While question papers of all the SSC exams held so far have been leaked and circulated on some Facebook pages, the inter-ministerial committee formed to investigate the menace has found only one paper to be "fully" identical to the leaked one and some others to be "partially" similar.
The committee yesterday said they still have to verify the exact time of the alleged leaks although the media kept on reporting while mentioning the date, time and Facebook pages of the leaks.
However, whether the question paper got leaked is not the question at all. What guardians, educationists and journalists want to know now is who the leakers are and how they are doing it.
But chief of the 11-member committee, Md Alamgir, said, "We will check when it [the question] was leaked with how many marks."
"We have just examined the situation and need further information. We will examine further," he told reporters at his office in the education ministry.
He compared the situation by saying: "Suppose a problem has been found in your blood after conducting a test. Now you need to confirm whether it was that problem. And for that you need to do another blood test. That's what we will do."
The committee held its second meeting since its formation on February 4. It will hold another meeting on February 25 and submit its report with recommendations the next day.
"After the end of the exams on February 25, we will sit and look into the other subjects."
He said they checked the questions of maths with the ones circulated on Facebook, but they did not find any similarity. But for the questions of English, the committee found some similarities, he added.
"That's why we will examine some more and then take our decision," said Alamgir, also the secretary of technical and madrasa division of the education ministry, replying to a query.
Asked whether the examinations would be cancelled, he said if questions of an exam were fully leaked, that exam would be cancelled. But it will not recommend retakes for partially leaked questions.
"If only the MCQ parts have been leaked, then the tests on MCQs will be retaken," he said.
And if the questions got leaked an hour or two before the tests or the day before, the exams would be scrapped, said Alamgir.
"But if the leak took place half an hour before or during the exams, then we would not recommend cancelling it," he added.
"We will not cancel them as only the ministry can do it. We can only recommend," he added.
This is the largest-ever reported spate of SSC question paper leaks that has drawn fierce criticisms from educationist and guardians, fearing that the education system would be ruined if the leaks continued before the beginning of the exams.
However, yesterday was a little different as the question paper of Agriculture Studies exam was leaked 10 minutes after the exam started.
An image of “Ka” set of the MCQ paper of Agriculture Studies started doing the rounds in a Facebook group around 10:11am.
The picture of the paper seemed to have been taken using a camera and then uploaded online.
After the exam, this correspondent compared the question paper to the leaked image and found them to be identical.
After uploading the image of the paper, the leakers bragged in a Facebook post that they had again “successfully” leaked the question. However, many users complained in the comment section that it was of no use as the exams had already begun.
The exams of 13 optional subjects under different groups and categories were held yesterday. As the subjects were not common, the demand for these question papers were less too, students said.
Two nights ago, the leakers also posted on Facebook that the question paper for yesterday might not be leaked. However, they were inviting people to get question papers of Biology and Economics, scheduled to be held today.
There have been widespread allegations of question paper leaks in all public exams like JSC, SSC and HSC, medical college and university admission tests, and state-owned banks' recruitment exams over the last several years. In most cases, the leaked questions were circulated on Facebook pages.
With all the government steps to stop question leak in the ongoing SSC exams turning out to be futile, the High Court on Thursday formed two committees -- one judicial and another administrative -- to find those involved in the leaks and make recommendations for preventing such incidents.
At least five teenagers and some youths were held by law enforcers yesterday in connection with circulating the leaked question papers.
In Bogra and Kushtia, Rab arrested two HSC-second-year students who were allegedly involved in selling question papers through Facebook messenger groups.
One arrestee -- Rabiul Alam, 19, a 12th grade student of Gopalganj Bangabandhu College, told our Bogra correspondent that he connected with a question leaking group a few days back.
“Our team leader is one Sohan Parvez, from Gopalganj, who sent me to Bogra on Saturday night for establishing a group here,” he said.
Rab claimed to have seized soft copies of all the original question papers of the exams held so far from Rabiul's Facebook messenger application.
In Chittagong, Rab detained an SSC examinee from his residence in the city's Bayezid area in possession of leaked questions of Bangladesh O Biswha Porichay, Chemistry, and Physics and two mobile phones which were used for spreading the questions.
RAB-7's Company Commander Squadron Leader Shafayat Jamil Fahim claimed the detainee circulated the leaked question paper to others through social media and took money from the examinees through mobile banking transactions.
Meanwhile, detectives arrested two persons from Narayanganj who used to sell questions through messenger groups, using fake Facebook accounts.