The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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‘Mix-up’ hits board exams

Calcutta/Nadia, March 13: Faulty stapling caused a mix-up of the Bengali and English versions of the Madhyamik physical science paper today, delaying the examination by half-an-hour at 10 centres in Nadia and leading to considerable tension among examinees.

The students, who were asked to answer 10 questions from three groups, could not identify them because of the blunder.

Students answering the Bengali version faced further trouble as the synonym for “covalency” was misspelt in question 12(b). This mistake was also found in question papers at other centres across Bengal.

Ajit Dey, the sector-in-charge of the 10 venues, contacted the West Bengal Board of Secondary Education’s head office in Calcutta after the stapling error was noticed.

“The board officials directed me to take away the faulty question papers and replace them with those kept in reserve at the regional office,” he said.

The time taken in changing the papers led to tension among the examinees. “Everything was in a mess. We could not decide whether we should attempt questions given in English or in Bengali because of the mix-up. Nor could we identify the groups as per the guidelines in the question paper,” said a candidate appearing from the Pannalal Institute in Kalyani.

Another examinee at Majherchar Satyapriya High School said he could write his answers after the mess as the questions were by and large simple. “Otherwise, today’s examination would have turned into a disaster,” he added.

Board president Dibyendu Hota admitted in Calcutta that faulty stapling of the question papers had caused inconvenience to the examinees.

“The problem, however, was confined to a particular area in Nadia district and we are trying to find out how it occurred. We shall take suitable action against persons responsible for the mistake,” he said. Hota, however, dismissed the spelling mistake as a “minor printing error”.

Secondary Teachers’ and Employees’ Association general secretary Ratan Laskar said: “This kind of mistakes are not expected. There should be uniformity in printing and binding of question papers. We will expect the board to probe the matter.”

Ashok Maiti, the general secretary of the West Bengal Headmasters’ Association, alleged in Calcutta that question no. 11 asked the candidates to select metals and non-metals from a list containing both elements and compounds. The students found this question difficult as they are usually asked to select metals and non-metals from elements only, he pointed out.

The board as well as the state government have faced flak over the “tough” English paper which caused serious inconvenience to examinees.

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