Mumbai HSC exam leak: Maths, stats papers on WhatsApp; education min dubs incident 'very small matter'

The HSC Mathematics & Statistics question papers for all three streams — arts, science and commerce — were leaked on a messaging app on Monday almost 40 minutes before the test started at 11 am. The leak comes 2 days after HSC Secretarial Practice and Physics papers were widely circulated on WhatsApp.

According to a report in Hindustan Times, the Mumbai division of the Maharashtra State Board has filed a complaint with the Vashi police station, adding to the case against those that leaked the HSC Marathi paper and the other papers back-to-back.

File photo of Vinod Tawde. PTI

File photo of Vinod Tawde. PTI

Four people have been arrested in connection with the case till now, including two students and a teacher at a private tuition centre, according to The Indian Express.

Hindustan Times reported that shots of the papers were shared on a students group on the messaging application at 10:30 am, while the papers were handed out to examinees at 10:50 am and the exam began at 11 am.

According to Hindustan Times, Dattatray Jagtap, chairperson of the Mumbai divisional board, which includes Thane, Palghar and Raigad, said, “Both the question papers have come out on WhatsApp, we matched them to the original papers and found that they are the same.”

Adding that a girl student was caught looking at the images in the exam room, Jagtap said, “We immediately informed the centre to lodge a police complaint against her.” The girl will be allowed to write the exam for now, and later on, action will be taken against her depending on the investigation.

According to The Hindu, Jagtap said, “There seems to be a pattern. The papers are leaked when they are about to be distributed. Students are seated by 10:30 am and receive their papers by 10:50 am. The papers are circulated 40 minutes before the exams start. We suspect students who leak the paper deliberately turn up late for the exams at around 11:30 am, which is the deadline to enter the examination hall. We have directed teachers to keep an eye on all late comers to curb copying among students.” The board has even banned teachers from carrying mobiles.

Though this was the fifth HSC paper leak in as many days, the state education minister refrained from acknowledging the leak and dismissed the incident as "mischief".

Calling the leaks a "very small matter", Vinod Tawde, according to The Times of India said, that a leak is when the paper is out a day or at least an hour before an exam; a few minutes are not enough to give candidates an unfair advantage. He also implied the HSC exams are not important enough to incentivise cheating.

Meanwhile, the education board is thinking of scrapping the 10-minute question reading time given to examinees, according to The Times of India.

The Times of India reported that the education board has also announced three steps: supervisors must record candidates entering the exam hall after the start of a test; cellphones cannot be used other than the centre-in-charge and the custodian of question papers; all paper custody centres must have an assistant custodian who must record each instance of question papers being physically shifted.

Five exam papers have been leaked in five days in the ongoing HSC exams — Mathematics and Statistics on Monday, Secretarial Practice and Physics on Saturday and Marathi on Thursday.

Updated Date: Mar 07, 2017 18:11 PM

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