, dubbing it a “rumour.”
Over the last few years, the leaks of SSC and HSC questions have become quite common, adding to the suffering of the students.
This year’s SSC and equivalent examinations began in the first week of February with over 1.78 million candidates sitting the test.
In Dhaka Board, the mathematics exam was held on February 12 but questions of both creative and multiple choice sections were leaked the night before the exam.
A former student of Siddheswari Girls’ College in Dhaka, who declined to be named, said HSC questions of various subjects including Bangla, English and mathematics were leaked.
“As the questions had become available on social media just before the examinations, most of the students depended on them. They used digital devices to solve the questions before entering the exam centres,” she told the Dhaka Tribune.
University admission and job recruitment tests were also plagued by question paper leaks throughout the year.
Dhaka University’s first-year admission test of D unit was held on October 20. But around seven hours before the test, the questions of the English section were circulated through emails.
Similar allegations were also brought by examinees and parents after the Jagannath University and Islamic University admission tests this year.
The Dhaka University authorities initially rubbished allegations of question leak. However, the law enforcement agency members arrested 23 people, including an employee of a press that prints question papers for DU, a government official and several university students in connection with question paper leak.
Meanwhile, authorities cancelled a number of recruitment tests after their questions were leaked.
Agrani Bank cancelled an examination for appointing senior officers scheduled for May 19 over allegations of question leak. The bank authorities decided to hold the test in two phases considering the number of candidates.
The afternoon session of the exam was cancelled after images of leaked questions appeared on social media and newspapers ran reports before the first phase exam began at 10am.
On October 7, the Public Service Commission cancelled a test a day after holding it to recruit senior staff nurse over similar allegations.
It appears leaking questions has become a lucrative industry.
Questions to D unit’s English section during DU admissions were sold for as high as Tk5 lakh, CID officials said.
“The racket used to take between Tk200,00 and Tk500,000 from each of the candidates for the leaked questions,” Molla Nazrul, the special superintendent of police of the Criminal Investigation Department that was investigating question leaks in DU admission test said.
Meanwhile, seeking anonymity, a job applicant who had sat for a government bank recruitment exam in 2015 told the Dhaka Tribune that in case of recruitment exams, the amount charged is higher than public examinations.
“The syndicates target some 40 to 50 candidates and charge them between Tk500,000 to Tk1,000,000,” he told the Dhaka Tribune.
He added: “The members of the syndicate either solve the questions before the exam or provide the answer to the questions in the exam hall with the help of technology.”
However, the law enforcement agencies claimed that most of these syndicates were fraud while people often get trapped by them and give huge amount of money.
When contacted, SSP Nazrul said that a number of people were lured by the sheer amount of money involved in question leak.
“We are yet to find any clandestine circles or politically-backed groups’ involvement in question leak,” he told the Dhaka Tribune.
Education Minister Nurul Islam Nahid told the Dhaka Tribune that a section of teachers and coaching centres were involved with leaking questions.