'Repeated question paper leakage an ominous sign'

Repeated question paper leak an ominous sign: Experts

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Dhaka, Feb 5 – The repeated incidents of question paper leakage during public examinations will bring the country’s education system to its knee if the government fails to tackle it with an iron hand, said experts and civil society members.Two eminent academics of the country — Professors Emeritus Anisuzzaman and Serajul Islam Choudhury — and TIB Executive Director Dr Iftekharuzzaman said the government should not deny the fact of question paper leakage as it only encourages the perpetrators.
They underlined the need for taking strong and sincere steps to plug all the holes of question paper leak and ensure exemplary punishment to the offenders to get rid of the malpractice.
The question paper leak has once again become the talk of the town as the allegation of question paper leak surfaced in this year’s both the Bangla first and second papers’ examination of Secondary School Certificate (SSC).
The government today decided to form an 11-member committee, headed by Md Alamgir, secretary of Vocational and Madrasa Division of the Education Ministry, for scrutinising the allegations of the question paper leak and take a decision on the cancellation of the examinations as per its recommendations.
According to media reports, the question papers of at least 80 subjects in PSC, JSC, SSC and HSC exams have been leaked since 2012 while that of recruitment tests, including the BCS exams, were also leaked around 50 times over the last 15 years.
But the offenders in most cases went unpunished.
Professor Anisuzzaman said allegations are there that question papers have been leaked while the Education Ministry has long been denying it.
“So, we must first be ensured whether the question papers are really being leaked. The ministry should admit it first if the questions are really leaked. They should seriously identify the ways how question papers are leaked and then deal with it strongly.”
Prof Serajul Islam said the widespread leakage of question paper is the sign of a society falling sick and the moral degradation of people.
“This is, I think, not an isolated incident as corruption has been all-pervasive in society. We must bring a qualitative change in society and put up a strong resistance against graft to overcome such a menace,” he observed.
Besides, the noted educationist said, stern administrative actions must be taken and exemplary punishment be meted out to those involved in such illegal practice. “This menace has taken a serious turn as results are given more importance than teaching in classroom.”
Dr Iftekhar said people, mainly the guardians, are deeply worried over the regular incidents of question paper leak. “I think it’s an ominous sign for the country’s education sector.”
He said TIB conducted a research last year on the issue and identified the possible reasons and means of question paper leakage, and put forwarded recommendations to overcome the problem. “But, I think, the government didn’t take our findings and suggestions into its consideration.”
Iftekhar said they have found that a section of government officials in connivance with some coaching centres and unscrupulous people leak question papers. “This has taken an epidemic turn over the last few years.”
He said the government’s denial of leaking question paper is the main barrier towards removing the problem as this encourages those who indulge in such malpractice.
The TIB executive director said the government should take the issue seriously, identify the offenders and formulate a comprehensive law to ensure harsher punishments to them in bid to save the future generation.
Education Minister Nurul Islam Nahid declined to talk over the issue.
Secondary and Higher Secondary Division secretary Sohrab Hossain, however, said they are investigating the allegations. “Law enforcers and different intelligence agencies are still working on it. They’re assessing whether the allegations are correct or false ones. They’re also trying to identify the possible ways and sources of the leakage.”
The secretary admitted that the intelligence agencies are facing problems in detecting the users of some unregistered mobile SIM cards and Apps, like Viber and WhatsApp, who are likely to be engaged question paper leakage.
He said they have to reach the question papers at every exam centre with sealed packets and there is also a scope to leak those tampering the sealing process. “We’re now working to find out a way so that the sealing process can’t be tampered by anyone”.” – UNB

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