The government yesterday directed authorities of all coaching centres to keep those closed during SSC and equivalent examinations.
The instruction came from a meeting of the National Monitoring and Law Enforcers' Committee of the education ministry, ahead of the Secondary School Certificate (SSC) and equivalent examinations.
“All coaching centers of the country will remain closed from January 27 to February 27, during SSC exam,” Education Minister Dipu Moni told reporters after the meeting.
The exams are scheduled to begin on February 2. The theoretical parts of the tests will end on February 25, followed by practical tests.
The minister warned of stern actions against those who leak questions. “Question papers will be sent to the centres in a special kind of aluminum packet as part of our effort to check question leak,” she added.
The minister also said that only exam centre secretaries will be allowed to use cell phones -- not smartphones -- at the centres.
As in previous exams, all candidates will have to be seated at their respective centres 30 minutes prior to the test. “If someone is late, they will have to provide a valid reason,” she added.
The government is taking these measures as the written part of last year's SSC exams witnessed a spate of question leaks.
Questions of Bangla 1st and 2nd papers, English 1st and 2nd papers, religion and moral studies, general mathematics, physics, chemistry, Bangladesh and global studies, biology and higher mathematics were reportedly leaked at least one hour before the exams began.
Examinees and their guardians said the questions, mostly the multiple choice questions, were leaked and found posted online in several Facebook and Whatsapp groups.
Allegations of question leaks forced the education ministry to form an 11-member committee on February 4, 2018.
On the day, government also announced a bounty of Tk 5 lakh on anyone involved in question leak.
When government efforts failed, on February 15, the High Court for the first time appointed two five-member committees, including a judicial committee, to find those involved in leaking questions.
Law enforcement agencies arrested over 153 people, including at least 10 teachers, for their alleged involvement in question leak and 53 cases were filed in this regard, during and after SSC exams.
Dipu Moni, however, yesterday claimed that all public exams last year happened without any incidents of question leak. She also said that BTRC and information ministry would work on preventing rumours involving question leak.