Increasing incidents of question paper leaks cause stress and anxiety among students

Priyanka Saurabh *

Unfortunately, there seems to be no solution to many problems in the education sector. One of these is the problem of question paper leaks. There is hardly any state where the issue of question paper leaks of some competitive or regular examination does not remain in the headlines. The constant incidents of question paper leaks undermine the reality of competitive examinations and cause a lot of stress for students.

A brilliant approach is needed to solve this issue, which includes better security protocols, leveraging technology, strict legal measures and comprehensive support for affected students. By implementing these measures, we can restore faith in the examination system and ensure a fair and just process for all students.

When the question paper of a competitive exam is leaked, the dreams of the candidates as well as their families are shattered. Such incidents shatter our collective dream and morale of building an advanced, prosperous, well-educated and strong nation and society.

This creates a permanent feeling of dissatisfaction and disappointment towards the system among the youth, the influence of the government is reduced and the common people are disillusioned with the system. For the youth, competitive exams not only become a question of a bright future but sometimes of existence as well.

Along with this, the credibility of the government is in danger. Many times, the involvement of big coaching centres and operators is also found in the matter of leaking the question paper. Cheating is becoming a nationwide business today, which has many beneficiaries and shareholders.

The suspicious role or collusion of politicians to officials, question paper makers to coordinators, exam conducting institutions and commissions to exam centres cannot be denied.

Frequent incidents of question paper leaks have become a significant concern in India's education system. For example, more than 70 cases of question paper leaks were reported in 2023 alone, affecting various competitive exams including BCS, medical entrance exams, and state recruitment exams. These leaks have caused extreme stress and anxiety among students, hampering their preparation and confidence levels.

Manual handling and security lapses are the major reasons for question paper leaks. The traditional method of printing and distributing question papers involves multiple touchpoints where security can be compromised.

For example: In 2020, a manual handling mistake led to a critical error during the Bihar Public Service Commission exams. Criminal gangs involved in organized crime take advantage of the vulnerabilities in the examination system to reap increasing economic benefits. For example: In Rajasthan, a gang that leaked question papers of several exams was busted, earning crores of illegal revenue.

Technical vulnerabilities indicate that poorly secured digital systems can be hacked, leading to electronic leaks. For example: Medical entrance exam question papers were leaked through hacked email posts, leading to wide distribution. Examination officials or staff sometimes collaborate with an external party to leak papers for financial gain.

For example, Several officials were arrested for their involvement in leaking question papers for state recruitment exams in 2023. Today we need advanced security protocols to prevent question paper leaks. It is important to use tamper-proof tracking and secure transport facilities for physical users.

For example: The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has started using database digital resources, which are accessible only to authorized personnel on exam results.

Using blockchain technology for secure question paper management and distribution can be beneficial. For example: EduBlock uses ProBlock to ensure that the question paper is securely encrypted and decrypted only at the exam centre, significantly reducing the risk of leaks. A strict legal framework can enforce harsh penalties for individuals and organs involved in the leak.

For example: The Public Examination (Prevention of Unfair Deaths) Bill, 2024, proposes harsh penalties including imprisonment and heavy fines. Regular training and strict accountability for examination staff can also be a measure.

For example: Conducting regular audits and implementing monitoring systems to detect and prevent threats. Question paper leaks have a psychological impact on students. It leads to increased stress and anxiety among students.

The inconvenience and irregularity caused by question paper leaks significantly increase stress and anxiety among students, affecting their mental well-being and exam performance. Students who have worked hard may feel that their achievements have been undermined, leading to a loss of confidence in the education system and their ability.

Repeated incidents of paper leaks can depress students, leaving them disillusioned about their prospects and the value of merit-based success. After several leaks of state-level entrance exams in Bihar, many students began to feel disheartened and lost faith in the fairness of the education system.

Students' academic plans are disrupted by the need to appear for exams, causing additional stress and logical inefficiency. Question paper leaks also lead to a loss of confidence and trust in exams, leading to distrust among students and services.

Counselling and support services are the need of the hour to reduce this psychological impact on students. Providing psychological support and counselling to students affected by the leak is imperative.

For example: Setting up helplines and counselling centres to help students deal with stress and anxiety during exam time. Maintain regular communication about the efforts made to prevent leaks in future. Informing students and consumers about improved security measures and free schemes to rebuild trust.

Rescheduling exams quickly with strong security measures is very beneficial to reduce the spread of illness from alternative exam schedules. Arranging localised question papers and adequate exam dates to avoid prolonged stress for students. Frequent incidents of question paper leaks undermine the reality of competitive exams and cause a lot of stress for students.

Since the problem of question paper leak is becoming uncontrolled, it should be the first and foremost responsibility of the governments of various states including the Centre to not let the incidents of question paper leak recur and take strict action against the culprits. Along with this, they should make such arrangements on a priority basis, so that there is no scope for question paper leaks.

It is difficult to understand why it is difficult to make such a system in this age of information technology. Unfortunately, there is no way to solve many problems in the education sector. One of these is the problem of question paper leaks. There is hardly any state where the matter of question paper leaks of some competitive or regular examination does not remain in the headlines.

Addressing this issue requires a nuanced approach, including improved security protocols, leveraging technology, stringent legal measures, and comprehensive support for affected students. By implementing these measures, we can restore confidence in the examination system and ensure a fair and just process for all students.

* Priyanka Saurabh wrote this article for
The writer is a Research Scholar in Political Science
and can be reached at priyankasaurabh9416(AT)gmail(DOT)com
This article was webcasted on June 14 2024.

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