Students asked to be inside exam halls 15 minutes early, maths re-exam on Jan 23

A day after the first semester mathematics question paper of the Visvesvaraya Technological University (VTU) allegedly leaked, the varsity has sent out teams to Davangere and Tumkur, where the leak is said to have taken place. Varsity officials are suspecting the involvement of the college staff in the leak.

The paper leak rumours hit the ongoing VTU exams on Wednesday. It was alleged that the maths question paper was leaked 20 minutes before the exam commenced. Around 69,000 students will now have to take a re-exam on January 23.

The paper leak has come as a rude shock to the university, which takes great pride in its “fool-proof” Question Paper Delivery System (QPDS), which is being used for the third time. It has been used in two semester exams previously, the first time being the December-January 2011 semester exam as a pilot project in 20 colleges in the Belgaum region.

Speaking to The Hindu, VTU Vice Chancellor H. Maheshappa said all the affiliated colleges (close to 200) will be under the scanner of the university’s committees as the leak could have happened anywhere. “It is possible that a college staff could have accessed the paper after the printout was taken and either mailed it or taken a printout,” he said.

To tackle this problem, VTU will find a way of tightening encryption of the papers, the Vice-Chancellor said, so that access to the papers ends soon after the printouts are taken. “The inspecting committees are also looking for system login details to find clues,” he added.

In the present system, the login ID and password are provided to download the question papers to three officers: the Chief Superintendent, usually the principal of the college; Deputy Chief (External) nominated by VTU from other colleges; and Deputy Chief (Internal) who normally is the Examination Management System (EMS) coordinator of the college (normally a professor). A separate login ID and password is provided to the computer operator to manage the software and maintain the computer system. The computer operator collects the colour coded secret keys from the officers for access to the question paper server and selects the course and subject for printing. Critics of the QPDS have pointed out that there is scope for misuse of the system at different levels, including copying the paper onto pen drives or emails as it is available in PDF form on the computer after printing.