Despite a number of measures and the government's stern warning over question paper leak, the Secondary School Certificate examinations began across the country yesterday amid controversy.
More than 20 lakh students sat for the Bangla First Paper exam with some guardians alleging that MCQ (multiple choice questions) part of the paper was leaked around 30 minutes before the test began at 10:00am.
Pictures of the "Kha" MCQ question set were doing the rounds on Facebook pages before the exam began and many of the questions matched those in the actual test paper, alleged a number of guardians.
However, officials of the education ministry and the Dhaka Education Board refuted the allegations.
Around 9:15am, Education Minister Nurul Islam Nahid and education officials visited the exam centre at the Government Laboratory High School in the capital.
A reporter showed him a copy of “leaked” MCQ question set around 10:30am, saying there was a “rumour” that it was leaked.
The minister along with some officials then went inside the school to check.
Later, Nahid told reporters that though the copy looked like a question paper, they found that none of the questions in it matched any of those in the real question paper.
"We have done everything humanly possible to prevent question paper leak and hold the exams in a peaceful manner. We have left no stone unturned," he added.
However, some guardians alleged that the question paper was leaked on the social media.
"We have seen images of a question set in a messenger group before the test began. We got puzzled and concerned," said a guardian seeking anonymity.
More than 20 lakh students got registered for the SSC and equivalent exams.
The education ministry took several measures to check question leak that marred last year's SSC, HSC and JSC exams.
As part of its efforts, the ministry this year made it mandatory for all candidates to enter and take seat at their respective centres 30 minutes before the exams start.
The ministry also shut all the coaching centres a week before the exams. It even considered blocking Facebook for a "short time" during the exam hours.
On the first day of the test yesterday, 26 students were expelled for resorting to unfair means while 9,742 candidates remained absent.