A snapshot of the Book Keeping and Accountancy paper was found being circulated on Monday through WhatsApp, just as students started appearing for the HSC examination.
While prima facie, the Board has refrained from calling this a paper leak, a report by the Mumbai divisional office has been submitted to the Maharashtra State Board for Secondary and Higher Secondary Education (MSBSHSE) in Pune, which will decide the future course of action.
As of now the officials have requested students not to panic and said there were no chances of re-examination. “According to the information we have collected, the message was circulated after 10:50 am on Monday, by which time students are already inside their examination centres and handed over the question paper.
Therefore there is no chance of a paper leak,” said S Chandekar, Mumbai Divisional Board secretary. He said that the incident looks like the act of a student, who might have managed to sneak his/her mobile phone inside the examination centre.
“Since students get their question papers at 10:50 am, 10 minutes before they start answering, we believe some student must have clicked a picture of the question paper, and circulated the same seeking answers to the questions, and it ended getting circulated everywhere,” added Chandekar.
The incident came to light at about 11.30 am on Monday, when a senior board member got hold of the same message. The matter was immediately directed to the Mumbai Board office, to check whether the message and the question paper distributed at exam centres was the same.
“We waited for the exam to get over so as to avoid any panic; we then checked the two papers and realised that it was the same paper. Since the messages have all been circulated only after 10:50 am, it is safe to say that there was no paper leak. If anyone produces a message which was circulated before 10:50 am then it’s a matter of concern,” added Chandekar.
Mobile sneaked in
The Pune officials have received a report from the Mumbai divisional office and are setting up an inquiry committee to investigate the same. “Even if the picture of the question paper was circulated after students began attempting their paper, we have to investigate how a student sneaked a mobile phone inside the examination centre,” said Krishnarao Patil, MSBSHSE secretary.
As per the Board rules, students appearing for Board exams are not allowed to enter the examination centre with any gadgets (mobile phones, cameras, calculators, bluetooth, etc). This is checked by supervisors before allowing students to enter the classroom where the examination is held.
“We hope that the paper was not leaked before time but if the paper was leaked by a student carrying his/her mobile phone inside the examination centre, it shows lack of vigilance on part of the supervisor. This is a lesson to all of us,” said Uday Nare, a board member and a teacher at Hansraj Morarji Memorial School in Andheri (W).
However, students need not worry about a re-examination. “Based on information we have right now, no plans of re-examination are being discussed and students need not worry about the same. We request them to focus on their other papers stress-free,” added Patil.
Errors in papers
Errors found in the HSC Mathematics and Statistics, as well as Chemistry papers, held on Saturday, will be investigated by the Board to find the source of the mistake. “We need to find if the error was on part of the printer or the paper setters. Once that is established, we will decide how many marks can be awarded to students, in case they attempted the said questions,” said S Chandekar, Mumbai divisional secretary.