It was amidst reports of most of the secrets of the nation being leaked that the Centre was compelled to order a re-examination of class XII Economics and class X Maths of the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) after both papers were leaked.
The students will have to appear for the Class XII Economics and Class X Maths papers again. Through this, 28 lakh children are being pulled back into exam stress. When the rumours of the Economics paper leak spread, CBSE authorities initially went into denial mode. Suspicions that multiple exam papers have been leaked are also rife. The statement of Human Resource Development Minister Prakash Javadekar that the examinations would be re-conducted with a view to uphold the sanctity of the Board examinations and in the interest of fairness to the students, should only be seen as a futile effort to hush up the serious flaw. The talks that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had intervened in the matter and expressed his displeasure should only be taken as a political gimmick. What has happened in the education board under the control of the Central Government should have never happened. The allegations now leveled against the CBSE that is based on the reputation of being the regulators of prestigious educational institutions of the country, following stringent policies in running educational institutions and boasting of an effective examination system, are highly serious. Even the credibility of the exams conducted so far might also be questioned.
The question papers of both the exams which the students will have to take once again were leaked on the day prior to the exam. It has been found during the preliminary investigations of the police that a handwritten copy of the question paper was circulated through Whatsapp. The preliminary conclusion of the police is that one of the centres in north India might have been the source of the leak. The police have arrested a person believed to be the chief plotter of the question paper leak on Thursday. Several people have been questioned in order to find out the trail of the Whatsapp messages. Even if the real culprit is caught, it would not be helpful in reclaiming the credibility of the CBSE exams. The main accused in this incident are the authorities who talk big about the sanctity of the exams. The drawbacks start right from the idiocy in believing that the secretive nature of the examinations could be safeguarded through an outdated system even in the present times of advancements in information technology. In a society with officials and teachers who would go to any extent for money, it is foolish to believe that the secretive nature of the question papers could be protected. Our country has the tradition of leak even in the civil service examination question papers.
Beyond the erosion of the authenticity and credibility of examinations, such experience puts the students under pressure and affects the faith that the young generation repose in the country's system. Has it has ever occurred to the authorities that the thought about the society not letting them live in peace, will engender an anarchist instinct in their mind-set? If in America it is the culture of gun and violence that hurls the younger generation into frustration, in the Indian context it is corruption and scams like the current one that are going to make tomorrow's citizenry angry and desponded. In addition, given that the majority of Indian students in the Gulf region follow the CBSE syllabus, their having to face the exam once again, has reportedly thrown out of gear the schedule of thousands of families. It has upset the apple cart of parents in those countries who have prepared their exit permits so as to leave for home soon after their children's examination, and have been counting days with air tickets in hand. When a large number of them have to cancel their travel plans, the Indian officials there are bound to render them necessary assistance to overcome the crisis.
The Central Government and CBSE authorities are heard to be racking their brains over a foolproof examination system. Among them we hear that instead of the current practice of keeping the question papers in bank lockers and taking them out on exam day, a procedure is being contemplated whereby the papers (electronically coded papers) will be printed in the presence of designated observers in the respective centres an hour before the exam. Whatever be the novel reforms, question paper leak and pilferage can be prevented only if the human brain that works at the back of all this, is honest. Not only should the culprits who worked behind the current leak be bought to books, appropriate steps should also be taken to restore confidence to the students who were victims of their wrongdoing.