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Why Encrypted Question Papers is used as ‘Backup’ for Class 10 & 11 Exams

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Recently, CBSE decided to retain its old system of conducting class 10 and 12 exams via the usual hard copy question papers. However, as an emergency process, CBSE decided to go for double encrypted question papers. Read on to know more…

The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), is gearing up to conduct this year’s board examination for class 10 and class 12 at various centres across India. The CBSE board for 2019 examination introduced a lot of changes for the benefits of the candidates. In one of the key decision, CBSE has decided to retain its old system of conducting class 10 and 12 board exams using the usual hard copy question papers. However, the CBSE has a backup action plan to stop the examination paper leaks.

Pilot Project
The CBSE had earlier conducted a successful pilot project of double encrypted question papers during the class 10 compartmental exams in July 2018.

Last year, CBSE received significant flak after their question papers were leaked on the exam day. As a solution the exam leaks, the CBSE board came up with double encrypted question papers which were successfully pilot tested in 2018 during the compartment examinations at a few schools.

The examination papers were mailed to the examination centres 30 minutes before the exam started and then printed in the centre itself. Since the question papers included the details of examination centre, in case of leaks, the source of the exam paper leakage can be tracked. This measure was also part of the recommendations which were received by the ministry from a seven-member high-powered committee which was set up in April 2018. CBSE then stated that based on the success of the pilot test and analysing the logistics involved, CBSE will decide if the same shall be implemented from March 2019 examinations.

However, now the CBSE board has decided to use this method of using double encrypted question papers as a backup option in 2019 exams, calling it an “emergency” measure.

Practical Challenges
The vocational courses’ exams will start from February 2019, and the academic subject exams will begin in March 2019. According to the latest reports, the government will deliver the papers to the exam centres using the conventional procedure.

According to ToI, a senior HRD official said that while the CBSE board was considering applying the new procedure for vocational students, as they are less in number, the idea was shelved later on. He added that several other security measures have been taken.

The official was quoted in the same report as saying, “For the forthcoming exams double encrypted papers will be kept as backup option only. The Board did not consider using the technology for the exams of the vocational subjects to be conducted in February 2019 where the number of students are significantly low. But the idea was finally shelved and decided to continue with the in-practice delivery mechanism. However, CBSE has put in place a number of security measures to strengthen the safety of question papers during its journey from the printer to the exam centres.”

He stated that the double encryption system is not feasible at present since many remote area schools did not have the required facilities, adding that in a centre with 1,000 candidates, it was impossible to print 16,000 pages of paper in half an hour. “Delivery of double encrypted papers question papers is not feasible at present as many centres (schools) in remote areas do not have the required facilities. Moreover, in case of a centre with over a 1,000 candidates, it won’t be possible to print 16,000 pages of question papers within 30 minutes. However, a second set of double encrypted papers, which will be different from the hard copies will be kept as a backup option,” added the official.

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