A second semester paper was leaked in July 2005
There are at least six stages where security could fail resulting in leakage of question paper The new date of examination for the leaked paper is January 19 The VTU has evolved a new strategy on paper setting
Belgaum: The Visvesvaraya Technological University (VTU) has once again found itself in the thick of a controversy following the leakage of question papers.
The question paper of 'Signals and Systems' of the third semester, which is common to Electronics and Communication, Electrical, Instrumentation, Medical Electronics and Bio-Medical Engineering was leaked forcing the VTU authorities to cancel the examination scheduled for Monday. It will now be held on January 19 (9.30 a.m. to 12.30 p.m.).
Six months ago (July 2005), the question paper of Engineering Mathematics (second semester) was leaked in Bellary. A police case was registered there.
Talking to The Hindu here on Monday, VTU Registrar M.S. Shivakumar said there were at least six stages where security could fail resulting in leakage of question paper (s) such as question paper setters, board of examiners/moderators, examination section (of VTU), printing press, regional offices and principals of colleges.
The process starts with the setting of papers where the question paper setters, at least four in each subject, submit two to four papers in each subject. In the second stage, the board of examiners, consisting of four or five experts and senior faculty, take up scrutiny of each paper to check mistakes, proper allotment of marks to questions, spelling mistakes, wording, sentences and whether the questions selected are out of syllabus etc. The set of question papers vetted by these persons is normally not same as the one prepared by the setters originally. Then, the papers go to the examination section of the university where one paper is chosen and given for printing.
The VTU has no printing section and the job is given to a private press. The integrity and credentials of the printing press owner is ascertained before placing the order. Except the Registrar, nobody else in the university knows about the press where the papers are printed.
Once the papers are printed, they are sent in sealed packets to the regional office of the university and subsequently to the principals of colleges a few days before the examinations.
Replying to questions, Prof. Shivakumar said as per the conditions no question paper setter was supposed to hold a copy of the paper submitted to the university. Yet, many retain it. According to him, another place where there could be security failure is possible is when the sealed packets are opened just before the examination depending upon number of students in a centre. Therefore, wherever there are doubts, the university advises the squad members to be present while opening the sealed packets and report to the university if there is any foul play.
That apart, since the question papers pass from the hands of the setters to moderators and then from the examination section to the printers, one can remember some of the questions and dictate them to anybody. But whole system works on "trust" and any breach of it only results in leakage of question papers, which could be for monetary gains. Then, the possibility of disgruntled elements trying to bring a bad name to the university or an institution is not ruled out. In the present case, since the manuscript has been found, it is possible to trace the source of leakage, according to Prof. Shivakumar.
Under the guidance of VTU Vice-Chancellor K. Balaveera Reddy, a new strategy had been evolved wherein a computerised question bank, consisting of at least 300 questions in each subject, would be set up and the computer would set the paper, thereby reducing the number of people seeing the paper before it goes to printing. This system would be implemented for the first semester examinations scheduled to commence in the last week of this month, he said.