Allegations of question paper leaks were rife before 2019. In 2018, the allegation was raised of the SSC exam’s question paper leak. Some measures were taken to rein in the question paper leak at that time including banning the use of mobile phones by the persons in charge of overseeing exams and slowing down the internet. The education ministry press briefing prior to this year’s examination claimed that there is no chance of a question paper leak.

Secondary and higher education division’s secretary Md Abu Bakar Siddique at a programme on Wednesday said, “We will have to get this work done by some person or other. Whom can I trust?”

How the incident came to light

Local students and teachers said although the board authorities admitted to the leakage of question papers in six subjects, allegations are there that question papers of more subjects were leaked.

A teacher on condition of anonymity told Prothom Alo that some students alleged to him that the question paper of the English first part was leaked too. He finds out similarities between the actual question paper and the leaked one. He then informed the matter to local journalists and they communicated it to the administration.

The education administration’s multiple sources said the allegation of the question paper leak did not get much attention initially. The matter only got noticed after several intelligence agencies were informed about the leak to relevant authorities. Later, the board’s chairman Md Kamrul Islam and secretary Md Jahir Uddin went to Kurigram. They along with Kurigram’s deputy commissioner Rejaul Karim, and police superintendent Al Asad Md Mahfuzul Islam investigated the packets of question papers and revealed that some question papers for the next examination are missing.

Upazila fisheries officer Md Adam Malik Chowdhury, who was the tag officer of the centre, is the plaintiff of the case. The case statement reads that centre secretary Lutfur Rahman was asked about the question paper leak in the presence of Bhurungamari upazila nirbahi officer (UNO) Dipak Kumar Sharma. Lutfur admitted his crime and packets of question papers were recovered from his bookshelf.

Sub-inspector Sayeed Md Atiq later seized the question papers and detained the accused.

The case statement further said Abu Hanif and other accused persons abetted in the crime.

Locals said Lutfur is the head teacher of the school for ten years.

Authorities negligence blamed  

Over 2 million students are appearing in this year’s SSC examination. The authorities send question papers to the districts after being printed at Bangladesh Government Press (BG Press). The questions are kept in the district administration treasury.  The questions are usually sent to upazilas for the districts three days prior to the beginning of exams. Usually, the question papers are stored in police stations at upazila level. After that, a responsible officer in presence of the centre secretaries and a police official do sorting to check whether the question papers have arrived properly. The question papers are again kept in the same packets after sorting is done.

The question papers are supposed to be sent to exam centres on the morning of exam day. Which set of questions would be used is determined 25 minutes before the start of the exams. A tag officer, centre secretary and a policeman take the question papers to the centre. 

Officials of Dinajpur education board and local administration told Prothom Alo that they think some question papers were removed during the sorting in Bhurungamari. That’s why some packets of the question papers were found open. It is likely that the question papers for the next exams were removed during the first exam. There might be negligence of the responsible persons. Leaking the question papers was not possible otherwise.

Dinajpur board’s chairman Md Kamrul Islam told Prothom Alo that action would be taken if any official is found involved with the question paper leak.

Guardians worried

It is alleged that question papers were sold to the students. Not only in Kurigram, but question papers were also sold in Rangpur. Guardians allege that question papers were sold to the mothers of the students for Tk 20,000. This gang has been working for several years. The guardians want an investigation as to the question papers of the previous exams were leaked too. They want law enforcers to probe the incident and bring the whole gang to book.

Jashore education board's former chairman Amirul Alam Khan told Prothom Alo that the centre secretary has committed a serious crime. But he cannot be blamed alone since it was a shared responsibility.

The concerned officials should have investigated whether there were any discrepancies in question paper distribution, he added.

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