The West Bengal Board of Secondary Education (WBBSE) class 10 examination, or the Madhyamik exams, started on February 12, and out of the eight subjects that the exams were conducted for, the papers of six subjects were leaked on social media. The question papers for Bengali, English, History, Mathematics, and Physical Science were leaked and circulated via Facebook and WhatsApp.
On Monday, February 18, five people, including two examinees and two class 12 students were arrested in connection with the five question paper leaks that had happened until then. But the next day, the Physical Science paper was yet again leaked on social media. On Wednesday, the paper for Life Science was leaked minutes after the commencement of the exam. However, it was found that this time, the question paper was that of the previous year.
The Students Federation of India (SFI) and Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI), the student and youth wings of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), have been protesting against the paper leaks, and have written multiple letters to the WBBSE and Partha Chatterjee, the state education minister, voicing their concerns. Chhatra Parishad, the student wing of Congress also organised a demonstration outside the WBBSE office, and handed a memorandum to Kalyanmoy Ganguly, the president of WBBSE.
The opposition parties in West Bengal have criticised the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress government for the continuous paper leaks in the Madhyamik exams. CPI(M) MLA Sujan Chakraborty said in a tweet, “For six consecutive days, #question leaked in Madhyamik examination. Never happened in #WB. A devastating situation. A destroyed education scenario. Stop tall talks. Feel ashamed @MamataOfficial”.
Despite the protests and criticism, the education minister is refusing to term these as ‘paper leaks’. Chatterjee told PTI after the third paper leak, “If someone clicks a photo half an hour after writing the paper, can that be termed as question leak? Question leak happens when it comes out before the commencement of the examination.”
He said some people were trying to malign WBBSE, and added “I have continuously been in touch with district magistrates and superintendents of police during the day. There is no question paper leak. These are rumours being spread deliberately."
On Wednesday, February 20, SFI organised a demonstration at the gate of the WBBSE office and put up a bouquet of seven roses on the gate as a symbol of protest against the continuous paper leaks.
SFI and DYFI also released a statement demanding immediate investigation into the matter. The statement reads, “The kind of consistency we are seeing in question paper leaks, if the same kind of consistency was shown in employment and industrialisation, the number of educated youths would not have been so high in the state.”
This year, a total of 10,66,000 students are appearing in the class 10 examinations at various test centres across the state, and the paper leak fiasco has put their futures at stake.