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With Question Papers Available on Social Media, Students Ask How CBSE Can Keep Re-tests Safe

Sloganeering against CBSE, they all demanded that either the re-test of two papers be cancelled or the entire board exams be held again.

Aradhna Wal |

Updated:March 29, 2018, 2:59 PM IST
With Question Papers Available on Social Media, Students Ask How CBSE Can Keep Re-tests Safe
Students protesting at Jantar Mantar against the leak of CBSE Maths and Economics papers.
New Delhi: CBSE examination question papers, it seems, are available dime a dozen.

“There are messages in our inbox, and calls from unknown numbers offering exam papers for Rs 3,000 or Rs 4,000,” said Paras, one of the students protesting the CBSE’s decision to reconduct Class X maths and Class XII economics papers at Jantar Mantar on Thursday.

“I got a message on Wednesday offering the Class XII political science paper for Rs 2,000 or Rs 3,000,” added his batchmate Pankaj, from SRS Mission School. “What is the guarantee that the re-tests won't be leaked?” he asked.

Political Science is one of the upcoming Class XII CBSE board exams. The 10th and 12th CBSE board exams are under scrutiny after reports of question paper leaks spread like wildfire.

An anonymous message calling for protests against CBSE’s decision to hold the Class X maths and Class XII economics papers again, did the rounds on WhatsApp and Instagram on Wednesday night. As a result, about 50 students turned up at Jantar Mantar on Thursday morning. Sloganeering against CBSE, they all demanded that either the re-test of two papers be cancelled or the entire board exams be held again.

A parent, Priya Jain, showed this reporter photos of a handwritten copy of the Biology question paper that circulated among parents and children. “It was out two days before the actual exam. We got the accounts paper while our children were inside the exam centre,” she said.

With papers bouncing across Instagram and WhatsApp, students pointed out how easy leaks were thanks to social media. “It will take a person sitting inside CBSE two minutes to leak them,” said Pankaj.

These leakages made students and parents doubt CBSE’s ability to hold water tight re-tests. Instead of only economics students suffering, they asked that all the papers be held again instead.

The protesting students couldn't stress enough how unfair the Board's decision is. “What have we done? Why should we suffer because of a few?” said Ojasvy Chandok, a Class X student from St. Thomas school, who circulated the protest call among her peers after she received it around 9pm, Wednesday. “CBSE isn't taking our hard work into account.”

Chandok’s batchmate Adiba, said that she “freaked out” when she heard she’d have to write her maths paper again. “This isn't our fault,” she said, “why is CBSE experimenting with our batch?” This was the first time in eight years that Class X students studying in CBSE affiliated schools had to appear for board exams.

Students in Class X are doubly hit as many had scheduled preparation for university entrance tests. “JEE [the entrance for ITTs] is coming up, “said Pankaj. “ So are BBA entrance tests and CLAT. How will we study for those?”

“If all the exams are redone, then CBSE can ask universities to postpone their exams. Otherwise why will colleges care about two re-tests,” said Priya Jain, whose two daughters just wrote their 10th and 12th papers.

“Economics was easy, no doubt,” said Paras and Pankaj, speaking over each other. “But what if it's tough the next time?”

The fear among parents and students is that the re-test will be purposefully tricky. Students, who say they’ve slept either three to four hours a night for months now, or not slept at all the nights before exams, are losing more sleep over this.

“My daughter wanted to sleep, and have ice cream after her maths paper. She hadn't had ice cream in months so that she wouldn't get a sore throat,” said one parent who wanted to remain anonymous. “She's pretty depressed.”

Despite the enormity of the issue and the efforts of some students to organise, the protest had a faltering start. Adiba said that of her 40 classmates half were supposed to turn up. Only a handful did.

“Some parents don't want kids protesting. They've formed an idea from JNU protests and are scared of clashes with the police.” Many students, added Pankaj, were afraid no one would listen to their voices so they saw no point in turning up.

As one parent here said, this is their first brush with hitting the streets.
| Edited by: Ahona Sengupta
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