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Monday, May 2, 2011

AIEEE Paper Leak

Yesterday, there was chaos across the country. The AIEEE paper was found in the possession of a person in Lucknow (and later in coaching Mandi of Kanpur, and other places as well). Apparently the paper was being sold for huge sums, some media reports mentioning figures as high as Rs. 6 lakhs. Why on earth someone will pay lakhs of rupees for a paper, when the probability that such a leak will be found out is very high. But that is not what I want to discuss.

I am amazed by the handling of the incident by CBSE. It was quite remarkable that CBSE had thought of this possibility and had a full back up in terms of duplicate exam material which was already stored in each city where there was a center for the exam, and this material could be distributed to most of the centers within a couple of hours.

(Contrast this with JEE paper leak in 1997, which, co-incidentally also happened in Lucknow. We had to postpone admission by 5 weeks, causing havoc to admissions in all other engineering colleges in the country, since most students who get admission to IITs, will leave their other college, causing vacancies there. There was no plan B.)

Unfortunately, there was AFMC exam in the afternoon, and thousands of students were scheduled to give both. Worse, some schools were centers for both AIEEE and AFMC exam, and therefore, could not re-conduct AIEEE after 3 hours. CBSE lost no time in giving relief to all affected students. They announced that those who had to give AFMC or those whose center cannot conduct a late AIEEE exam will be able to give AIEEE on 8th May. Taking such quick decisions must be applauded. Of course, the problem did not end here. Some students complained that they had both AFMC on 1st afternoon, and another exam on 8th. CBSE again came to their rescue and said that they will be able to give exam on 10th May.

What this means is that CBSE was ready with not just one extra set of examination material, but is also ready with multiple sets of question papers. That is excellent planning. So despite a major problem on hand, CBSE will stick to its timeline for announcing results.

When 11 lakh students are told that they have to stop writing an exam, and give a different exam a couple of hours later, this is bound to cause problems. Chaos is bound to happen. But the fact that more than 10 lakh students could give the exam the same day is something that speaks volumes about how AIEEE is planned (as opposed to JEE where we take double the time to announce the result for less than half the number of candidates, with no transparency).

And now an interesting outcome of this. Since the students would have given several different exams (the question paper on 1st, 8th, and 10th, and the online version would be different), there would be some way to compare the performances of the students across those exams. And if the exam can be held on 1st, 8th, and 10th May,
why can't it be held on 1st December, 1st January and 1st May (just giving three random dates to make a point that it is possible to organize the exam on multiple dates through out the year - and may even allow students to sit for 2 of those exams - something that I have been arguing for in many of my posts).

Added on 3rd May: CBSE has announced that the exam will be held on 11th May for all those who could not give the exam on 1st May. So, it will not be on 8th and 10th, but only on 11th.

Let me add that all the information above is from media, and if you are an affected student, please contact AIEEE/CBSE for authentic information. Do not hold me responsible, if any of this information turns out to be incorrect.


L said...

Well, Professor, you've got evidence for the feasibilty of what you proposed in your blog, just a few days back.
If BITSAT can be held many times and that too online and at the students' convenience(partly), there's no reason why others cannot do the same.

Ranjai Banerji said...

Pleasantly surprised at the competence and the preparedness of CBSE. Things could've been so much worse.

Yogi Raj said...

Well said, Sir.

I didn't even think from this angle! Pity!

Anonymous said...

This practice of conducting an entrance examination with a backup of multiple question papers is not new in Andhra Pradesh. After lot of trouble in conducting the EAMCET particularly with respect to question paper leakage, they started making four sets of papers. On the day of the examination just few hours before the examination the Minister of TE takes a lucky dip in front of the media to decide the code of the QP to be used.