THE government has recently formed a seven member committee to find solutions to the question paper leak menace. On the basis of their recommendations the education minister said that examinations would take place without any recess, except for public holidays. He believes that this will leave no room for question paper leak.
But there is no direct link between the leaking of question paper and the long gap in the examinations. We should remember that students are the first important component among five in teaching learning situation. We cannot penalise them for the wrong things done by others. Examination involves students' physical, psychological and mental labour. So, there must a reasonable gap between two examinations to help them get mentally and physically prepared to face the next one.
The committee members recommended setting up of a central question bank where more than one question set can be made automatically by using Artificial Intelligence (AI). It may be a good suggestion, but we should take care so that the bank does not turn into so-called question bank and students are confined to only one question bank.
The committee also suggested introducing a three-tier security measure, such as password of users, biometrics and user access card of devices to be used for the question papers. Their recommendations also include introduction of digital stamp control to ensure opening and distribution of question papers in centrally-controlled time. In this method, the questions of different sets will be sent to upazila and district administrations, and just before the beginning of the examination, orders will be passed from the central board to open a particular set and get it printed. This is also a good way, but we must be ready to face technical problems and think of their solutions. Again, proper management must be ensured to print a huge number of question papers in a short time in spite of electricity problems.
The question papers should be kept in boxes having Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) after publishing at the BG press so that only designated officials who have RFID controlled chip can open the boxes at the scheduled time. The committee also suggested avoiding BG press as it has been proved several times that it is the main source of this crime.
Another important thing should be taken into serious consideration. The committee has failed to name the people involved in leaking out questions this year. They have identified the sources but nobody wants to mention their names. Those people must be very powerful or closely linked with powerful people. This thing must be dealt with utmost care.
The writer is Program Manager, BRAC Education Program and
Vice-President, Bangladesh English Language Teachers Association.