5 days ago

Checking question paper leaks

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Leaking of question papers prepared for public examinations and public sector recruitment has become a regular practice in our country in recent times.

Public service examinations in Bangladesh, such as the Bangladesh Civil Service (BCS) exams, are highly competitive and hold significant weight for aspirants seeking stable and prestigious government jobs. Unfortunately, the recurring leaks of question papers have severely compromised the credibility of these examinations. When question papers are leaked, the selection process becomes inherently biased, favoring those with illicit access over genuinely qualified candidates.

Many feel that the law related to the punishment of the perpetrators for such crime is not that much stringent and this encourages an unabated rise in such incidents.

Bangladesh Public Examination Act,1992 stipulates that those involved in leaking question papers will face maximum 4-year imprisonment. This law is the amended version of the Public Examination Act, 1980, which stipulated maximum punishment of 10-year imprisonment.

Naturally, the reduction of the punishment is an encouragement, opine civil society members.

On the other hand, slow progress of the cases filed against such perpetrators is also a hurdle in resolving this problem.

According to a report, the PSC driver, who has been recently arrested by the law enforcers, was suspended for leaking  question papers of the examination of a non-cadre service in 2014.

A departmental case was filed against him but the case has not been disposed until now.

In the last 16 years, more than 300 such cases were filed in different courts but out of those only 70 cases have been disposed and the rest are still pending.

Such delay is not at all desirable.

The immediate consequences of question paper leak is the erosion of trust in the examination system. When aspirants and the public at large lose confidence in the fairness of the process, it diminishes the overall morale and can dissuade qualified individuals from participating. This loss of trust is not just a temporary setback; it can lead to a long-term decline in the quality of public administration as positions are filled by individuals who may lack the necessary competencies and ethical standards.

Furthermore, the implications extend beyond individual careers. When government positions are occupied by those who have cheated their way into them, it can lead to inefficiency, corruption, and poor governance. The very foundation of public service, which should be built on integrity and merit, becomes compromised. This not only affects the immediate administration but also hampers the nation's development, as critical roles in policy-making, implementation, and public welfare are entrusted to unqualified individuals.

Corruption within the administrative system further exacerbates the problem. There have been numerous instances where officials entrusted with the secure handling of exam papers have been implicated in leak scandals, often motivated by financial gain or nepotism. This corruption is often facilitated by inadequate oversight and weak enforcement of penalties for misconduct.

Additionally, the high stakes associated with public service jobs in Bangladesh create immense pressure on candidates. The promise of job security, social status, and financial stability drives some aspirants to seek unfair advantages, contributing to a market for leaked papers. This high demand ensures that there will always be those willing to supply leaked materials, perpetuating the cycle of corruption and dishonesty.

Resolving the issue of question paper leaks in public service examinations requires a comprehensive and multifaceted approach.

It is essential to overhaul the security protocols involved in the preparation, storage, and distribution of question papers. Introducing advanced technologies such as encryption, blockchain for secure record-keeping, and biometric authentication can significantly reduce the risk of leaks.

Addressing the systemic corruption within the examination and administrative bodies is a must to stop this problem. This requires not only stringent penalties for those found guilty of leaking papers but also proactive measures to ensure transparency and accountability at all stages of the examination process.

The issue of question paper leaks in Bangladesh's public service examinations poses a serious challenge to the system that demands immediate and sustained action.

The consequences of this malpractice extend far beyond individual examinations, affecting the integrity of public administration and the nation's development trajectory.

Bringing an amendment to the Bangladesh Public Examinations Act 1990 and incorporating tougher punishment for the perpetrators are the imperatives.

By adopting a comprehensive approach that combines technological solutions, stringent security measures, systemic reforms, and cultural change, Bangladesh can restore trust in its public service examinations and ensure that the most qualified and deserving candidates are selected to serve the nation.

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