One more paper leak; now in Maharashtra.

Now its the turn of Maharashtra Board to be caught in the fire of paper leak. The English Paper for Class 12th (HSC) board exam was leaked, as per reports. The news of leak has rattled the officials of Maharastra State Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education (MSBSHSE).

More than 14 lakh students across Maharashtra will appear for the Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) examinations this year, out of this, 3.3 lakh students will appear from the Mumbai division, which has in 583 centers.

Despite the strict measures being adopted to prevent cheating, reports of the paper leak on Day 1 of the board examination comes as a huge embarrassment for the Board. The exam for the English Language for Class 12th started at 11:00 AM and it is said that the paper was circulated on WhatsApp, almost an hour after the examination started.

Assam students fall victim to paper leak too

Surprisingly the exact same scenario happened at Assam SEBA Class 10th exam and coincidently the paper which was leaked was of English. It was also circulated on WhatsApp an hour after the examination started.

To this, both the Board Officials of Maharastra Board and Assam Board made the exact same statement that they do not consider this is a leniency on their end. The Assam Board Officials even came up with a theory that some student might have come out of the examination hall early and would have circulated it on social media. It might be true and not.

Shakuntala Kale, chairman of MSBSHSE, has said that technically it is not a paper leak as students were inside the examination hall when the paper was circulated on WhatsApp. However, to confirm the reports he said that, “We have instituted an inquiry, even we do not have the full details. We have asked the centre and taluka officials to inquire and will know about the situation in a few hours”.

Paper leak story repeats every year; same pattern followed

The students of Maharashtra Board suffered a lot last year when a series of four examination question papers were leaked over Whatsapp, following which an inquiry committee was set up to come up with anti-leak and anti-copying measures.

The pattern is quite the same. If the papers could be circulated on the social platform an hour after the exam, the Board Officials if won’t take any step against this, next time it could be before the exam.

One fact which is to be noticed is that as a part of the measures, it was announced that no students will be allowed to enter the classroom after the final bell and neither will they be allowed to leave the classroom until the time is over. Moreover, in case of emergencies, students were expected to leave the question papers behind with examiners. Hence in such a situation, the question paper has gone viral, an hour into the examination is a serious case of worry for board officials.

Steps taken by state boards to curb paper leaks

The Board Officials declared a series of changes to prevent cheating but seem to be there are some loopholes which they forgot to fill up. Until last year, question papers would be sent in sealed packs of 50 or 100 papers. The seal would be opened at the exam center and bundles made depending on the number of students in each hall. However, from this year onwards, the seal must be opened in front of two students as witnesses.

For the first time, bar codes will be printed on the answer sheets and the supplementary sheets for transparency. Only 25 students will be allowed per block. In cases where some centers could not make arrangements, new centers were added.

In another incident, nine Class 12 HSC students were barred from appearing for the English paper for coming late. In the new rule, the Students will have to reach exam centers by 10.30 AM and after the final bell goes off at 11:00 AM, no student will be allowed inside the examination hall. Late entry would be allowed only in exceptional cases with the permission of the divisional board.

As per the statistics released by the Maharashtra Board, in HSC 2018 exams, 5,80,820 students have registered for Science stream while about 4,79,863 candidates will appear in Arts stream, 3,66,756 in Commerce exams and 57,693 candidates will appear for vocational papers. In all a total of 14,85,132 will appear in the HSC exams, which is being organized at 9,486 junior colleges and 2,822 centers across the state

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