RAWALPINDI: Office-bearers of the Punjab Teachers Union (PTU) on Thursday said they would boycott exams if the Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education (BISE) Rawalpindi failed to withdraw its decision of cancelling five papers of the general and science groups of Secondary School Certificate (SSC) exams.
PTU president Raja Tahir Mahmood, chief organiser Syed Hamid Ali Shah, chairman Raja Shahid Mubarik, secretary general Malik Zaheeruddin Baber and Punjab Educators Association president Akhyan Tahir at a press conference held at the Rawalpindi Press Club criticised the board’s decision, saying this was detrimental for the students.
More than 170,000 students have been forced to appear in the papers again due to negligence of the staff in one small centre, Mr Mahmood said, adding: “Question papers have been leaked constantly during the last few years and the board’s administration has failed to take action against the printing branch officials deployed in the same branch for more than three years against rules.”
He said due to incompetence of some people, the papers were issued from the printing press through daily-wage employees of the board who were responsible for leaking out the papers through WhatsApp groups.
Allege that papers were leaked by board’s daily-wage employees
He said instead of punishing the secrecy branch officials, the BISE was taking action against teachers.
“The teachers received the paper from the secrecy branch and were not responsible for leaking it as they received it only 15 minutes before the start of the exam. By this time, the paper had already been leaked allegedly by BISE officials,” he added.
On the other hand, parents and students expressed concern about the examination being taken again.
“We worked hard to appear in the examination but the papers were cancelled and now we have to prepare for it again,” said Mohammad Talha, a student of SSC from Satellite Town.
He said he was expecting to get good marks after solving the paper but now he was being made to go through the entire process again due to negligence of the board.
Raja Imran, father of a female student, said his daughter had to reappear in the exam and so much of her time had been wasted. “Though she had to revise her subjects, it is time-consuming and she is feeling depressed,” he said.
When contacted, BISE Chairman Dr Khalid Mehmood said five papers had been cancelled as they were leaked and the board was investigating the issue.
“We had no other option but to cancel the papers as they were circulating in WhatsApp groups. The allegations of the teachers are baseless as the board is working to bring the main culprits to the forefront,” he said, adding there was no evidence available against officials who worked at the printing press. But if the allegations were found to be true, those involved in the crime will be punished.
Asked if the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) or other relevant agencies had been contacted to trace from where the message had originated, the board chairman said the police had been approached.
“The police and cyber crime wing were reluctant to support the board. We caught a teacher at the Kahuta centre helping students but he got bail,” he said.
He said if the teachers’ union had any proof, they should help the board trace the culprits.
Published in Dawn, May 20th, 2022