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Bengal: WhatsApp Madhyamik paper racket reported by education minister

February 13, 2024
Mita Mukherjee

A racket operating in the state with a motive to malign the government is responsible for circulating images of Madhyamik (Class X state board examinations) question papers this year, Bengal education minister Bratya Basu said.

The minister said the police were investigating how question papers were being circulated on social media when the tests were still on and preliminary inquiries revealed that the students involved in circulating the images had been influenced by the racket. He also did not rule out the possibility that there was a political motive behind this act. But, according to him, more investigations need to be done to confirm this.

This year, starting from February 2, the first day of the exam, images of a question paper had surfaced through WhatsApp on a number of occasions, a few minutes after the start of the examinations.

 Basu said, from the first day till the test ended on Monday, as many as 36 candidates were barred from writing the 2024 Madhyamik in connection with circulating images of question papers on WhatsApp. They were tracked down with the help of their QR codes that were embedded on the question paper.

This year the West Bengal Board of Secondary Education introduced a unique QR code for each question paper to prevent leaks and circulations of paper when the exam is still on. The board this year managed to track down the candidates who leaked the papers through the QR codes printed on each question paper.

“ We noticed a trend over the past few years of images of question papers circulating on WhatsApp. We decided to stop this malpractice. The introduction of the new system of printing QR codes on each paper helped us to track down the candidates who circulated the papers. We have barred 36 examinees from writing this year’s exam…There is a gang operating that is influencing the students. The intention is clear… They want to malign the government… There can be a political motive too… But the police are yet to confirm this,” the minister said, addressing a press conference.

Basu cautioned the students that this kind of act will not help them to score high marks in the examinations. They can perform better if they avoid getting involved in malpractice.

The state board Class XII (Higher Secondary ) examinations are slated to begin on February 16.

He warned the examinees of the ensuing Higher Secondary examinations that they could face the same consequences as the Madhyamik examinees if they tried to involve themselves in the malpractice. The Class XII exam question papers will also have similar barcodes printed on each question paper.

Students are not allowed to enter examination halls with mobile phones. Despite the ban, students were sneaking mobile phones into the exam venues and this was at the root of the problem.

The minister said the boards had been continuously asking the students not to enter the exam halls with mobile phones. But students were still violating the ban order.

The government has planned to intensify its campaign to create an awareness about the rule that they cannot enter the halls with mobile phones and the consequences of breaking the rule.

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