Malda, April 2: Higher secondary examinees taking the Bengali test at the Siddheswari High School in Chanchol yesterday had a sneak peek of the biology second paper.
The students took some time to figure out what was wrong, as the biology second paper is scheduled for April 15. Ten minutes later, Nihar Ranjan Das, one of the invigilators, was told by the candidates about the mistake.
Das rushed to headmaster Manabendra Kumar, who took back the biology papers and went to Chanchol police station, where the question papers were stored. Kumar collected the Bengali question papers and returned to the school. The Bengali second paper examination began, but by then half-an-hour had elapsed.
It was around 6.45 pm that the incident was recorded at the Chanchol police station by the centre-in-charge, Shanti Bhattacharya, headmaster Kumar and other teachers of the school. They also informed the higher secondary council in Calcutta.
The incident was communicated to the district administration around 10.10 pm.
Throughout the day, the authorities sought to downplay the mistake. “It is not that the incident can be called a question paper leak. Two packets of the wrong subject were inadvertently opened and the questions were distributed to the examinees,” Kumar said today.
Subhendu Pramanik, the convener of the observers’ committee set up to oversee the examination in the district, refused comment saying that he was “not aware” of the development. But he conceded that he was at Siddheswari High School between 2.30 pm and 6 pm yesterday.
“This is sheer irresponsibility on the part of those conducting the examination. Question papers are taken away from the police station 30 minutes before the start of each paper, and though they are stored there, the keys to the trunks are with the centre-in-charge,” said deputy superintendent of police Subhas Moitra.
The district police chief said headmaster Kumar and a member of the non-teaching employees, Arun Kumar Das, had come to collect the papers.
An officer at the police station said as the higher secondary council’s examination machinery was at fault, the council would probe the incident.
Sources said the examinees were told not to speak to anyone about the glitch. The packets that had been opened were “resealed” and sent back to the police station.
“We were totally taken aback. All of us were expecting Bengali question papers. We kept looking at each other in dismay. Soon after, a teacher came in and told us that we were given the wrong papers. He asked us to hand them over,” said a candidate.
Yesterday was the first day of this year’s HS examinations.