SHILLONG, Dec 2 - Ten years back leakage of examination question papers, which Meghalaya Board of School Education (MBoSE) conducted, led to the death of nine persons and 30 injuries in Garo Hills and it seems the board has learnt little from that unfortunate incident.
On September 30, 2005, there was widespread agitation in the State, following the leakage of Class XII question papers conducted by MBoSE. There was a demand that the board have a separate centre here apart from it�s headquarter at Tura for better work culture.
Eventually the Congress-led Government of that time buckled under pressure and a separate MBoSE centre was established here in the State Capital to streamline the functioning of the board, but little seems to have changed.
This year there has been a rather vicious leakage of the board�s question papers of Class IX examinations which has dented the image of the State�s education board and the State�s reputation of being once known as the educational hub of the region.
During the examinations there has been widespread leakage of Science and Technology, Mathematics and other subject question papers of Class IX exams.
The board went into damage control mode by first filing an FIR then warning heads of educational institutions that legal action would be taken if question papers are not properly safeguarded and instituting an inquiry.
In fact, the Science and Technology which was to be held on November 30 was rescheduled to December 4. �Coordinating Officers� were advised to distribute the question papers to examination centres two hours prior to the examinations.
However, today another set of question papers - Khasi language paper- was found leaked and was circulating openly amongst students. Moreover, the question paper was available on Whatsap. Nonetheless, the board went ahead and conducted the examination!
�I am not aware of such leakage, however, if there has been a leakage we would investigate,� EP Kharbhih, chairman of MBoSE said over the phone from Tura, Garo Hills.
Asked if the board would do a rethink on today�s examination in view of the leakage, Kharbhih answered in the negative. �There were a lot of students who did not receive the question papers, so the question of having a fresh examination doesn�t arise,� was Kharbhih�s take on the issue.
One of the major flaws in the system is the distribution of question papers and presence of the proverbial black sheep. In the case of Class X board examinations, the questions papers are kept in police stations. In the case of Class IX, the question papers are kept in 517 deposit centres or schools. There are 1510 MBoSE affiliated schools in the State.
Admitting that it is �not easy� to detect the source of the leakage, Kharbhih said, his officers are �on their job.� Moreover, the police are conducting its investigation and have questioned several students in this regard.
Many still blame MBoSE for these serious lapses and have urged for an overhaul of the board�s functioning. �There is no rationale behind MBoSE framing the Class IX question papers, when schools correct the answer scripts of their own students,� a senior police official reasoned.