Mobile phones out of bounds at Madhyamik venues

The 2020 Madhyamik examinations will start on February 18

The 2020 Madhyamik examinations will start on February 18(Shutterstock)

Madhyamik invigilators, teachers or any other staff member will not be allowed to enter test venues with cell phones and they will not be allowed to deposit the device in the headmaster’s office after switching them off as they did till this year.

An arrangement is likely to be made outside examination centres where the cell phones will have to be kept, if any invigilator, teacher or any other non-teaching employee carries the device from home, an official of the state secondary board said.

The decision was taken at a meeting between board officials and representatives of various teachers’ bodies held on Friday. The meeting was organised to discuss measures the board need to take during the 2020 Madhyamik exam to prevent cheating by students using social media.

“No teacher, invigilator or non-teaching employee will be allowed to enter the examination venues with cell phones. Till last year, if any teacher or invigilator or any member of the non-teaching staff carried the device, it had to be deposited with the headmaster. They could collect the cell phone after the test. Even this will not be allowed this time,” said Kalyanmoy Ganguly, president of the West Bengal Board of Secondary Education.

Only four board-appointed persons — the officer in-charge, centre secretary, venue supervisor and additional venue supervisor — will be allowed to carry mobile phones at the venue. They will use the devices only to communicate with the board officials.

The 2020 Madhyamik examinations will start on February 18.

Examinees are “strictly” barred from entering the examination venues with cell phones.

The board has decided to be more vigilant on teachers, invigilators and other staff as Madhyamik question papers in several subjects had been circulated through WhatsApp after the start of the exams this year. The subjects, including Bengali second language, English first language, history, geography and mathematics, had been circulated through WhatsApp this year.

The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) had busted a racket and some examinees were part of it. They would take pictures of question papers in the examination hall and send them to the group. There were others in the group who would write the answers and supply them to the candidates.

The CID had arrested five persons involved in the racket this year. The arrested persons, included two Madhyamik examinees and two Class XII students.

There were reports that a certain amount of money was charged from the candidates to be a member of the group.

Board president Ganguly, did not explain what were the arrangements to be made to enable the teachers, invigilators and other employees deposit the cell phone outside the school premises where the test venues are to be set up.

But teachers who attended the meeting said a proposal was discussed on whether a nearby shop could be used for keeping the cell phones.

“Many teachers will be inconvenienced if they don’t carry the cell phones with them. We were allowed to switch off the phones and deposit them at the headmaster or headmistress office till last year. The board wants to stop even this facility. So it should be the board’s responsibility to make an alternative arrangement,” said a teacher.