Stung by the criticism over question paper leaks last year, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) is set to use technology in a big way to conduct a free and fair board examinations for classes X and XII.
While a live web-streaming of each of the examination halls will be done from every test centre for board officials to closely monitor, school teachers and other officials to be deployed on examination duty will also remain under close surveillance of the authorities.
From the opening of the sealed question papers by the respective centre superintendents to their distribution to students, as well as collection of answers sheets from students and their sealing to the dispatch for evaluation — all these activities will be monitored in real-time with the use of three mobile applications supplied to the all those to be involved in the process, CBSE secretary Anurag Tripathi said at a press conference on Wednesday.
"Every activity like the opening of the sealed question papers by the centre superintendents, distribution of papers to students, collection of the answer sheets from students and their disptach will be geo-tagged with time and location. The monitoring will be done through GPRS and mobile apps," he said.
The examination controller Sanyam Bhardwaj said those teachers working with coaching institutes will not be deployed on examination duty this time as part of the board's effort to check any possibility of paper leak.
The encrypted question papers of only "minor subjects" will be "digitally" sent to the examination centres while the question papers of major subjects like like science and mathematics will be sent physically, Tripathi said.
Students of both class X and XII, who are set to take board examinations from this month, will have more options to choose from in the question paper.
"We have increased the number of internal choice questions by 33% in all subjects to enable students to choose from the list the questions that they feel can answer. Earlier, it was about 10%," Tripathi said.
This time, the evaluators have been instructed to give suitable marks to candidates who "creatively" answer any question in any subject, in order to encourage them to go beyond rote learning.
"Evaluators have been adequately trained to ensure that students who have given a creative answer to any question, breaking the pattern, do not lose and get proper marks," Tripathi said.
The CBSE will take "strict action" and file criminal cases against those found to be "spreading any rumour or fake news" on social media with regard to the board examinations.
"Arrangements have been made to closely monitor social media during examinations," Tripathi said.
Over 31 lakh Class X and XII students of CBSE schools from across the country are scheduled to take their board examinations from February 21 and February 15, respectively.