CBSE question paper leak: No ‘grace’ for controversy, malpractice!

The recent fracas due to 'CBSEleaks' has created huge disappointment and angst among stakeholders. The entire episode, with the Board primarily repudiating any leak of question papers, to further deciding upon the re-conduct of examinations in two subjects has upset the apple cart for students, parents and teachers alike. At the outset, the picture has been austere as a majority of citizens have geared up to fight the unfairness through protests, marches and signature campaigns which only showcase the widespread displeasure and throws light upon the neglect of deterrent measures that could have been availed to avoid such ignominy.

The anxiety levels of students in the 10th grade is significantly higher than the rest, due to the phenomenon we call the Board Exams. It is a milestone in the education of every Indian student and the morale of youngsters across the nation has received a blow, with their entry into the future being marred by this temporary bleakness. The experience has brought forth feelings of deception and desolation, especially after students have spent the last year being unceasingly reminded of the Board Exams. Systematic study, innumerable timetables, mock tests, preparatory and pre-board exams and the relentless pursuit of perfection had become 'focus words' in the lives of approximately 28 lakh students, who have attempted the Class 10 and Class 12 exams. 

Now, college admissions have to be put on hold, competitive exams may be deferred and the thought of students from other boards having successfully completed their assessments on time seem to weigh heavily on the CBSE student fraternity.  They are to appear for the exam again, an undoubtedly intimidating task. Students have felt let down by all the unfairness, after having undergone tremendous stress and strain owing to months of dedicated hard work and countless hours of study and practice. More so, there is anxiety as uncertainty looms large against their future plans. 

Board exams are taken very seriously in India. The entire family goes into a 'switch off/ shut down' mode to gear up for these exams, as it is believed to be the foundation stone of a promising future. The 'Board exams' are an important milestone as the results conclusively decide what stream of education a child can pursue. Parents work in absentia from office and stay home during study breaks to boost the confidence of their wards. Last minute advice on concrete preparation for the exams, novel formulae that would ensure success are imparted at this time by friends and family. Parents are now distraught by the leakage of question papers, for they feel it will be difficult to get their children to work with the same rigor. 

Schools have been reeling under pressure ever since the CBSE announced 'REVERT', by thrusting the CCE aside and returning to days of yore. With the 'Board exams for class 10', school authorities applied various stratagem to facilitate a system of education that was unheard of for the CCE natives. They had to metamorphose into hybrids overnight and unlearn whatever they had been used to. Fragmented learning and appearing for formative assessments were the norm. Educators have had to recreate a cognitive atmosphere that was reflective of the sudden seriousness that had to be attached to the system, for the student in grade 12. The diligence quotient, meticulousness and gravity towards academia were to be the same for both grades 10 and 12. The constant study drills and rigorous schedules were nightmares for many a student. However, the Board brought smiles to the faces of the student and teacher fraternities who thanked their stars for having obtained relatively 'trouble – free' question papers.

It has been a real disgrace as the lawmakers have had to get involved to probe into the wrong doings of a few avaricious miscreants.  If anyone has to be blamed it is the Board, for not having taken cognizance of the times in which we live. Hackers and unethical citizens who are looking to make a quick buck have sent shock waves and led the nation towards questioning the credibility of a National Board like CBSE. It could be any other Board tomorrow. 

This unfortunate string of events calls for a speedy investigation, extreme punishment to malefactors and competent security measures to ensure such mishaps do not occur again. 

The Board's decision to conduct a re- examination in the subjects – Maths and Economics seems to be a fair decision to negate the unfair advantage gained by a few students who chose to find a shortcut to imminent success.

The incident has warranted a change in examination procedurals and the HRD Ministry has to work upon creation of a 'no – compromise' secure framework for the same. Enhancement of the security apparatus – physical / digital, vigilant methodologies and stringent laws for the offenders may perhaps solve the concerns related to the examination process which indeed was long overdue. 

The writer is a Trustee, Delhi Public School


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