The complainant is the CBSE School Administration Association (CSMA), an organization that groups these schools in Tamil Nadu. He has asked the Central Board of Secondary Education to cancel the exams, which began in the first week of December.
This academic year, CBSE had introduced a new exam pattern for Classes X and XII. The first phase, in December, had Multiple Choice Questions (MCQ) and the second phase, scheduled for March, requires descriptive answers.
The CBSE allowed all schools to take and assess the December exams on their own, with a single external proctor. The CSMA says that scammers are violating this trust.
The CSMA has sent the CBSE an eight-page letter detailing how the questionnaires were leaked to students via WhatsApp, LAN and in hard copies. Students were to sit in a separate room and receive the answers before being sent to the exam rooms.
The students were also taught to manipulate the OMR sheets.
First, the schools asked the students to write the option ‘c’ (in lower case), in the last answer box if they were not sure of the answer. After the test, teachers would change the ‘c’ to ‘a’ or ‘b’ or ‘d’, whichever was the correct answer, depending on the letter TOI accesses. Sources said it was easy to change the ‘c’ (lowercase) for the other letters, which is why students were asked to write it down when they were unsure of the answer.
The CBSE became aware of this practice – at that time the main subjects were finished – and decreed that only capital letters should be used when choosing the answer option. CSMA Secretary P Ashok Shankar says scammers started telling students to leave boxes empty if they didn’t know the answers. The teachers would then complete the correct answers.
Ashok Shankar said that since there was only one outside observer in a school, teachers could easily manipulate the answer scripts. In many schools, 15-20 students scored the highest, and no student failed due to this neglect. “The career and the spirit of the students are totally shattered today and their future is under a cloud,” he said.
Although CBSE’s Chennai regional official, Dinesh Ram, was not available for comment, other sources at the board confirmed that they were investigating the complaint. “The board had relied on the schools to conduct the test fairly. It is regrettable that they have abused the loopholes in the process, ”said a senior CBSE official who requested anonymity.
The CBSE has announced that it will not declare pass or fail status for quarter I exams. Only grades will be considered when offering year-end results, the official added.